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Halloween Skull Wood Burning Design

Halloween skull

One of my favorite images to burn is the Halloween skull. I love the way the burned marks give the skull image an aged and tarnished look. I also love the look of the various tonal values that you apply to the skull to give depth and dimension to your burning. In this tutorial, I will also provide you with a template that you can use to create your very own skull.

Let’s get started!

You will need:

  • Halloween skull template (found at the end of this article)
  • TRUArt pen
  • Carbon paper
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Magic eraser
  • Tape
  • Fine-sanded wood

 

Step 1:

Take your wood, template, carbon paper, pen and tape. Tape your paper to your wood and begin the tracing process. For instructions on how to complete this process, please refer to my previous post here.

Step 2:

Once everything has been transferred, start your shading process. I started in the nasal cavity. Be aware of where light will hit and cast shadows. I started working on the darker end and slowly lightened my shading as I moved up. This is not an easy skill to master. For shading tips, please view my shading tutorial here.

 

Step 3:

Once I completed the shading in the nasal region, I began the same process in the eye sockets of me Halloween skull. The template should be used as a guide to indicate where areas should be darkened. Don’t worry about your tracing being visible through the shading, you can remove those lines once your image has been completely burned.

 

Step 4:

Start shading around the jawline. Remember to burn in a light tone here. We do not want our darker tones to blend with the lighter. We need to decipher what parts of the image are further away than the rest or what area has more depth. The shading around the skull is only meant to indicate where the shadows lie.

 

Step 5:

Begin working your way up the skull. Notice the crack lines on the template. At a lower heat, trace the lines to show cracks on the skull. Be sure your heat is not too high or you will create splotches instead of crack lines. You can always increase your temperature if needed. Add more lines if you wish.

 

Step 6:

When outlining the skull, the shading should be a darker value around the top portion of the head. You still don’t want this to be a dark shade, just a tonal shade darker than the bottom of the skull. Slowly fill in the center of the skull with a lighter value as you go inward.

 

Step 7:

Once you have completely burnt your skull image, start burning the background. This is an extremely time consuming process. You will also need to use high heat so this step must be done with caution. An alternate option would be to use paint to fill in the blank space or just leave it untouched. I personally love the look of the background burned. If you choose to do this, start on one spot and work your way down keeping your strokes as uniform as possible. This prevents an uneven burn and makes the completed piece look more polished.

Now that your burning is complete, take a dampened magic eraser and erase the lines that are visible from your tracing.

I hope you have fun burning a skull of your own. Remember, this takes time and practice. You stick with this and it will get easier every time you try. I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween.

 

See you next time,
Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

 

Template

 

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Fall Décor Garland

Fall Décor Garland fireplace

I look forward to Fall every year. The cooler weather, the amazing aroma of spices, cinnamon and apple pie stir in the air and of course, all the decorations.

Fall Décor Garland fireplace

 

This Fall season, I wanted to find an affordable and easy project to create for my home. I went to my local dollar store and found these adorable plywood cutouts. Each package comes with five cutouts so you can easily create a garland for just a dollar if you wanted to. I wanted multiple designs so I bought five packages. Some universal designs can be found here.

Once I opened my package, I looked up clip art patterns online to give me an idea of how I wanted to sketch out my design.

 

With my patterns picked and sketched on, I started the burning process.  I started with a thick bold burn outlining the outermost part of the wood and continued with a solid burn while tracing my pattern.

With the patterns completed, I began the shading process (please see previous post for shading instructions). If this technique is too difficult, you can always fill in the empty space with colored pencils.

For the areas needing white, I used a white paint-based marker. The paint markers work great since they don’t tend to bleed when applied to the wood. I tried to keep my colors soft so I added touches of color with colored pencils to enhance each character.

Once my cutouts were completed, I tied a string through small holes and displayed the garland over the fireplace. As an alternate choice, you can also tie a piece of string on the wood and use them for tags, gifts, or to wrap around a napkin for a cute Fall tablescape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this has given you some fun and very affordable wood burning ideas. This is going to be even greater when you get everyone involved in it. Ask your kids what they would like to work on and watch their imaginations fly! This is one the best times of the year to take your pyrography pen out. Start creating fun and amazing décor with everyone!

If you have any questions or would like to suggest other ideas, leave a comment below and I’ll get right back to you.

See you next time.
Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

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A Gift For Mom – A TRUArt Mother’s Day Pyrography Inspiration

This Mother’s Day, make your mom something special! What I love about pyrography is that it is unique and beautiful and burnings make excellent gifts. Much like painting, you can literally wood burn anything from quotes and designs to images of animals and people or whatever you fancy.

Let’s get started. First, take your pattern of choice and transfer it onto your wood (see transfer instructions on Wood burning tutorial).

