How to Do Your Own Wood Burn & Stencil

Written by don davis
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Wood burning, or pyrography, is a way to burn words, patterns and pictures into wood slabs. The wood is usually a soft wood like basswood. The craft does not use stencils because, depending on what they were made of, the stencils would either catch fire or get hot and mar the wood. Pyrography uses paper patterns, which are transferred to the wood with carbon paper. The pattern is then burnt with a wood-burning tool that looks like a soldering iron.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Printer paper
  • 9-by-12 inch basswood wood burning blank
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Damp paper towel
  • Carbon paper
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil
  • Ceramic tile
  • Wood burning tool
  • Polyurethane spray

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  1. 1

    Turn on your computer. Open your word processor.

  2. 2

    Create a document that is any four words you like. Center the text in the document and make the letters the largest size of any font loaded on your computer. Print the document.

  3. 3

    Lightly sand a 9-by-12-inch basswood wood-burning blank with fine sandpaper. Wipe the dust from the wood with a damp paper towel. Allow the wood to thoroughly dry.

  4. 4

    Align the piece of paper you printed out with a sheet of carbon paper. Arrange the papers so the words you printed face up and the carbon paper faces down.

  5. 5

    Tape the two pieces of paper to the piece of wood. Carefully trace all the letters you printed. Remove the papers and tape from the basswood blank.

  6. 6

    Set a ceramic tile next to the wood-burning blank. Set a wood-burning tool on the tile and plug the tool into an electrical socket. Wait for the end of the tool to get hot.

  7. 7

    Use the wood-burning tool to trace over the carbon impression of the words you wrote. Set the tool on the tile and unplug the tool when you are done.

  8. 8

    Spray the wood with polyurethane spray after the tool cools.

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