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Types of Pyrography Pens and Their Differences

Pyrography or woodburning, is an art medium rapidly gaining popularity especially in the United States and United Kingdom. This art medium involves the use of a heating device that resembles a large pen, which, when applied to wood surfaces, leaves distinctive burn marks. There are already many professional pyrography artists around and most of their work is truly astounding – many even life-like especially when a touch of color is added.

 

#patespyro
“Frankenstein” from Pate’s Pyrography

 

As more and more budding artists join the pyrography band wagon, many do not know what to start off with or know about the differences among the many pens sold out there. This then poses a problem for many who nevertheless went ahead, bought a pen (usually convinced by online reviews) and are either stuck on how to use them properly or end up destroying the tool altogether. To address that and a few other key issues, let’s compare the two types of pyrography pens, the solid-point burners and the wire-nib burners.

 

TRUArt 15-30 W Pyrography Pen
Solid-point pyrography pen

TRUArt 60W Woodburning Detailer
Wire-nib pyrography pen

 

 

Tip / Nib

Solid-point burner – This type of pen usually requires a screw-in tip although some very few designs in the market feature non-screw tips held in place by a sleeve and a nut. Care should be taken when purchasing extra tips as they can vary in thread type. TRUArt pyrography pens use M4 X 0.7 tips. This means that the thread is 4 mm in diameter with a 0.7 mm thread pitch. These tips are screwed in tightly by hand and usually finished off with 1/8th to 1/4 of a turn using a pair of pliers.

Wire-nib burner – This type of pen holds wire tips usually made from Ni-chrome wire of varying gauges. The wires are either inserted into collets or held in place by screws tightened unto them. TRUArt’s 60 W Professional Woodburning Detailer can accept 20 to 16 GA wire tips.

 

Heat transfer

Solid-point burners create heat by means of a heating element within the pen that is then transferred to the tip and operate at a fixed temperature.

Wire-nib burners create heat on the nibs by electric current going through it. The collets or wire nib holders should never be shorted.

 

Solid-point burner Wire-nib burner
Pros Cons Pros Cons
Cheaper than Wire-nib burners

Wide selection of patterned and stamp tips

Brass tips conducts heat faster and retains it longer than other metals

Easy screw-in and unscrewing of tips (only do this when unit is cold!)

Variable heat output (TRUArt 15 W – 30 W pens)

Ergonomic handle with anti-slip rubber

Ventilation holes and double heat sinks to dissipate heat away from hands

Price is great for beginners in pyrography

No separate power supply

No danger of shorting out the pen

Brass becomes soft when heated. Oftentimes, beginners tend to put too much pressure on it instead of letting the heat do the work. This bends the softened brass tip, which leads to breakage – leaving the screw inside the pen and rendering it useless.

Long waiting period for hot tips to cool down enough for unscrewing/replacement

Long waiting period (3-5 mins) for tips to heat up sufficiently

Only two power settings – 15 Watts and 30 Watts

Cannot create customized tips

Hands are farther away from work surface than Wire-nib burners

Tips may become lose within pen when heated. This will require further tightening with pliers (about 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn)

Nibs heat up much faster (less than 1 minute) than Solid-point tips

Fast cool down

Easy inserting and removal of nibs

Nibs stay tight inside collets even at the pen’s highest voltage setting

Wide selection of nib shapes and sizes

Easily create customized nibs from a roll of Ni-chrome wire

Very close distance between hand and work surface

Digital power supply allows very fine tuning of heat output on the tips, which allows for superior control over burn

Pen is smaller and lighter than Solid-point burners

Non-slip ribber handles

Can accept 20 GA to 16 GA (0.8 mm to 1.25 mm diameter) nibs

Ni-chrome wire nibs do not break easily when pressure is applied

Preferred by professionals

More expensive than Solid-point burners

Nib selection does not have big patterns or stamps like the Solid-point burner tips

Bulky power supply

Burner can get almost uncomfortably hot if voltage is too high and heat on the nib is not used fast enough

Danger of shortening the burner if the collets are directly connected to each other by any metal object

Skill in using voltage setting to get the required heat has to be developed

 

Ultimately, when selecting a woodburning or pyrography pen, you will first have to consider what you intend to do. Figure out if you could see yourself doing this occasionally or often. If you’re just starting out in the art of pyrography and do not know what kind of pyrography pen will suit you, you’re safe if you start with the Solid-point burner. Later on, once you’re more confident in the art and start investing long hours into it, you may want to consider upgrading to the more robust and industrial strength of the Wire-nib burner.

If you still want to know more, simply share your thoughts or questions through the comments below and we’ll answer them within the day.

 

 

 

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Woodburning Workshop 2 – More to Learn!

Another big “CONGRATULATIONS” to Andrea Pate on her second successful Pyrography Workshop at Stache Studios on September 29, 2018!

Once again, Andrea Pate, a very accomplished artist in art mediums such as portrait artistry and polymer clay modelling, has managed to spread the word about pyrography in downtown Griffin.  As her plan to continue on the workshop on Seasonal  Designs, all her attendees with big satisfied grins and new home decors.

