How to Do Pyrography

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Things You'll Need

  • Wood
  • Wood-burning pen
  • Pencil
  • Graphite paper
  • Light grade sandpaper
  • Damp towel
  • Colored pencils (optional)

Pyrography is an art form in which heat is used to burn an image into wood. It's known for its dramatic high-contrast look. Talented pyrographers can burn images in wood that are almost photo-realistic, while they still retain the grain character and color of the wood. Colored pencils, ink, and varnish can be added to accentuate and color the image. Pyrography's similarity to drawing makes it an accessible art form for beginners too.

Place graphite paper face down onto the wood. Place a photo or sketch on top of the graphite paper. Trace the image with the pencil pressing firmly. Remove the image and graphite and touch up the image on the wood with the pencil.

Drag a heated wood-burning pen along the traced line, pressing gently. Pause and allow the pen to reheat after every few strokes.

Sand completed image, smoothing any rough patches or splinters created while burning.

Buff the sanded image with a damp towel to remove sawdust and ash.

Accent the dark burned lines with colored pencils, if desired.


  • Start burning at an inconspicuous point in the image, that way if you make a mistake at first, you don't flub a focal point.


  • Double check that the brass head on the wood burning pen is tight before you plug it in. Otherwise, it won't get as hot as it should.