Monday, May 28, 2012

Calendar Journal Update & Tips for Pyrography

Hello all!
Remember the calendar journal that I started this year and the ideas I had for decorating it? Well, I have finally found the time to decorate it! I have finished the woodburning and now all that is left is to pick a stain, stain it, and layer on the poly! Below are some photos of the calendar journal box, followed by some tips that I have picked up and learned while exploring this neat form of art.

So, I have been exploring the art of woodburning or pyrography for about a year now and here are a few tips that I have picked up along the way:

  • Sketch out your designs first. Try out shapes and lines and ideas on paper and once you've decided on a design, pencil it out on the wood. 
  • Keep a piece of scrap wood nearby to practice burn strokes, to check the temperature of the tip, and to practice a particular shape.
  • Have a piece of sandpaper nearby to run the tip of your pen on periodically. I found that carbon builds up on the tip and makes it more difficult to work with. It often makes it so you must be slower with your strokes to get the darkness you aim for. 
  • Be sure the wood surface is smooth and free of roughness. Sand prior to burning. 
  • Be aware of the characteristics of your burning surface. Something that still plagues me when I burn is softer grains in the wood. They burn more quickly and cause darker spots in lines, as shown below: 

  • As you can see along the darker wood grain, I found a softness that caused these indentations and dark spots. Another way to avoid this is to remember that it's not about the pressure that you apply to the pen, it's the length of time it contacts the wood surface. I have yet to master pen to wood contact and it shows. :P 
  • The type of wood used will affect the experience and the result. Lighter-colored woods like sycamore, basswood, beech, and birch are better for pyrography because the markings show are more visible. And some woods have much longer contact times for contrasting burn marks than others. 
  • Be creative. Don't be afraid to have long contact times. It gives a really nice contrast between the dark burn marks and the untouched wood surface. Experiment with different tips and woods. And even try a wire-nib burner (more on this below).
Those are just a few things that I have picked up along the way - I am definitely not an expert on the matter. I have yet to use a wire-nib burner which has variable temperature and as for the solid-point burner (constant temperature) that I use, I have only used two tips extensively. I have a lot to learn and a lot of practice to go, but this is something that I have enjoyed so far! 

Hope these tips were helpful to anyone looking to try it out! If you have any other tips or tricks to share, please feel free! 

Until next time, have a good day and stay excellent! 
- Jenny - 

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