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Let’s Split!

Author Andrea Pate holding a new book featuring her works

On a hot summery day, nothing cools you off quite like ice cream. Some of my favorite ice cream concoctions are mint chocolate chip with Magic Shell. hot fudge sundaes and banana splits. That was my motivation for this sweet design. This Banana Split template pairs perfectly with my Just Chillin’ Template. I like to display these pieces together during birthday parties, ice cream socials, or with my summer décor. You can find my “Let’s Split” template in The Wood Burn Community Book of Templates Vol 2 by Rachel Strauss.


Author Andrea Pate holding a new book featuring her works

This book features 64 templates created by 34 artists with templates ranging from beginner to advanced skill levels. You can purchase your own copy by clicking on the link below.


Front side of book

Back side of book

Template content in the book

random book content

random book content



Supplies Needed:

  • Pyrography Pen
  • Template
  • Transfer Paper
  • Pen
  • Tape
  • Wood
  • Varnish
  • Paint or Colored Pencil (Optional)
  • Stain (Optional)

To get started, select your wood. I wanted something I can hang to display. There are various types of wood you can use. I typically purchase wood at my local craft or home improvement store. You can also find a wide selection of wood available at your local dollar store. I found this wood sign at my craft store for under $10 with a coupon. You can simply remove the backside of the sign making it easy to transfer the design to the wood.


wood sign

wood sign

Simply tape the template and your tracing paper to the wood and start tracing your design. To ensure you don’t miss transferring any part of the template, it’s best to use a red or blue pen. This makes your markings easily visible as they won’t blend into the shaded areas of the template.


banana split template

banana split template

banana split template

Once you have transferred the image, make sure you didn’t miss any areas. Slightly lift the template and tracing paper off the bottom of the wood but keeping the top portion secure to the wood with tape. You need to do this carefully as you don’t want the template to shift. It will keep your template in place and allow you to trace any missing areas with ease.

banana split template being wood burned

Since this template has thick bold lines and a lot of solid black areas, you can burn those areas at a higher heat. Be mindful not to go too high as it can create scorch marks and an uneven burn. In the areas where there are a lot of white and smaller marks, lower your heat.

There are different shading techniques you can use for this design. I chose to shade this design by stippling. Stippling is simply a technique using dots to differentiate between light and shadows. The darker the area, the more dots are used. As the area is lighter, the dots fade. This is a fun technique to use in pyrography. No matter your preference, you can’t go wrong with how you draw this. Do what feels most comfortable to you. Get a spare piece of wood and practice the various techniques to see what you prefer.

banana split template being wood burned

banana split template wood burned

Tip: You can opt out of coloring in the cherries on top of the sundae. Add red paint or colored pencils for a pop of color.


Once I have completed my burning, I did a very light coat of stain. Once the stain was fully dried, I took white and yellow-colored pencils, and colored in the ice cream and banana just to make the image stand out a little more.

Again, make this design your own. You can just burn the outline and fill in the areas using paint or colored pencils or not fill them in at all. That’s the beauty of art. There is no wrong way, and you personalize each piece by making it your own.


banana split template wood burned

Please tag your burning to @patespyrography and share your finished piece to

I hope you enjoyed this template and don’t forget to get your own copy of The Wood Burn Community Book of Templates Vol 2 for more amazing designs from talented artists around the globe. Also check out @woodburncorner for tips, community challenges, inspiration and so much more.

Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

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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 is my go-to 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


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 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 the project you see above:

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


Heather Short

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Pyrography Tips and Their Uses(TRUArt Stage 2 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

  • This is the standard tip for writing, wide line shading, and texture work.
  • Good for both outlining and shading
  • This 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

  • The 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


  • 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 pyrography tips.


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


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


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Easy Wooden Ornaments

Holiday Ornaments


I found wooden ornaments online and thought it would be cool to share my project with you for the holidays. I ordered them from Amazon and chose the ones with predrilled holes. I do not want to worry about drilling any holes. It also came with jute twine to hang the ornaments from your tree. This project is perfect for last-minute gift ideas or just something fun to do for the holidays!

The first thing I did was get the ornament ready by putting the twine through the hole so it has a loop on the other side of the wood.

I then put the other two ends of twine through the loop and pulled the twine until it was tight against the wood.

Next, I made another loop.

I put the ends through, and pulled them tight to make a knot.

Now that the ornament is ready, I drew out my design.

