Pyrography – Creating Awesome Wood Burning Artwork

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History of Pyrography

Pyrography dates back to the heyday of many of the world’s great civilisations……The Egyptians, The Greeks, The Romans, The Nazca and Moche civilisations in Peru and the Han dynasty in China, where it was known as ‘fire needle embroidery’.  

The word pyrography originates from the Greek meaning ‘writing with fire’.

Less advanced cultures, like the Maoris in New Zealand, also practiced primitive forms of pyrography All they needed was a piece of wood, metal rods of various sizes and a source of fire.


Getting Started


For your personal safety you must wear a mask with a rating of P-95 or higher.

Type of Wood 

Night FrogThe best wood to use if you are a beginner is basswood with willow and aspen as alternatives. Basswood is light in colour, readily available and has an unobtrusive grain pattern. 


Selecting a Pyrography Kit

My research has identified the following kits as best buys……

Best Overall Buy

Truart Stage 1 singleTRUArt Wood and Leather Pyrography Pen Set ( Stage 1) with 21 different tips .

Dual Power Mode 30W and 15W

Click on image for more details


Best for Beginners   

ArtSkills 53 piece set

Artskills 53 piece Wood Burning Kit

Includes 10 different unique tips

Complete with classic and metallic watercolors.

Click on image for more details.


Best Budget Buy

Walnut Hollow Pyrography iron

Walnut Hollow pyrography pen with variable heat control

All of the burners featured above have a two pin plug, which is only suitable for use in countries with a 110V supply.

Wire Nib burners are the Rolls Royce of wood burning pencils. Although they have several advantages for complex designs, which require delicate shading, they are much more expensive than the solid nib burner. For this reason I would not recommend them if you are just setting out on your pyrography journey.


Pyrography Patterns

You can create your own patterns. or. if you are just starting out. it’s a good idea to buy a book which includes tutorials and patterns. Here are four books to choose from. Just click on the image for details of each book.


Pyrography patterns

Pyography Patterns

My Pyrography

My Pyrography for Patterns and Designs

Bohemian Patterns

Bohemian Pyrography Patterns



Transferring Your Pattern To The Wood

There are three main ways of transferring your pattern to the wood.

1. The Pencil Method

2. The Graphite Pencil Method

3. Heat Transfer Method

I have discovered an excellent article on this subject, which explains the methods far better than I can.


Choosing the Right Tips 

The best way to learn the different effects you can achieve is by picking up your pen and trying out various tips.

Outline your design using an all purpose/universal tip. The same tip can be used for straight lines.

A calligraphy tip, as the name implies, is ideal for free flowing writing and curved lines.

An extra fine tip is used for detailed work, straight lines and tighter curves.


Adding Colour

You can enhance your design by adding colour using watercolour paints or watercolour crayons. inks or stains.

If you are just starting out you are best to start with watercolour crayons. Once you have applied the colour with a pencil, use a paintbrush with a little water to create a wash effect.

Always clean the paintbrush thoroughly before applying a different colour.

Sealing Your Work

Undoubtedly the best way to seal your work is applying polyurethane using an aerosol spray. Do not use a brush as it may make the colours run.

Pyrography In Action

Be inspired by watching these pyrographers creating their artwork….


Scorch Marker In action


Pinterest Butterflies using Pyrography


Pyrography Artwork

Some striking artwork from Etsy…..

Night Frog

Frog in Moonlight

Seed Heads

Seed Heads













Personalised Portraits













Happy Burning!   Happy Days!

You may like to read some of my other posts…….

Kumiko – A Traditional Japanese Style Of Woodwork


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I have always loved wood crafts. In my teens it was model gliders, ships in bottles, puppets, wooden toys.... Then I had to earn a crust and became a civil engineer designing and building bridges, motorways, schools...until I became a video producer. On retiring I started making dolls houses but now I am a blogger concentrating on my love of wood.

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