Burned quote "you are the mom that everyone wishes they had" TRUArt Mother's day

 

Burned quote "home is wherever mom is" TRUArt Mother's day

When burning fine, delicate lines into your wood, be careful not to press too hard. This will create a splotchy, uneven image.  Also, don’t start burning with your pen at a high temperature,  start low and work your way up so your strokes don’t run outside of your design ( for more how to instructions see Shading Technique in Pyrography).

wood burning of quote with TRUArt 60W pyrography pen TRUArt Mother's day

 

wood burning of quote with TRUArt 60W pyrography pen TRUArt Mothers' day

When choosing your wood, think about mom’s sense of style and choice of décor.  Does she like serving trays or cheese boards?  Does mom like to decorate her dining room with a beautiful tablescape or does she like to display decorative signs in her home?

burned quote "Home is wherever mom is" TRUArt Mother's day burned quote with other collectibles on shelves TRUArt Mother's day

 

 

 

 

Take your design and burn it onto any piece of unfinished wood.  At your local hardware or craft store,  you can find large pieces of wood that are perfect for creating serving trays. Once your image is burned, stain your wood, add a coat of mineral oil and attach the handles.

burned quote on wooden circular serving tray with handles TRUArt Mother's day

Another meaningful gift idea that works well for a mom with young children is to get the young child to draw or write a note to mom.  Simply transfer the image onto the wood and burn the design.  This will make a wonderful keepsake for years to come.

Burned signatures and names of well wishers TRUArt Mother's day

Wood spoons to rolling pins, picture frames to coasters.  Think about what mom likes and let your imagination go wild. There are so many functional items available out there that you can personalize just for mom.

I hope you found these Mother’s day gift ideas useful. Take your time when first starting out. You will feel more confident and at ease as you work your way through your project.  Have fun and enjoy the process.

See you next time!

Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

 

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DIY Holiday Gifts and Decorations

I love the Holidays! The decorations are beautiful, the food is plentiful as well as delicious, and I am constantly busy. Ever since I started my pyrography business, I have been commissioned to make an unbelievable amount of gifts. If you are looking for some inspiration on creating something beautiful and affordable, I’ve got some amazing ideas.

This Holiday Season, go to your local craft store. In the wood section, they have a large selection of wood that is easy on the pocket book and there are several items that are packaged with multiple pieces. These stores often offer discounts and many of these items are available in their holiday section which is often marked down.

I always create ornaments for my neighbors and my children’s teachers. You can also get some plywood rounds in various sizes that are sold as a set of 4 or more. I purchase these plywood rounds along with some stands and they make a great gift for any occasion. You can create a sign with Holiday decorations or even something a little easier such as an inspirational quote or their last name. TRUArt also has supplied some easy-to-burn Christmas stencils that you can download for free.

I also purchased wood slabs from a local lumber yard for an amazing price. You can find a sanded wood slab, ready to use, at your local craft store as well. These make amazing cutting boards, serving trays, display pieces, signs and chargers for your tablescape.

For my sample, I looked online for some clip art images of snowflakes. You can also search for snowflake patterns and find other great images to use.

Once you have found your image, transfer the design onto the wood (see my post on Wood Burning Tutorial for instructions on how to do this).

There are two ways you can burn this image.

Option 1: You can burn the actual design and leave the background bare

Option 2: You can burn the background and leave the actual design untouched

Once you are done with your burning, erase any tracing lines, stain (if needed) and varnish.

With pyrography, your handmade gifts can have the appearance of a store bought, detailed piece but will be treasured by your loved ones for years to come.

I hope these tips have helped and that some of my ideas have inspired you to create the perfect gift.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, I hope you all enjoy the holidays! See you next time.

Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

 

 

 

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Cactus Stencil Wood Burning

 

 

What you will need:

 

Sometimes, in pyrography, trying to find the right image to burn can be extremely tricky.  When you are an artist, copyright laws can make it challenging to find a great image to burn.  Fortunately, now TRUArt has FREE printable stencils available.  Once I came across these stencils, I couldn’t wait to get started.

There are several unique designs available to download but, ultimately, I decided on this cactus stencil.  This stencil is available under the clock category.  I loved the pattern so much that I modified the stencil to make it my own and decided not to trace the numbers.

I found this stencil to be a quick and easy burn. This is a great project to do with your family.  My children had fun picking out the colors of the various pots and helped me find the right shade of green for each plant.  We spent the day going over different stencils and both my children found something that appealed to each of them.

Once the image was burned and colored, I decided to give the background a nice, thick solid burn.  This technique gave my burning some depth and made my image pop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was extremely happy with the ending result.  This was a fantastic family project that is exciting for children to do. These prints are also a useful tool to help you practice your pyrography skills. My children loved working with these stencils and they are both excited about working on our next burning together.

