How to burn letters into wood? Learn Burning Alphabets in Simple Steps

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Written by Jared Watson

Jarred Watson is a pyrographer with 10+ years experience and has worked with brands like BOSCH & FORD. He is always looking to learn and share his passion of wood burning with others.

Craft and DIY techniques are splendid opportunities to present your skills and talent. Wooden-built materials give an attractive and classy look when burnt.

Especially when you are burning letters on wood, which have multiple use cases like a road sign, treasure boxes, shop sign boards, decorative wooden items, and many more products.

Here, we will learn how to burn letters into wood which have added utility. 

Tools Required

In order to get the perfect product, a few essential tools are required. We have mentioned them below.

  • A standalone Pyrography pen: Such a pen utilized during the wood-burning work to design and write the letters in precise shapes. A solid-point burner pen is good for designing decorative artwork. A wire-nib burner pen serves well and creates thicker lines and a small design.


Complete Wood Burning tool kit: Such a kit can be used for more complicated designs that requires different shades than just a regular one. Select the machine that includes soldering iron tips, hot knife blade, wood, burning tips, and temperature controlling knob.

  • stylus pen assists in creating the design on the wood surface. Color pencils are required to add color to the design. 
  • Wooden plank
  • Safety tools

Safety Tools

Safety is essential when performing calligraphy. As artistic it may sound, things can be hazardous if you don’t follow some basic pyrography safety measures

Gloves: If you are working with electronic tools or something that involves fire, it is very important that you have leather gloves to protect you from any current or fire.

Safety goggles: Although you will always work on wooden blocks that are clean and already made even, there is always a chance that some wood dust will come off in your operation. Having safety goggles will ensure your eyes are taken care of. 

Apron: When working with wood, you will get a lot of wood dust and tiny particles come over you. An apron should protect you from anything that comes off from your operation thus protecting your actual clothes.

Mask: Performing wood burning also releases dangerous gas. You should invest in a quality mask preferably a N95 mask to safeguard yourself from any hazardous impacts of the gas. 

What is the right kit for calligraphy?

A right kit for calligraphy should be something that fits your budget and is worth the quality. You could be a beginner or a professional, if you aren’t familiar with what to look for then you can follow our recommendation below.

Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool

The kit contains:

  • Wood burning pen with temperature control allows users to control the
  • Temperature of the burning.
  • A tool stand.
  • Different point tips (shading, mini flow, etc.).
  • Stencil cutting, hot knife cutting, and many more amazing tools will surprise you.

Walnut is a brand trusted since ages among pyrographers. Everyone loves it since it has stood the test of time. From the simple fact that the temperature control allows you the flexibility to work on the nature of the material. You can use it comfortably for calligraphy while also being able to work on ceramics, leather and even wax.

What is the right wood for calligraphy ?

Brasswood: Brasswood will be a good choice for wood-burning calligraphy as the wood is light in color. It will enhance the text and make it look better. The wood is light in weight which makes it better for hand carving.

Willow: A softwood with almost white grain, Willow is easy to burn and keeps its color long after a finish has been applied. The light grain is a nice canvas for wood burning.

Maple: It’s important to note that maple wood has a minimalist and light grain, making it a popular choice for wood-burning artists. It can usually be found at most stores, and burning into maple will be an easy task resulting in consistent patterns.

Let's Begin!

How to burn letters into wood?​

Burning aplhabets into wood has been a trending design for the past few years. For burning letters on wood, one needs a plain smooth surface and right tools to get the desired design. The aplhabets and dimensions of the design do not matter, nor do they create any issue in the process. 

I have divided the actual steps into two different stages for better understanding. Essentially Stage 1 and Stage 2 are the preparation phases while Stage 3 is where you actually start burning letters into wood. 

Stage 1

1. Ready the wood surface

Arrange plain surfaced wood. Generally, light in color and smooth finishing wood will produce a good quality product. Wood burning results in a light colored wood. The wood with the minimal grain is best wood for the project. There is a wide range of soft wood and hardwoods to choose from. Remember, little wood grain brings polish to the finished design

2. Organize the wood

Begin by polishing and sanding the wood. An unpolished surface can be used for wood burning, but primarily well-finished wood surfaces are good for the project. Rub down the front side of the wood. 

3. Make use of an outline

3. Make use of an outline​

Make use of an outline or a sample drawing on white paper. Using a stencil to wood burn letters will also work. 

4. Outline the shifting process

Create a design that you want on the wood. Using the letters written on white paper is also good. Or else use a PC/ Laptop and shift the design to create a better design through any designing software like Adobe Photoshop and take a printout.

Use carbon paper and trace the outline of the alphabets. Use a pencil or stylus tool to draw the design of the letter. The letters designed on the carbon sheet should appear on the front area, presenting the design with a glassy look. 

