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Adding Color to Your Pyrography Projects

Adding Color to Your Pyrography Projects

Adding color to your pyrography projects can add a whole new layer to your piece. There are many mediums that can be used to add color, and they can create many different effects. All color options are up to you to decide – what you like best and what you are trying to convey with your piece.

Here is a list of some options you can use, along with a demonstration of a few of them.

Please note that colors should be added AFTER burning your design into your piece. Burning over color can be toxic not to mention difficult at times.

Acrylic

Acrylic is my go-to color option for my wood-burning designs because it is easy to use and works well on wood. It will also remain vibrant over time. You can get a great depth of color.

Watercolor/Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor dries quickly, is very versatile, and the vibrancy can be adjusted by how much you dilute it with water. Adding too much water can absorb into the wood and make the color bleed past your burn lines. Just like when using watercolor on paper, you can use masking fluid to help block areas you don’t wish the color to spread to. This coloring medium can give more subtle colors and convey a softer, more romantic feel or tone.

Colored Pencils

Colored pencils are easy to control and can give a nice vibrant color. They apply easily to wood and can be blended, layered, sometimes erased, and come in a variety of colors

Stain

Stains add color and protection to your piece. They are trickier to apply and can be toxic to inhale, so follow all safety guidelines when using these. Water-based stains are less messy and easier to clean up after. Stains can get blotchy and uneven but using a wood conditioner prior to application can help with this issue. Be careful not to use too dark a color as this will make it harder to see your wood burned lines.

Markers

Markers are an easy way to color your piece. They come in a variety of colors and can also be layered and blended on the piece.

 

Here’s the video I made while working on that project you see above:

I hope this has been helpful for you but If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know through the comments below or send us an email at hello@truart.co

 

Heather Short

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Pyrography Tips and Their Uses(TRUArt Stage 2 Pyrography Kit)

wood burn on log cross-cut showing different tips' burn marks

Here is a short guide on the basic tips found in the TRUArt Stage 2 Pyrography Kit.

Universal tip/rounded

  • Standard tip for writing, wide line shading and texture work.
  • Good for both outlining and shading
  • A great tip to get started with as it is the most versatile

Pointed tip

  • This tip is good for fine detailing lines. You can get extremely fine details with this tip
  • This tip is also good for fine lettering

Flat tip

  • Flat shader creates a wider path in smooth tones. Good for shading areas quickly
  • This tip is great for creating different patterns quickly as well

Curve tip/horseshoe tip

  • You can use the pointy side for lines and the curved side for dark, solid burns.
  • Good for shading
  • Can also be used as a stamp to create scale markings

Ball point

  • Good for stippling, dot work, writing

 

Below is a chart of these tips with examples of dots, lines, shadings, and some lettering and/or patterns done with each tip.

 

I hope this has been helpful for you but If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know through the comments below or send us an email at hello@truart.co

 

Heather Short

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Pyrography Basics for Getting Started

Supplies to start with

Before you get started, there are a few things you need.wood cross-cut section

  • Wood
    • Softwoods are good for pyrography, especially when first starting out. Hardwood can be used, like elm and oak, with some experience
    • Some examples of wood to use:
      • Basswood – smooth surface with even grains
      • Birch – smooth surface
      • Pine -uneven grains but cheap
      • Oak – uneven grains, moisture in wood
    • Grain in the wood can be a factor in creating straight lines, so it is typically easier to start out with wood that is smooth with even grains. More information on wood types can be found in this article.

 

  • Wood Burning Pen

There are two main types of nibs for wood burning – solid point and wire tip.

  • TRUArt Stage 1 15W-30W Pyrography Pen is a good solid-point tool to start with
    • Comes with lots of different interchangeable tips including groove, dot, solder point, pattern transfer, branding, calligraphy, etc.
    • The Stage 1 Pyrography Pen comes with solid point tips, which are great for beginners to develop control while learning. There are different tips for line work, shading, as well as stamp tips to help burn consistent specific shapes into your work.
  • TRUArt Stage 2 60W Woodburning Detailer is the next step higher from the Stage 1 and is preferred by many professionals.
    • Digital Temperature Control
    • Designed for professionals, heats up quickly, comfortable to grip
    • The Stage 2 Professional Detailer uses wire tips, which are better equipped for more experienced pyrography artists. They require appropriate pressure and heat adjustments to create the desired effects.

wood cross-cut section with wood burned and painted flower Make sure to read all the instructions in your kit before starting your first project with your new tool!

  • Sandpaper – Sand your wood surface down prior to use to ensure your image will burn evenly. Do not burn treated or painted wood. 
  • Tape – Masking, artist’s, or painter’s tape are used to hold down your templates or stencils and carbon transfer paper for transferring to wood. 
  • Graphite Paper/Tracing Paper – Although you have the option to freehand your design onto the wood, you may want to be able to copy a design, including the samples provided at the back of the user manual that comes with your TRUArt kit. These templates are designed to fast-track your projects as you gain wood burning experience at the same time. Place graphite or tracing paper onto the wood surface. Cover the paper with the design. Trace the design using a ballpoint pen or pencil. This will transfer to the surface of the wood. Here’s an example of how the whole process is done.
  • Eraser – Clean up any remaining graphite on the wood around your design. If using carbon tracing paper to transfer your design, us a magic eraser instead to clean up excess marks from your traced design. TRUArt Stage 1 30W pyrography pen nibs/tips
  • Adding Color or Stain to you Wood (OPTIONAL) – If you would like to add color or stain to your design, you can do so a few ways that will be detailed in the next blog post! Some examples include watercolor pencils, oil pencils, paints, or wood stains. 
  • Varnish, Mineral or Olive Oil – Applied to your finished work, you can add polyurethane, resin, or even mineral or olive oil to your work to create a shine and protect the image on the wood. A good practice is to test your finish on a scrap piece of wood of the same type as your project. Some varnishes have tints or coloring. Some wood also changes hue slightly when varnish is applied to them.

It is also best to know where your finished project is displayed or used and apply the appropriate finish to it. For instance, outdoor types of decors would need about two to three coats of polyurethane or something similar. Indoor displays would only need cellulose-based varnishes or oils.

How to use your woodburning tool

  • TRUArt Stage 1 and Stage 2 pyrography pensALWAYS read all instructions of the user manual in your kit
  • Make sure to start with a cool, unplugged tool before attaching your desired nib or tip, then plug in and allow to heat up sufficiently before use
  • Place the tip gently onto the wood surface and apply very light constant pressure to burn evenly. Remember, let the pen­­ (not the pressure) do the burning
  • Avoid applying pressure to create darker lines, as this can damage the nib. Instead, keep the nib in the same spot longer to reach a darker shade. On the flip side, make sure to lift the tool when finishing lines or shading as to avoid creating burn spots.
  • If you feel you need to press harder to get the desired shade, your temperature may be too low and needs to be increased. You want to put an even and very minimal amount of pressure on the tool. The heat from the pen is creating the burn, not the pressure.
  • If you want to change nibs, make sure the tool is unplugged and cooled down before touching the tip. Use needle nose pliers to remove nibs just as you would when tightening them. Be careful not to overtighten nibs especially with solid point tipped pens. The thread can easily strip when overtightening. When that happens, you may not be able to use your pen anymore.
  • After burning your design, you can add color if desired.
  • Once finished, you can add appropriate varnish to your work to create a shine and protect the image on the wood.

 

 

I hope these tips help you in your pyrography adventure. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Heather Short