Woodburning is a great way to personalize any wood projects and can be a lot of fun. I woodburned some Christmas projects, and was really happy with how they turned out! Below are a few tips to get you started on your first woodburning project.
Pick the Right Tool
You can purchase a wood burner at most craft or home repair stores. If you are planning on using it more than once, make sure to pick one with adjustable heat settings and a rubber grip. The type of wood you use will determine the heat setting you need, and the rubber grip will help keep the burner from getting too hot in your hands. Picking a woodburner with multiple tips will also give you more options for making your designs.
Prepare Your Workspace
The woodburner gets HOT. Make sure you pick a workspace that will not be accessible to children, pets or other hazards. Also make sure you have proper ventilation as the burning wood will smell. The surface you use matters too, as you could damage or melt your table. Make sure to use the stand when resting your woodburner! Having a pair of pliers nearby will be helpful for when you need to change the tips (don’t touch them!).
Prep Your Project
Although it’s tempting to use any wood available, try to avoid hard woods and woods with coatings. Any type of coating or finish will make it difficult to burn the wood, and could also be harmful to inhale as you burn. On the same note, woods with big knots or large grains will be difficult to work with too. Try a light sanding as you prep your project, and stick to soft wood like pine and fir.
Most craft stores will have a large variety of untreated wood items like signs, ornaments, birdhouses and more. I found some canisters at Target that had wooden lids, and used them. Wooden kitchen utensils like spoons or spatulas are also a popular choice, inexpensive and easy to find.
Pick Your Design
It’s important to be realistic about the design you choose. Intricate designs with a lot of shading are not going to be a good option if you are not patient or have little experience with painting and drawing. I know my patience and skills are limited, so I chose simple designs that didn’t require a lot of fine shading or changing the tips multiple times.
When searching for ideas, I used search terms like simplistic and basic in front of the theme I was interested in.
Prep Your Design
Woodburning is not as forgiving as drawing or painting, so it’s a good idea to get some practice in before you start on your project. Try experimenting with the different tips and using them in different ways. If possible, test the wood you will be burning beforehand to see which heat setting is most appropriate. It’s also helpful to trace out your design on the wood so you have a guide of what you will be burning. When using your woodburner, make sure to keep the speed and pressure of your movement consistent for nice lines.
Hopefully with these tips, your first woodburning project will be a success! I’d love to hear about your projects.
6 thoughts on “5 Tips for Woodburning”
This is fantastic. It’s been years since I practiced wood burning, but this has reminded me what a beautiful art it is. Thank you for sharing. I love your tip about being realistic! It sure does take plenty of skill, so I know it would take me a while to build up my abilities!
I bought my wood burner and had dreams of beautiful, intricate designs – within 5 minutes reality slapped me in the face! I was still really pleased with my simpler designs. 🙂
I have a very artistic brother who is not motivated to create, but when he does, it’s amazing. If I suggested to him he should do woodburning, as I have, it doesn’t necessarily make him say, oh, good idea. So, I tricked him. I bought a tool, and tried some simple designs, then showed them to him all proud of myself. Of course, he could do better and asked to borrow the tool and some of my supplies! I can’t wait to see what he does! Your article inspired me and in turn, him. Thanks.
Judy that’s great! It is a neat hobby, and I’m glad you were able to trick your brother into trying it!
Just bought my wood burning set last night. I’m making a serving tray for my mother in law who is the true kitchen queen. After reading basics, I’m concerned. I sprayed the wood tray a gorgeous sky powder blue. It dried over night. Am I in big trouble?
I’m not really sure! I haven’t tried to burn anything painted – let me know how it goes! I’d be sure to try it somewhere with tons of ventilation.