After the drawing, I then cut my design out and taped it to the wood. Following that, I placed the graphite paper (shiny side facing down) underneath my design.

I traced the drawing, transferring the image onto the wood. I like doing it this way instead of drawing directly on the wood because I feel that it’s hard to erase pencil marks on the wood if you make a mistake.

As I traced my image, I already had my woodburner turned on, so it would heat up while I drew out the image. Once the woodburner was hot enough, I used tip #7 in the TruArt art booklet.

Using tip #7, I found that if I pulled the woodburner toward me it burns the wood easier than when I tried to pull the woodburner going across my body. The first photo shows the woodburner being pulled toward my body. In the second photo, it was pulled across my body.

This little project is super easy to do that even kids (supervised, of course) can have a lot of fun sharing the experience!

Have you done something similar yet? Please share your thoughts through the comment section below. I’d really like to know what you have in mind.

I hope that you get a chance to do this fun little project, and Happy Holidays!


Christina Tillinghast


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Pyrography Safety Tips

When I start a new hobby, I tend to get very excited and want to jump right in! I don’t want to take the time to read about the hobby I just want to start right away! It turns out that with wood burning you have to be patient with yourself because there are important things to know before you can jump in to keep you safe!

A tabletop fan may seem unnecessary but it’s actually very important when woodburning! The fan is there to protect you from getting smoke in your eyes and protect you from breathing in the fumes created from the burning wood. The fan should be positioned next to your project and pointing away from you so it pushes the fumes away from your face. No one wants to get smoke inhalation when trying to have fun and relax. Some people even wear N95 masks for extra protection from the fumes. You can open your window and do your project in a well ventilated room as well.

Now let’s talk about the wood. There are several types of wood out there and you want the best type of wood for woodburning and the safest to work with. Personally, that would be basswood! Pine is also a good wood to use but it does have a high sap content so it will smoke more. These types of wood are soft and work well with woodburning. You want a softer wood so the woodburner can do its job and burn efficiently. If you’re buying wood at a craft store, pine and basswood is what you will find in the wood burning selection.

You also want to make sure that the wood you’re using for the project is untreated wood – no paint, stain, glue, or any other substance. It has to be natural, so you don’t breathe in chemicals from the substances. Don’t let this information scare you off.  Woodburning is a lot of fun and worth it!

Next, I want to talk about distractions. I am a person who gets distracted easily, so I’ve learned to turn off the wood burner and unplug it when walking away to go take a phone call, go to the bathroom, have a snack, and so on. I make a habit of it because if something happens elsewhere and you can’t get back to your burner right away while it’s on, that’s when bad things happen. So better safe than sorry and unplug it when walking away!

Now let’s talk about setting up your area. When you’re done woodburning always place the wood burner in the holder, so it doesn’t accidentally touch any other surfaces because the woodburner gets very hot and you don’t want to burn something by accident. Don’t touch the metal part of the holder where the wood burner has been sitting because that will also get hot. I learned that one the hard way.

Woodburning on a hard surface is a must! A desk, island, table, or countertop is an ideal surface. Couches, and beds are not ideal since you get too comfortable and accidentally set your hand down and burn a hole in your sheets or expensive couch. When you are sitting at your “desk” make sure to clear a good amount of space and remove objects that are flammable, just in case. This includes removing any carpet or rugs on and around your desk in case your wood burner rolls off and damages them or starts something worse. No one needs a house fire!

Let’s get into talking about changing the woodburning tips next. The wood burner gets hot so you definitely don’t want to touch it with your fingers! That’s why you should have needle nose pliers handy to remove the tips. To be safe, let it cool a little bit so that when removing the tips you don’t burn yourself or warp the metal because that happens if its too hot and then the tip is no good anymore. The warm tips can go in a ceramic dish or mug so make sure you have that first before you take the tips off.

When you want to see if the wood burner is hot enough to start your project, avoid touching the metal with your fingers and hands. Instead, you can get another piece of wood as a tester piece. Move the wood burner back and forth slowly to see if it’s up to temp. Once it’s at the desired temp, you can now work on your project.

The last thing I want to tell you is to take breaks and stretch. Staying too long in one posture can cause cramps, aches and pains in your arm, hand, wrist, and shoulder area so stretching will help keep your body loose and ensure good blood circulation.


I hope you find the information here useful and if you have any questions or other safety suggestions, please do leave a comment down below. I would really appreciate it.

