This is my second step-by-step post for one of my wood burn projects. I think the more I post my projects online the more I remember to actually take photos while I’m making things. I’ll definitely have photos for this project and if you haven’t seen my first wood burn post you can check that out here.
One of my coworkers needed a gift for her mom for Mother’s Day and asked me to make a placard for their 4 dogs. One had recently passed away so it was more of a memorial placard. Their names were:
Cinnamon, Lassie, Fluffy and Roxy
I started making the design in the Procreate app on my iPad Pro. I’m really ODC when it comes to things lining up so I used a standard font and edited the ligatures on them to add floral leaves and berries.
I added the wreath style designs at the top and bottom to help center the words since the piece of wood was egg shaped. I tried to use my Cricut machine to cut out a template but that quickly became a 30 minute “waste-my-time” nightmare so I just printed it out on regular paper for the next step.
I carefully placed the paper so that it fits just right on the piece of wood and creased the sides. I’ll add some graphite paper underneath for tracing, so creasing the paper will help me place it back into the right place.
I also added some masking tape to the top and bottom to make sure it wouldn’t move once I started tracing. Just a tip, graphite does NOT like to erase from wood, so if the text moved around I wouldn’t be able to erase it if I needed to fix any lines. After carefully tracing I pulled everything off with my fingers crossed that I didn’t leave anything out. Also a good tip, if you are using transfer paper, use a ballpoint pen to trace, it won’t rip the paper and lets you apply enough pressure to get the graphite off.
After double checking all the text I plugged in my wood burner and put on a great music playlist because this was going to take some time. The slower you burn, the better your lines will be since you have more control. As always here are some pointers when burning wood:
- Cover your body, especially yours legs in-case you drop your tool. You do not want to burn yourself. I always wear a smock while working on projects to protect my skin.
- Try not to lean directly over the wood when it is being burned. The smoke can irritate your eyes, and simply blinking rapidly does not help.
- Along with the above tip, work somewhere ventilated or have a fan on. You may cause the smoke detector to go off depending on how much your are burning.
- Depending on the wood you use, some sections may burn easier than others, so don’t get lazy and assume the tool is going to move where you want it to go. The groove can take it elsewhere, so you want to have full control of the flow and direction.
- Once you burn, you can’t go back. Usually if you make a mistake you can finesse the piece but, overall just be careful.
I started working from top to bottom, more of a preference. I also added a towel underneath to catch any of the bark from falling off the side and also in-case I dropped the burner onto my desk.
I found out that the towel also helped me support my elbows and wrists on the table when holding the burner at weird angles to get smooth curves. I have carpel tunnel in one wrist so whatever I can do to ease wrist stress, I do.
Here is a good closeup of the grain and grooves the burner makes into the wood.
As you can see in the closeup, the wood had a few dark knots in the center. When picking wood cuts I try to get ones that won’t have knots in areas I’m going to use, especially for lettering. O’s can become e’s and it can mess up the flow of your piece.
Once I had the design burnt in, I tried to erase any leftover graphite as best I could. I even took a damp towel to see if I could smudge it off. You can somewhat tell that I did this right under the R in Roxy (luckily it did dry lighter). I wasn’t done just yet. I of course didn’t want future smudges to be a possibility so I sealed the wood with Minwax Polycrylic. If you are okay with shopping at Walmart, thats the cheapest place to get it. Lowes and Home Depot charge a few dollars more for the same size.
I laid the wood ontop of a scrap piece of wood so that I didn’t get any acrylic paint on my towel. There are different finishes you can get the Polycrylic in, for this one I did a Clear Satin as I didn’t want it to be too shiny but not super flat. I gave it a couple of thin coats, 4 in total. You don’t want to put it on too heavy because it will bubble. You can get it to dry faster with a blow dryer but I just waited a few minute in between coats. Here is the finished results:
As always, let me know what you think in the comments below. If you attempt a wood burn or get inspiration from this one tag me on instagram @FleetingAutumn !