How to Use a Laser Wood-Burning Pen

Written by shae hazelton
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Laser pens designed for burning wood allow you to create interesting works of art referred to as "pyrography." The laser pen leaves thin scorch marks on the surface of the wood to create the image. This method allows you to make images ranging from simple accent marks to elaborate pictures full of detail. As with any woodworking craft, patience and a careful hand are required to ensure you create the image you set out to make.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Laser wood-burning pen
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Carbon paper
  • Pen

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  1. 1

    Place the head of your laser-burning pen against a scrap piece of wood. Turn on the burning pen and practice creating a dark, consistent line in the surface of the wood by moving the tip of the pen slowly. Practice making lighter lines on the wood by moving the head of the pen in quick strokes.

  2. 2

    Sketch the design you will burn onto the wood. Draw the design in its full detail. You can also use computer-printed images.

  3. 3

    Select a piece of birch or cedar wood large enough for your image. Cover the wood with a piece of carbon paper and your design. The paper with your design should face upward.

  4. 4

    Tape the two sheets of paper in place over the wood. This will prevent slipping so your image does not distort.

  5. 5

    Trace over the lines of your design with a ballpoint pen. Move the pen slowly and deliberately as you trace over the original image. Press down hard to force the carbon paper below to leave a detailed imprint on the wood below.

  6. 6

    Remove both sheets of paper. Hold the tip of the laser pen to the wood and start it. Only hold the pen in locations you would like to burn.

  7. 7

    Add shading to the image using quick strokes of the pen. Fill in the lighter details before you move to the dark outline of the image.

  8. 8

    Move the pen along the outside lines of the image. Move the pen at a slow, consistent rate to create a bold line. Go over the lines a second time to repair any uneven sections in the line.

  9. 9

    Turn off the pen without pulling it away from the wood. The laser on the pen will leave a burnt streak if you pull it away from the wood while it's still on.

  10. 10

    Clean the tip of the pen throughout your work. Turn the power off and run the tip over a clean cloth. Clean it as often as necessary during the burning process to prevent residue from obscuring the laser lens.

Tips and warnings

  • It is not necessary to apply pressure to the tip of the burning pen. Avoid pressing too hard on the wood or you may break the laser tip.
  • The laser can burn wood which means it can easily burn you, so proper handling of the laser pen is important to protect yourself and your property.
  • Do not touch the tip of the pen until it cools completely. Allow the pen to cool on a flat surface away from flammable substances.

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