5. Apply the wood burning techniques

5. Apply the wood burner techniques​

Use image transfer tip to copy the design on the wood via the wood burning tool. Just put the sheet with the picture on the wood’s front area. After that, heat the back part of the wood surface with the tool to trace the design on the wood surface area. 

The image transfer tip will print the design from the paper/carbon side and onto the wood surface area.

Stage 2

1. Use different tools for Wood burning

For wood burning, a tool is used that will be available on the online e-commerce platforms or craft selling suppliers or shops. Wood burner iron consists of a stand, and heating regulator, including plug and pointed tips. This tool is available in different price segments. 

The starting amount of tool is around $50, and experts in the craft sector use tools priced at about $200 and above with good features and equipment. 

2. Tool usage and equipment guidelines

Wood burning tools include usage guidelines that are good to follow up. There are different shapes and sizes of wood iron tips available. In the case of small letter, small tip is required. And in larger letters, large shape tips are needed. 

The design of tips is mostly teardrops formed and built for shading of the material. A few design tools are built for creating the layout of straight-lining for the wedge shape. Make use of pliers to change the tips from the tool.

3. Check out unique quality iron tips

Few brands manufacture unique quality tips. These tips make it easier to burn the wood surface into a specific shape.

4. Warm the Iron tool

4. Plug on and warm the Iron tool​

Switch on the tool and put it to heat. Different wood burning tools carry different heating times. The instructions manual of the tool would mention the heating time. The heating time makes it easier to make the wood surface stable and precise.  

Few wood burning kits have features of temperature control that make it easier to handle the heat accurately. Generally, the temperature should be between 400 to 600 Celsius.

Stage 3

Use wood burning tool for burning alphabets on wood

1. Use wood burning tool

Make use of the wood burner tool. Firmly Grip the burner and hold the outlined wood surface. Then, run the burner tool over the area with adequate pressure to burn wood without the hassle. 

2. Persistent in Speed on the wood layout

While burning the surface, it is essential to maintain speed and persistence to build the shape accurately. Distinct speed levels can cause areas to be thick or broad based on shape and temperature.

3. Draft the process of the letter

To start burning the letters, make use of smooth movement except in the midline area. To obtain smooth and appropriate lines, one needs to be careful with the strokes. It is essential to understand where to start the strokes and where to conclude them.

Example: The word ‘OK’. Aplhabet O needs a one-time stroke. The letter K requires 3 strokes, the straight, the middle, and the lower line area.

4. Set the Temperature of the tool

To operate the wood burning perfectly, set the accurate temperature of the wood burner. If the letter lining is lighter or darker, one needs to set the temperature parameters to get the draft design visible perfectly—the temperature changes depending on brands and expertise to control the temperature and wood materials. 

Without a temperature control switch, it is pretty challenging to present a fine finishing. One has to take a break to hit the iron tool to finish the wood-burning process.

5. Refill the letters

If the shape consists of thick letters and lines, then refill the core area. Use less pressure and simple shifting to get the appropriate design. A bigger tip assists in the big shape outline design. 

6. Put on secondary things in the outline

To burn the wood into a design, one also needs a few adorning items. Adding adorning things in the design makes the craft more pleasing and eye-catching. Use a few attractive designs based on your interest to give it a better look.

Tips and Techniques

Before you begin burning letters on wood there are few essential tips and technique given below to keep in mind to get the most out of you wood burning tools:

  • Keep the area where you make the design clean, such as the table or other surfaces.
  • Ensure the design on the carbon paper and digital-based design is not overlapping or unorganized. The letters should be visible and have a proper shape.
  • Ensure the tips are clean and perfect to use. Broken or unclean tips create a high chance of ruining the design

Looking for design Ideas ?

Design inspiration for wood-burning calligraphy is all over the internet; however, you can also be as creative as you can regarding cursive calligraphy. It’s an art without any restrictions. There are many youtube videos and internet blogs with zillion ideas for you to take inspiration from. 

Here's how to burn letters using soldering iron

A soldering iron is utilized to soften the solder and put it inside the metals, and connect accordingly. Soldering iron tools are used in wood burning, by controlling the heat and adjusting the shape tips.

Here's how to wood burn alphabets using the torch

  1. Set the design on a transparent smooth surface, switch on the torch and set the pressure to a high level. Give a hit on the outline area of the alphabets through the touch fire and fill the center while applying pressure. The more the force, the more the visual of the design will pop up.
  2. Leave the design to cool down and add a final smooth touch. After some time, the outline will be ready.

Here's how to wood burn letters using propane torch

  1. Switch the propane torch and apply pressure to the desired wood surface area.
  2. Use a pyrography pen and colored pencils to write and burn the design accurately.
  3. This will make the design properly visible.

Wrapping Up

So, this was all about burning letters into wood. Craft-based works like this are in demand in the European regions and a few other countries. It is a very good skill that provides economic opportunities.

Wood burning is an excellent artistic skill. One needs to invest time and patience in learning and implementing the skills. Enhancing it to an expert level will provide good opportunities for them in the future.

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