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The PLAID Palette

DIY Wood Burning: How To Tips & Project Patterns

DIY Wood Burning: How To Tips & Project Patterns

Did you know that DIY wood burning can really be very relaxing and is a lot of fun? Did you also know that Plaid makes a Decorative Wood Burning Tool? Not only is it the ideal tool for all your wood-burning craft projects, it also serves as a stencil cutter!

A Closer Look at the Decorative Wood-Burning Tool

The Plaid Decorative Wood-Burning Tool comes with four different points for wood-burning and two additional tips for stencil-cutting. You'll also find a metal stand to hold the heated tool as well as an on/off switch on the 54″ (1½ yds) electrical cord.

Each of the four wood burning points—Cone Point, Flow Point, Shading Point and Universal Point—has a specific purpose.

  • The Flow Point is a rounded, blunt end, which is easy to use as it "flows" across the surface of the wood; it also can be used for line work as well as points or dots. 
  • The Cone Point is a smaller rounded tip that will create finer wood burned linea and smaller dots. 
  • As its name suggests, the Shading Point is used to create detail and shading in your wood-burning project.
  • The Universal Point is ideal for linework.

The key is to experiment and play with the points. You will soon realize that you can achieve many different looks!

When using the Decorative Wood-Burning Tool, I always tape my metal stand to my work surface. This tool will become very hot; it can reach 750°! Keeping the stand taped to one place will keep it stable when not in use and will help prevent accidental burns.

And here is the tool resting on its stand while taped to my work surface!

Supplies for DIY Wood-Burning Projects

Instructions for a DIY Wood-Burning Craft Project

Although wood-burning—or pyrography, as it's also known—is often thought of as more of a masculine handicraft, you can create more "lady-friendly" projects with ease! Check out this simple plaque with a fun and funky doodled wildflower pattern.

I always begin with a pattern or line drawing. First, I doodled some funky wildflowers, but if you are not comfortable doodling yourself, any image or pattern can be used; you can even use stencils and simply pencil through the opening of the stencil design. After drawing my wildflowers, I transferred them to the raw wood plaque using gray graphite and a stylus (you can also use a dead ballpoint pen or the handle of a paintbrush if you don't have a stylus).

Simply retrace the main pattern lines with the stylus keeping the gray graphite side down toward the raw wood. Voila, my pattern is now transferred to the plaque!

Next, after turning on the wood burner and allowing it to preheat for 10 minutes, I used the Flow Point to trace over or outline the main pattern lines. Hold the craft tool steady without a lot of pressure and allow the tool to glide over the wood. Do not apply so much pressure that you cut a groove into the wood.

Because this tool is very hot, the longer you hold it in one place, the more burned or darker the wood will be. Here is a close up of the Shading Point I used to create a leaf. I rocked the point from side to side to only burn the edges of the leaf. 

Don't worry if you are not completely retracing the exact pattern lines, as they can be erased afterwards. Here is a closeup at how I used the Universal Point to create straight short lines both on the top of these flowers…

…as well as blades of glass below. The Universal Point can also be used to create long lines within a pattern.

Here, I used the Cone Point to create shading and texture with thinner, more detailed lines.

The Cone Point is also perfect for mini polka dots. Remember, the longer you hold the tool in one place, the larger and deeper the dot will be.

After I burned my wildflower design into the wood and I was happy with the details and shading, I felt the edges of the plaque were lacking some love and detail, so I burned a squiggly line pattern into the edges of the plaque.

Then, I switched back to the Flow Point and shaded the small routed edge.

Still using the Flow Point, I next burned a polka dot border on the side edge of the plaque…

…all the way around!

Next, I added pops of color using FolkArt Multi-Surface Paints that were thinned with water to an ink-like consistency for a watercolor effect that would allow me to see the beauty of the woodgrain and the burned designs.

You can keep your wood burned project one color and simply colorblock paint, or you can add a little shading by adding a second color such as I did on the leaves and the flower center below.

Here is a look at my wood burned funky wildflower plaque colored in. Lastly, I used my eraser to remove any of the original pattern lines that were still exposed.

What do you think? Isn't this a cute project?

13 Tips for Successful DIY Wood Burning Projects

  1. Tape the Decorative Wood Burner stand to your work surface to keep it stable and to prevent accidental burns.
  2. Place the wood burner on the stand and allow it to heat up for ten minutes before using.
  3. Apply minimal pressure—enough for the tool to glide over the surface, but not so much that you're cutting grooves into the wood.
  4. Hold the wood burner like you would a pencil or paintbrush.
  5. NEVER touch the point or metal parts of the craft tool when heated.
  6. Use flat nose pliers to screw points into the end of the craft tool, especially when the tool is on and heated.
  7. To sharpen or clean the points, use a fine emery board.
  8. Practice on the back of your project or scrap wood to learn how each point can be used.
  9. Each of the four wood burning points will react differently to different types of wood, so experiment and have fun.
  10. Move tool slowly across the wood surface.
  11. Turn your project surface always so that you are either pulling towards you or pushing away from you—whichever is most comfortable for you.
  12. In some instances, fine grit sandpaper can lighten a heavy burned area.
  13. Turn off wood burning tool and allow it to cool completely after each use.

Other DIY Wood Burning Project Ideas

Also please check out for additional projects and step-by-step instructions. Here I created this clever wood clothespin note holder

Wood Burned Clothespin Project Idea

These wood bangle bracelets were also fun to create. Try either the Creative Words bracelet or the wide Daisy Bangle Bracelet.

Finally, I used our FolkArt Handmade Charlotte Paisley Delight stencil as the pattern to create this DIY wood-burned picture frame. I traced around the stencil design directly onto the wood frame and then burned the design. Combining painting, wood-burning, and stenciling on one project offers many cool ideas for other DIY wood-burning projects!

Posted: 4/21/2015 7:04:00 AM by LEAP | with 6 comments
Filed under:

Buy the Supplies Needed for DIY Wood Burning

Plaid ® Decorative Wood Burning Tool - 30725

Plaid ® Decorative Wood Burning Tool - 30725

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Wicker White, 2 oz. - 2894

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Wicker White, 2 oz. - 2894

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Magenta, 2 oz. - 2898

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Magenta, 2 oz. - 2898

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Vivid Orange, 2 oz. - 2904

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Vivid Orange, 2 oz. - 2904

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Daffodil Yellow, 2 oz. - 2912

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Daffodil Yellow, 2…

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Classic Green, 2 oz. - 2917

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Classic Green, 2 oz. - 2917

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Lavender, 2 oz. - 2928

FolkArt ® Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paints - Lavender, 2 oz. - 2928

Plaid ® Wood Surfaces - Plaques - Corner - 96290

Plaid ® Wood Surfaces - Plaques - Corner - 96290


you can by varnish for outdoor projects
8/17/2017 7:03:56 PM

I'm just getting started on a family name sign to hang outside and stopped because I didn't consider how to seal or protect all this work from the weather - rain, snow, wind, heat and cold. Any suggestions for me?
8/7/2017 4:38:38 PM

Are there tips that have the letters of the alphabet for this tool? Where can I buy them? Love this tool but would love it more if I had letters too lol
4/19/2017 7:49:30 PM

Wanda Canada Weems
I LOVE this wonderful tool! It's so much fun. Even my 13 year old granddaughter loves it, and she's exceptionally talented.
4/19/2017 4:42:56 AM

Thank you for the great tips! I just bought a wood burning tool and I'm reading blogs and how-to's to learn how to use it. Your tips are very helpful.
4/10/2017 2:57:50 PM

Wayne Hewitt
4/8/2017 5:14:29 AM