Christina Tillinghast

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Types of Wood – What Works with Pyrography

turtle wood burned on plywood

While the art of pyrography can be performed on various surfaces, different types of wood remain to be the most popular medium. This natural “canvas” comes with many characteristics that cannot be found in any other material. Grains of different shapes and sizes, various wood sap consistencies, and the plethora of hues can all pose different challenges for the artist. But when these challenges are overcome, the result is a unique and lasting piece of art.

It is therefore important that artists have at least a little understanding of the characteristics of wood and how to make the most of it be it your wire-nib pyrography pen or solid-point pyrography pen. This also includes knowing whether it is safe to work on certain pieces of wood or not.

Here we will cover the basics in relation to pyrography and these include:

  • Hardwood
  • Softwood
  • Plywood
  • Treated wood
  • Untreated wood
  • Wood tones

Hardwood comes from flowering, seed-producing trees that are from the angiosperm family. They are often from the deciduous species, which typically display annual growth rings.  Oak, maple, walnut, and hickory are just a few examples of the various types of hardwood.  Hardwood is generally difficult to burn images on and is not typically the wood of choice used for this medium. There are certain types of hardwood that are actually softer than some softwood.  Poplar is an example of a type of hardwood that works well for pyrography.





Softwood comes from the gymnosperm family and belongs to the seed-producing category as well. This is the preferred type of wood to use with pyrography. Basswood, birch, and pine are examples of some softwood that are excellent for wood-burning.

Bat is burned on basswood

Logo is burned on pine


Plywood consists of layers of wood veneers that are glued together to create a flat sheet.  Plywood’s best features are its resistance to warpage,  shrinkage, and water. Generally, it comes with both surfaces sanded. Since the Douglas fir is most commonly used throughout the US and Canada, this is another great wood source to burn your images on.

Turtle burned on a piece of plywood 
Treated wood

Before you start your burning you must first identify whether the wood you chose is treated or untreated.  Treated wood consists of wood that has been painted, varnished, stained, and pressure treated. You also want to avoid any type of fibreboard. It is extremely dangerous to burn on treated wood.  Inhaling the fumes that are produced by burning treated wood is toxic and harmful to your health. If at all possible, DO NOT burn on any treated wood.

This Coffee sign had to be created with pen and markers because the wood is treated.  Notice the wood is painted which was done prior to burning making this treated wood dangerous to burn on.

Untreated wood

Untreated wood is wood closest to its natural state.  You can find several pieces of untreated wood and your local craft and hardware store.  Many craft stores have pre-cut wood pieces available for purchase to fit your needs.  Lumber yards are also wonderful places to go to find freshly cut, seasoned, and reasonably priced wood pieces.

Wood color tones

The white soft layer of wood is called sapwood. Sapwood is formed between the heartwood and bark. Heartwood is the innermost part of the tree trunk. Heartwood color varies depending on the species.  This is why we have a wide array of wood tones. Exposing cut, dry wood to light, specifically UV light, will darken the wood. Air, heat, and water exposure can also impact the color of the wood as it ages. Most wood will darken with age while others may change to a rust hue.   Varnishes and oils can also impact the color of the wood.  Working with a lighter shade of wood may prolong the effects of aging, however, there isn’t much we can do to prevent this natural process from happening.

Additional information

Gourds, leather, paper, and bones are alternative materials that you can successfully burn images onto.  Burning plastic or rubber items will not only melt and cause burns but will create toxic fumes.  If you are not certain, don’t do it.  Err on the side of safety first and always do your research.

Dollar burned on paper

There is so much more to learn about wood but things like different shakes (a wood defect), rays, rings, and interlocking grains among others. These natural characteristics are very useful. Imagine whorls, swirls, and minute cracks inculcated into your wood-burning as accents or natural details of your burn subject. Your imagination is the only limit!

Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

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Spring Decor Wood Burning Project

TRUArt Spring decor

I’d have to say that Spring is one of my favorite seasons that just warrants a complementing Spring Decor. Baby birds are chirping, fragrant and colorful flowers are blooming, and butterflies are gracefully fluttering about. Everywhere you look, it is bursting with life. When thinking of Spring, naturally, thoughts of cute little rabbits come to mind. I wanted to create a cute design that displays a traditional representation of spring. In this piece, you will combine some simple shading techniques as well as applying multiple colors to your design.