 

 

See you next time,
Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

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Back To School Pyrography Tutorial for Kids and Parents

Materials:

  1. TRUArt Pyrography Pen
  2. 4 pcs Edgy Circle Die Cuts
  3. TRUArt Carbon Transfer Paper (optional)
  4. Pencil
  5. Colored Pencils
  6. Twine

This is a fun and quick project to make for any teacher.  Get your kids involved and let them help burn and/or create the designs that are used for this banner.

To start, draw or trace some items that are commonly associated with school (for tracing tips, check out my previous post Wood burning Tutorial).  Keep the drawings simple.   Make sure you only use one drawing per work piece.  Outline your image with your pyrography pen.

To make your image pop, I recommend burning the background.  You can make the background a solid dark burn or you can do some light shading (for shading tips, check out my tutorial Shading Technique).

 

Once your burn is complete, add some color to your wood.

 

String your wooden circles on some twine.  Once you pull one circle through, knot it at the top of the hole to keep the wooden piece from shifting.

 

Give this to your child’s teacher as a sweet “Back to School” gift.  If the banner is not for you, as another option, you could use these wooden circles as an ornament or they could even be used for decoration on a wreath. Practice with different  designs and see what works best for you and your kids.

If you have any questions whatsoever, please leave them on the comments below and I’ll get to them as soon as possible.

See you next time!

Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

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Woodburning Tutorial For Kids on Father’s Day

A great way to bond the whole family is to work together on a single woodburning project. Yes, pyrography can be for the little ones too!

 

What you will need:

  1. TRUArt Pyrography Pen
  2. TRUArt Pyrography Carbon Paper
  3. Tape
  4. Wood
  5. Ball Point Pen
  6. Printout of Pattern/Image to be traced

IMPORTANT Child Safety Tips:
Never let a child use a pyrography pen unattended. An adult must always be present to supervise since pyrography pens get hot – VERY HOT. Be sure your child holds the pen by the rubber handle and never touch near the tip of the pen. If you or your child is not actively burning with your pen, keep it propped up on the stand that was provided with your TRUArt pyrography kit. It holds your hot pen securely and you don’t have to worry about it accidentally touching anything else. Always make sure your pen is turned OFF and unplugged when it is not in use. Allow some time for your pen to cool off completely before handling and storing it. Remember, these pens are HOT. This is not a toy and must be used with caution under adult supervision.

 

One thing I find exciting about pyrography is that anyone can do it! Children in general love to draw and enjoy creating something special for the ones they love so I wanted to find a project that would be fun and easy for any age to try. With the help of my three little artist volunteers, we scoured the internet for quotes or phrases that sounded like something they would want to tell their father. Once we had the phrases picked out, I typed up the words on a Word document. I let the young artists pick the font that they thought looked best for their artwork. Larger fonts work best as does thicker lettering. I then looked for some simple clip art to add to the document – nothing too difficult for our young artists to handle.

Once you have everything picked out the way you want, scale everything down to the size you need to fit the wood. Print your image out and then either you or your child can trace the image onto the wood. If you’re not sure on how to do this, check out my previous post Woodburning Tutorial. Once the image is traced, remove the carbon paper and tape. Start burning.

When burning, children tend to press down hard with the pen. This can cause hand cramping as well as burn splotches on the wood. If this happens, don’t worry. Remember, they are just children. Let them have fun enjoying the process and reassure them that it happens to everyone every now and then. If burn splotches do happen, this usually means the temperature is too high and needs to be adjusted. Be sure that an adult adjusts the temperature of the pen, never a child.

 

 

 

Sometimes, the grains in the wood may prevent a smooth burn for the young artist. The grains may cause some stray, crooked lines. It takes practice to learn the right pressure and heat to use while burning. Embrace the flaws. Remind the young artist to have patience. They are learning and it will get easier with time. Observe their excitement as they burn into the wood. After all, this is about having fun while learning a new art form. Occasionally, you may see some smoke come up when the pen touches the wood. This is normal. This usually happens if the pen is too hot or when it is pressed hard into the wood. Be sure that the child does not keep the pen pressed onto the wood for a length of time. With these pens, you are burning the wood so a hole can be burned through if you’re not careful.

As the adult, you may need to assist the child with holding the pen. It is thicker than regular pen and the child may be scared at first. That’s ok too. Safety is the main priority. Most children are nervous the first time they use a pyrography pen. Once they start burning, they usually become comfortable with the pen rather quickly and end up loving the process. Guide them, help them and supervise them. Allow them to have fun creating something unique and special.

