If you like to design and sketch patterns and want to explore different materials, you can pick wood burning as your hobby. In wood burning, if you are not careful enough, it is pretty easy to mess up the entire project. Therefore, having the right tools and supplies is crucial before you start. Wood burning is mainly done using a wood-burning tool, but it is often done with the help of a torch. One such important supply when using a torch is torch paste.
What is a torch paste?
Ann Lanfair came up with torch paste for wood burning in 2020. Ann worked as a full-time designer, producing and marketing products with chalk paste. She wanted to combine her extensive collection of stencils while also learning how to burn wood.
Ann saw right away that a paste or gel material was required to capture the artwork’s finer features. So, in her kitchen/shop, she created Torch Paste, which she then improved with the aid of laboratory testing.
So, if you are eager to learn about what torch paste is for wood burning, make sure to read this post till the end.
Are you prepared to give wood burning a try? The simplest method is to use torch paste and bespoke stencils. A thick gel called torch paste was explicitly created to reduce bleed when used with wood burning stencils.
To produce distinctive burnt designs, use torch paste on materials such as wood, denim, cardboard, and card stock.
It is advised that after applying/burning torch paste on a surface that will come into contact with food, the surface be sealed with a food-grade sealer.
Use and reapply sealants as instructed. Some sealants might need frequent reapplication.
Things You Need to Make Torch Paste
Generally, torch paste is made from beeswax, paraffin wax, and rosin. It also helps to keep the wood in place while working on it.
It is a great product to use if you want to use stencils, as its unique formula reduces leaks when used with stencils.
Torch paste is readily available in the market, but you can make it yourself. You would need the following items for making torch paste
- A quarter or 1/4 cup of beeswax
- Two tablespoons of linseed oil
- Two tablespoons of resin
- Double boiler
- A glass jar which has a lid
- A wooden chopstick or skewer
- A clean piece of cloth
Steps to Make Torch Paste
Making your own torch paste with simple ingredients makes it cost-effective and enables you to control the ingredients that go into the paste.
It is straightforward to make torch paste, given one knows the right proportions and steps. You can follow the given steps to make torch paste.
Step 1: State the purpose for which you are making the torch paste
The first thing you have to consider when preparing your torch paste is to determine the purpose for which you are making the paste. Usually, there are two main reasons why torch paste is prepared.
Firstly, it is often prepared in areas with cold weather where you cannot use a regular wood-burning torch as the temperature is too low.
Secondly, the paste is often used when a wood-burning artist wants to add additional details or uses a stencil for burning designs and patterns on the wooden surface.
Determining the purpose is essential; based on that, you must choose the ingredients.
Step 2: Get the ingredients - Beeswax, Damar resin & Linseed Oil
Once you have decided the purpose for which you want to make the paste, you can start by choosing the ingredients. The quality and type of your ingredients will highly influence the quality of the paste.
Therefore, only select the best quality items for preparing the paste. Beeswax is one of the first things you would need to prepare the torch paste.
It comes in two variations- refined beeswax and unrefined beeswax. You can use either of the two. Using unrefined beeswax will add a more pungent to the final product, whereas refined beeswax will give a more subtle scent to the final product.
Damar resin is essentially tree sap which is solidified. Damar resin is a binder in this recipe and is available at most craft stores.
The last ingredient you would require for this recipe is linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil. It is essential as it helps maintain consistency by preventing the paste from getting too thick.
Step 3: Prepare the workspace.
Before preparing the paste, you must ensure the perfect setting for starting the process.
Preparing your workspace involves taking out your ingredients in the right proportion and setting up the double boiler.
Keep the glass jar handy when you pour and store the paste once done.
Having all the necessary ingredients and other equipment handy will help you to prepare the paste without any hassle and in a smooth manner.
Step 4: Mixing the ingredients
Once everything is ready, you can start mixing the items to prepare the paste. The first thing that you would do is to melt the beeswax.
To mean the beeswax, you need to add it to the heated double boiler, and it will melt on its own.
Though, make sure that you do not melt the wax on high as it can burn it. Maintain a low temperature.
Once the beeswax has melted completely, you can remove it from the heat and keep it somewhere else. To this mixture, you will need to add the dammar resin.
As you add the resin to the melted beeswax, stir it so that the items are thoroughly combined.
After the damar resin has been combined with the melted beeswax, you can add the linseed oil. Thoroughly stir the things until combined.
Step 5: Transfer the paste to a jar and allow it to cool down
After thoroughly mixing all the ingredients, you can transfer the paste to the glass jar with a lid.
While you are moving the mixture, make sure to do it carefully, as it can be relatively hot.
Transfer the paste by scooping it out with the help of a wooden skewer or chopstick, as metal can react with the paste.
Once you have transferred all the contents to the glass jar, close the lid to prevent the paste from drying.
After everything is done, allow the paste to cool down before using it.
Once the paste cools down, you can use it for your wood-burning projects by applying it with a clean cloth on the surface and burning it with a torch.
The paste will assist you in adding details and depth to your wood-burning project.
Step 6: Store it in a dark and cool place
After you are done with using the paste, it is crucial to store it properly for it to last long.
Store the paste in a dark, cool and dry place, as exposure to heat and sunlight can change its chemistry and dry it out.
Make sure the lid is closed tightly.
This torch paste will allow you to create and experiment with different patterns and add extra details to your wood-burning projects.
With practice, you will hone your wood-burning skills in no time.
Important Tips and Tricks
There are specific tips and tricks one should know when preparing torch paste and using it for wood burning.