 

 

“Leave a permanent impression with pyrography”
Andrea Pate

We at TRUArt are proud to be a part of Andrea’s endeavors to teach others of the easy and fun-loaded art of pyrography or wood burning. The pyrography pens used in this workshop and the one before that were predominantly our (Stage 1) Wood and Leather Pyrography Pen. The artist herself has our robust 60 W Professional Woodburning Detailer.

We can’t wait to check out what next season’s theme is going to be permanently burned into wood again!

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Woodburning Workshop – The Giant Leap Towards Learning Pyrography!

The TRUArt family extends its biggest “CONGRATULATIONS” to Andrea Pate for successfully hosting her first Pyrography Workshop at Stache Studios last August 18, 2018 and has effectively opened the doors to many budding artists looking for a unique and fun way to express their creativity!

Stache Studios, the go-to place in Downtown Griffin for learning various forms of art medium such as painting, ceramics, mosaics and clay works, graciously welcomed Andrea’s suggestion to include a new form of artwork – pyrography. With Andrea’s long history and connection to art since childhood, coupled with more than two years of pyrography experience, she deftly introduced and guided everyone into the practically new art world of wood burning. Needless to say, all workshop attendees left with proud smiles and their finished projects. Just check out the pictures below!

Andrea understands that pyrography isn’t a medium that is well known in the field of arts. In fact, she did not imagine herself hosting any workshop about it at all – being contented with creating beautiful pyrogrphy art work and selling them. That changed when we started commissioning her to create tutorials for us using our wood burning pens. In one of the tutorials, she was teaching some children how to create wood burnings for their loved ones. Watching their excitement in the process got her curious about creating classes for adults. She wanted to expose as many people to this art form as she could. Thinking of ways to get pyrography out there, she came across her local art studio. Although Stache Studio provides customers with amazing pottery and painting classes, she realized they didn’t have any on woodburning. In fact, there just aren’t many places around where one could learn Pyrography.

“Leave a permanent impression with pyrography”
Andrea Pate

 

Jessica, owner of Stache Studios, loved Andrea’s idea and immediately went to work to get things rolling while the artist provided the tools she got from TRUArt. After the resounding success of her first workshop, the artist was thrilled to see the excitement others were going through learning something she was passionate about. She feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to teach people pyrography and plans to continue sharing her expertise with more classes. As of this writing, she’s been busy creating seasonal designs for her workshop that customers can display every month of the year in their homes. It definitely doesn’t look like she plans to slow down one bit seeing that workshops are powerful tools to get the needed exposure to the art as people are starting to become familiar with it and with what she does.

 

To those who have yet to touch a pyrography pen or to those who think they don’t have the creativity for it, here’s what Andrea has to say about it:

“DO not to give up. If it’s something you’re not good at, that’s all the more reason to keep going. It will get easier and you’ll learn what works for you along the way. If it’s something you are passionate about then never give up.

It’s amazing what you can learn and how you can improve in such a short time frame. I look back at where I started and to where I’m at today and there is such a huge difference. I’m excited to see how much I will continue to grow and improve over the course of this year.”

 

We at TRUArt couldn’t have said it better, Andrea. We’re so glad and honored to be a part of your achievements in the wonderful world of pyrography. Thank you!

 

 

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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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TRUArt’s Pyrography Pens among 2018’s Best Wood Burning Kits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 
Pflugerville, TEXAS – August 30th, 2018 – The world’s first video wiki, Ezvid Wiki, which was founded in 2011, has just included TRUArt’s 60W Professional Woodburning Detailer in their 2018’s Best Wood Burning Kits.  The article, under their Creative Arts Category, is a broad-ranging and impartial assessment of woodburning kits available to US consumers.
 
The article also gives insight to the kind of tools one can find in pyrography kits as well as various ideas on how beginners can go about the art of woodburning without having to be good in freehand drawings. Lastly, it also includes a brief and very interesting history of the pyrography going back to China’s Han Dynasty.
 
Ezvid Wiki is the largest and most comprehensive video wiki on the planet. It provides useful, unbiased information and actionable guidance in thousands of knowledge categories to hundreds of millions of users around the world. Rankings in their research are comprised of value for money, predicted length of consumer attachment, predicted prospect of consumer uptake, manufacturer reputation, third party expert reviews, and extra product features.
 
For more information visit the TRUArt website or see the The 8 Best Wood Burning Kits article on the Ezvid Wiki website.
 
Contact:
 
Pavel Karoukin
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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

 

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A Simple Wood Burning Stencil For Mother’s Day

In a few more weeks it’s going to be that day where we all have the best excuse to get a little cheesy and tell our moms how special she is!

I may have started a little too early on this but I couldn’t stop myself from feeling inspired so I went ahead and searched for a very simple yet very meaningful stencil for her, which I hope you will like. Use it as you see fit or let it inspire you to create your own. Tell me what you think about it!

My only problem right now is how to work on it without her knowing about it until the big unveil…