When the burning is complete, you can give them a pen to write their name down or personalize a message.

Practice wood burning with your children often. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they adjust to using the pens. Be patient and know that mistakes will be made, it’s just part of the process. Always follow the safety tips and have fun.

Got any questions? Just leave them in the comments below and I’ll get to it as soon as possible.

Enjoy!
Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

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Shading Technique in Pyrography

Shading is a challenging but extremely rewarding technique to master.  Shading gives your drawing depth and illustrates the various levels of darkness.  When you use this technique, you can make a flat image instantly have the realism of a 3D image.

When practicing, use a sample piece of wood.  Practice your shading by using simple shapes or designs.  Another useful tip is to study black and white photographs to observe where the light and dark values land on the image.

To start, draw your image or design onto the wood.  With pyrography, there is no room for error.  All marks you make are permanent.  In general, you should start burning your image at a low temperature and gradually increase heat as needed.

When burning, always burn softly. To do this, do not press down hard with your pen or make solid harsh lines.  I like to burn on a low temperature and make small, tight, circular motions on the wood.  I continuously do this until I blend my markings into a light, even shade.  You should not be able to distinguish where the shading started or ended, you want it to all flow together. Do not outline your image completely with dark, solid lines.  The point of shading is to give your art realism and it also helps define an object.

 

 

   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When shading, you don’t want your dark value to be too similar of a shade to your lighter value. Sometimes, it helps to practice shading on paper with a pencil first.  This can help you get a feel of how to transition from dark to light values.

When burning, move your pen in a slow, even motion.  Add layers to your burning to give it depth. Increase your burner from a low temperature to a medium low temperature to the areas needing a darker value.

   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope these tips will help you master the art of shading.  Practice frequently and find what works for you.  Experiment with the different tips that are provided with your pyrography pen.  Different tips may help assist you with your technique. Most importantly, take your time. This is not an easy thing to do if you are not familiar with this skill.

If you have any questions regarding this technique or anything about pyrography shading, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll get back to it as soon as possible.

Good luck and see you next time.

Andrea Pate

Pate’s Pyrography

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“Welcome Home” Woodburning Tutorial

If you are looking for a way to create a very beautiful and professional looking wood burning, I have some tips to assist you along the way.

What you will need:

  1. TRUArt pyrography pen
  2. Wood of your choice
  3. Colored ballpoint pen
  4. Carbon tracing paper
  5. Tape
  6. Image/design to burn
  7. Magic eraser
  8. Sand paper
  9. Stain
  10. Varnish

 

Take the time to find the right image to burn.  Make sure the size of the image works well with the piece of wood you choose.  Be mindful of the type of wood you choose.  Try sticking to a soft wood such as birch wood, basswood or even a simple plywood.  Sand your wood surface down prior to use to ensure that the image you use will burn evenly.  Do not burn on treated or painted wood.  This can be harmful to your health if the fumes are inhaled.

 

 

Get some tape, carbon paper and a colored pen.  Find the center of your wood and place your image on the desired location.  Tape the top of your image onto the wood to prevent it from shifting.  Slide the carbon paper underneath your image (glossy side down). Take out your pen and trace the image.  I like using a pen because I feel like I don’t have to add as much pressure while I’m tracing the image.  It is useful to use a colored pen so that you can see the area that was already traced.

 

 

 

Once the image has been completely transferred, gently lift the bottom portion of the design to ensure that you have traced the whole image onto the wood. If so, remove the paper.  When burning the image, start at a lower heat and slowly increase the temperature as needed.  If you start too hot, you will get an uneven burn and possible burn marks outside your design.  Do not press down hard while burning. If you feel the need to push down hard on the wood with the pen in order to get the desired darkness/shade, your temperature is too low and needs to be increased.

Once you have completed the burning, you may have some marks left on your wood from where you traced your design.  These markings can’t simply be erased with a regular eraser. Get a magic eraser.  Add only a little water to the eraser and gently rub in a circular motion evenly across the wood.  If you don’t, you will have splotchy marks on your wood when you stain.  If that happens, simply sand the wood down on those areas. If the image smears with the eraser, you may be rubbing too hard.  Gently rub the eraser on the smudges until they’re gone.  Let the wood completely dry.  To give the wood a finished look, add a little stain on it.  Be sure not to add too much stain or too dark of a stain or the image will fade into the wood. To protect the image from darkening over time, varnish the wood with polyurethane or resin.

Now, all you have to do is enjoy all your hard work.  Keep practicing and be patient with yourself.  Hang in there, you’ll get it.  I wish you the best of luck and I will see next time with some more tips to help you along the way.

If you have any questions regarding the whole process, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll get to them as soon as possible.

 

Andrea

Pate’s Pyrography