- When making the torch paste, you can make it enjoyable by adding color to it. To make it colorful and fun, all you need is food color. Add a couple of drops of any food color of your choice to the torch paste and stir it well before applying it to the wood surface.
- Torch paste is essentially made of beeswax, resin and linseed oil, all these ingredients add a pungent smell to the end product, which is not at all pleasant to work with. To give your torch paste a unique and pleasant scent, you can add powdered spices like cinnamon, cardamom or essential oils and essences of your choice. Add a few drops of the fragrance to the mixture and combine it well.
- If you are not that experienced with making torch paste, it often happens when preparing it. The paste thickens due to various reasons. But, it is essential to get the right consistency to be used properly. In cases where the paste has thickened beyond the desired consistency, all you need to do is add the required amount of linseed oil until you get the right consistency.
- When using the torch paste for wood burning, it is crucial to make sure that you are using it on a clean wood surface. If you want to get the ideal results, prepare the wood before starting. Preparing the wood surface by sanding it will help the torch paste to adhere better.
- If you have some leftover torch paste or want to prepare a certain amount of it so that you won’t have to prepare it every time you work on a wood-burning project, store it in an airtight container made of glass and keep the container in a cool, dry as well as dark place which will last for quite some time.
- Maintaining proper safety precautions is very important in wood burning, especially when using a torch for burning the wood, as it involves open fire. Do not leave the wood-burning tool unattended; ensure to extinguish the flame once you are done burning the wood. Also, wear protective gear to protect yourself from the heat.
When doing wood burning with the help of a torch and torch paste, the user needs to maintain specific safety measures to prevent any accident or injury.
- Wood-burning torches are often used for adding depth and details to a wood-burning project. However, such torches produce high heat for the wood to burn. Hand torches with insulated handles should provide you with better control and protection. As this involves high heat, wearing protective gear like hand gloves made of a heat-resistant material is essential. You can also wear a defensive eye tear as a heating paste, or wooden particles can pop out and injure your eye.
- Torch paste is made of beeswax, resin and oil, all of which are explosive in nature, making torch paste highly flammable, which helps create different patterns and add depth to the project. Although, given the explosive nature of torch paste and the high heat produced by the torch, it is recommended to do the project in the outdoor area. Also, smoke can be generated when burning torch paste with a torch that harms the respiratory system. Wear a respiratory mask with organic filters to protect your respiratory system from the smoke. You can also keep an exhaust fan nearby.
- In addition to being flammable, torch paste is also very combustible in nature. Therefore, it is vital that you use the right amount of heat when using it for wood burning. Applying a high amount of heat can start a fire. One should know the right amount of heat used and how to handle it. Also, keep a bowl of water or a fire extinguisher on standby in case it is required.
- Keep the workspace organized. An organized workplace will allow you to work on your project without any hassle and will reduce the chances of accidents. Check for any other flammable items like plastic, paper, etc. and remove them from the workstation in case of any present.
How to Use the Torch Paste ?
Using torch paste for burning designs on wood surfaces is an excellent way of practicing wood burning, especially if you are someone who loves to use stencils to burn different patterns on wood.
The thick consistency of torch paste makes it ideal for vinyl or regular stencils, as it does not leak.
If you have little idea about how to use the torch paste for burning images, patterns or quotes on the wood surface, the following tips on how to use torch paste for wood burning will help you.
1. Preparing the Wood
One of the initial things you must do before applying the torch paste is to prepare the wood. Preparing the wood will give you a clean and smooth canvas to etch your designs. You can prepare the wood by sanding the rough wood surface with the help of 220-grit sandpaper. You can sand it by hand, or you can also use an orbital sander. Wipe the surface of the wood once you are done sanding it.
2. Warm up the Wood
Before you apply the stencil, it is essential to heat the wood surface so that the stencil can stick firmly to the surface of the wood. To warm up the top surface of the wood, you can use a heat gun or a hair dryer. Make sure that the surface does not get too heated. Using the heat gun or hair dryer for about a minute from a distance of one to two inches should be enough.
3. Use the Stencil
Once the surface is warm enough, apply the reusable or vinyl stencil on the wood. The warmth of the wooden surface will assist the adhesive of the stencil in warming up and help the stencil stick firmly to the surface of the wood. You can also use a squeegee to apply pressure on the stencil. This makes sure that there are no air bubbles for the paste to leak into.
4. Apply the Torch Paste
Once the stencil is firmly applied, you can start with the paste application. Torch paste can be bought from any art and craft store, or you can also make your own torch paste at home. Generally, you would need only a small amount of the product.
Taking an excess amounts will delay burning and give an uneven look to the finished product. Spread it on the wood surface evenly with the help of a small squeegee to ensure that it has pushed through all the openings. Set the stencil aside once you are done applying the paste, and allow it to dry for about two minutes.
5. Start Burning
After the torch paste has dried, you can start burning the design. To burn the design, it is recommended to use a heat gun which has at least a 1000 wattage. Keep burning until the paste becomes brown and the design can be seen properly on the surface.
Where to buy torch paste?
Torch paste is now readily available in various online stores. You can either buy it directly from Amazon or you can buy it from the official website torchpaste.com.
If you are going to use torch paste for your project then ought to buy a heat gun too, to burn the paste on the wooden surface. Seekone 1800W heat gun is one the best heat gun available in the market with over 22k, 5 star reviews on amazon. You can check the product yourself, I have mentioned the link below.
Therefore, now in case you run out of torch paste, you can still make your own. Torch paste is a fantastic wood-burning product, making it less messy. The process of making torch paste is relatively straightforward and requires simple ingredients that can be easily found in any hardware shop. You can follow the step given above to make your own torch paste.