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Intro to Wood Burning


Pyrography, also known as wood burning, is the process of drawing on wood using heat and has been around for centuries!

It’s a great way to relieve stress, add some intricate detail to woodwork like cutting boards, or home decor, or even create a meaningful gift for family and friends.

You can find everything you need for this project at Keim, both in-store and online. Here is what you will need: 

  • Wood burning pen 
  • Wood burning tips (these will give you a variety of options for thickness, shading, and more)
  • Strop and aluminum oxide to periodically clean off the brass tips of the wood burning pen
  • Pliers for handling hot tips and a safe surface to place hot pen when out of use
  • Sandpaper
  • Masking tape, artist’s tape, or painter’s tape
  • Graphite paper
  • Odie’s Oil Finish

Wood Burning Mandala Generally, you’ll want to use softer wood for wood burning especially when you’re just beginning. Here are a few suggestions:

At Keim, we offer a variety of wood burning pens, tips, wooden panels, and metal hot stamps. You can order online or visit us in our store in Charm, Ohio.

To get started, you’ll want to sand whatever piece of wood you are using so that you’re working with as smooth a surface as possible. Next, you’ll be transferring your design onto the wood. There are a few ways to transfer your design:

  1. Draw by freehand
  2. Transfer with graphite paper
  3. Use a transfer tip

No matter the method you choose, we recommend taking your time on this step to make sure the design is placed exactly as you want it.

Finally, use your wood burning pen to trace the design. Take your time and don’t be too heavy-handed. You can always trace over the design multiple times if needed, but once you go too deep, you can’t go back. Start with the outlines and then go back to finish details and shading. You can even consider adding color with paint or colored pencils at the end. Once your design is complete, seal the wood with an oil, such as Odie’s Oil. It’s food-safe, solvent-free, and perfect for a wooden spoon or cutting board.

Pro Safety Tip: Hardwoods tend to give off more smoke than softwood and these can be irritating and harmful to your lungs. Use an exhaust fan or word in a well-ventilated area.

And that’s about it! Wood burning is a great hobby for someone looking to do something creative with wood and your designs can be as simple or as complicated as you are ready for.

The most important thing to remember while practicing wood burning is safety! You’re working with extremely hot tools so consider wearing gloves, using pliers, and having safe places to place the hot tools when finished.

Need more help? Reach out to us for more tips on woodburning skills. Our team is here to help. 

Located on 50 acres in the rolling hills of Holmes County, Keim is the destination and trusted source for your home, building, and woodworking needs. Founded in 1911, Our fourth-generation family business is dedicated to caring for your project like we care for our own.