Spring Decor Supplies:

Wire-nib pyrography pen or solid-point pyrography pen
• 10in x 0.13in (254 mm x 3.302 mm) diameter plywood circle
• Colored ballpoint pen for tracing
• Scissors
• Scotch tape
• Measuring tape or ruler
Graphite paper for tracing
• Sponge
• Melamine foam eraser (magic eraser)
• Colored pencils (dark brown, light brown, pink, black, white)
• Stain (optional)
• Spray sealant (ex. polyurethane)
• Old rag for staining

Pyrography Instructions


Your pyrography pen needs to be set at a low to medium-low heat. The letters on this sign are rather thin so you will need to be aware of your pen settings and you need to be careful with the amount of pressure applied to your pyrography pen while burning. Be sure your letters are not burned at such a low temperature that the burn marks appear to be faint. When you reach the larger words, you can slowly increase your heat and/or pressure as needed.


Remember, sometimes it is easier to burn the outline of your letters first and then go back to fill in the empty space. This helps you stay within the parameters of your image and minimizes any stray marks. When you are burning your letters, if you come across any gaps where you should have a solid burning, go back to fill those gaps in at a very low heat so that you don’t burn outside the lines.



Let’s hop to it! It’s time to burn our image of the rabbit. Start off by tracing the outline. You want your outline to be burned in medium thickness. The purpose of the medium thickness is to have the outline dark enough for the image to stand out if you were to stain your sign.


It’s now time to work on the rabbit’s ear. You will notice the inside of the ear has a “Y” shape pattern. Burn the stem of the “Y” and at the tip of the crevice – start a dark burn. As you work your way up the ear, slowly decrease your temperature to create a lighter, softer burn. As you burn softer, you should not apply much pressure to your pyrography pen. Repeat the same process on the opposite side.


Start burning the marks and lines that indicate fur patterns within the rabbit design. Darken the area around the rabbit’s nose and darken the eyes.


Now it’s time to stain your wood. Be sure to cover the surface completely. Since your image has some fine lines, be cautious not to add too much stain or your image will not be easily visible.


If you do not wish to stain your wood you can go ahead and color your design. Once your design is colored, I recommend using a spray sealant to protect your image once completed. You can go ahead and color your design first and then stain your wood if you prefer, but it will leave your image looking dull and minimizes the details in the drawing.


Take out your box of colored pencils. You will need a dark brown, light brown, black, white and pink. Start by taking your dark brown colored pencil and tracing the outline of the rabbit. Continue to add the dark brown colored pencil to the fur lines and marks within the image of the rabbit.


Color the rabbit softly with the light brown. Do not color the inside of the ears brown. Leave that area untouched for now. Once the light brown has been applied to the rabbit’s fur, take your white colored pencil and softly blend it into the light brown areas. This blends the colored area more evenly and softens any harsh lines. Never use a lot of pressure when coloring. You do not want hard scratch lines that are hard to smooth out.


Add a light pink to the nose and ears. Again, burn lightly and add white to smooth and soften the colors.


Take a black colored pencil and color in the eyes and outline the nose and mouth. If you need to enhance your image, you can go back over the design and retrace your image using the black or dark brown colored pencil.

STEP 10:

Once your rabbit is complete, spray sealant over everything and allow it to dry. This protects everything.

Every bunny will love the finished product.

If you have any questions, suggestions or anything you would like to comment on, please do so in the comment section below and I’ll get right back to you as soon as possible.

See you next time,
Andrea Pate
Pate’s Pyrography

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Valentine Pyrography

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a Valentine pyrography project is called for. Here are some inexpensive and fun ideas to spruce up your home.

I have found several seasonal wood cutouts available at my local dollar store and for Valentine’s Day, I picked two different types of heart-shaped wood cutouts.

You can also create your own cutouts with varying sizes out of scrap plywood or other pieces of wood lying about. Simply find a template, print it out and transfer it to your wood with transfer paper. For detailed instructions on how to do the transfer, check out a previous post I made.

I recommend going online to find various quotes and fonts to burn onto the wood. Another suggestion is to find a stencil or letter stamps and create your own conversational candy hearts. These would look great displayed over a fireplace or hung outside your door.


Add some color to them or a little bit of stain to make them pop.

The possibilities are endless and you can’t beat the price.  I suggest looking around your local dollar store a month prior to the holiday.  These wood cutouts don’t stay on the shelf long as they will make wonderful gifts for those you love and hold dear just like this Valentine pyrography project. This would be a great project for any age group.

As always, if you have any comments or suggestions for a project, I’ll be very glad to hear about it.



Pate’s Pyrography

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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