Tools to Use: Wood Burner (Plus Six Projects to Use it on!)

Ways to Embellish Wood: Wood Burner

Wood Burner

Want a totally eco-friendly way to modify wood, or cork, or leather without paint, without dye, without glue? Dude, get yourself a wood burner!

The art and craft of wood burning is called pyrography. A wood burner looks like a soldering iron but works like a pen (hence that “graphy” suffix), burning your designs into any material that can handle it–for sure more than just wood! There are different tips that you can use with the wood burner to create different effects, but for the most part, if you can draw it, then you can burn it.

And even though yes, the wood burner does make a point of being sharp and burny at the end, it’s a surprisingly kid-friendly tool. If your kid can hold a pencil, she can be taught how to safely hold a wood burner. My reluctant writer happily spent ages carving the plaque in the top photo that reads “Willow Queen of Everything.” My younger daughter, broken-hearted at the unexpected and sudden death of a pet, eased some of her grief by making this plaque for its grave:

Wood Burner

By burning designs onto sticks and building blocks, the kids can also make toys for themselves, and as a family we’ve enjoyed using the wood burner to decorate projects ranging from bookshelves to egg cups.

If you feel like you need a little more inspiration, check out these other projects that you can also make using a wood burner:

1. cutting board. Monogram it!

2. leather. A wood burner can etch into leather just as well as wood.

3. styrofoam. Waste styrofoam packaging can be your brand-new stamp set, thanks to your wood burner.

4. tree slice. Wood burning onto a tree slice is a versatile project, making everything from ornaments to checkers.

5. wooden beads. Burn delicate designs into plain wooden beads to make unique jewelry. Dye them first to add color!

6. wooden spoonsThese designs make wooden spoons special enough to be gifts–and they remain usable.

In talented hands, a wood burner is also an artist’s tool. Want to make beautiful works of pyrography? Check out this site for everything about pyrography.

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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