Beginners Guide to Wood burning | Choosing right kit, wood, design and Lot More

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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.

Do you know there is an art called wood burning? Have you ever heard of it? Well, this article will take you on a journey to another world and let you explore the less-talked about art. 

Wood burning is a unique art where the artists use a heating device similar to a pen. The pen, when heated and applied on wooden surfaces, leaves marks. Artists use these marks to draw their imagined objects.

How is wood burning different from pyrography?

Pyrography means to work or write with fire. It can be done on any surface, including wood. In contrast, wood burning requires the surface to be made from wood. 

Things you need to begin

With this new art coming to light, people are unaware of the things one must look for before choosing this as their new hobby. In this article, I will cover everything one must need to know to practice wood burning. 

1. Wood Burning Kit

Let’s start with the tools. Wood burning tools look like simple iron soldering. Once the pen’s tip is heated, the artist can craft any design or shape. There are different types of kits available in the market:

  • Craft style or beginners kit– This kit comes in handy for beginners who know the basics of wood burning. The kit comes with a single pen that has a snap-in tip system. Some kits have a heat shield to protect your hand from the heat.
  • Wire nib or professional kit– This kit is used by professionals who have mastered the art of wood burning. The pen handles are much smaller, making them easier to hold. It also cools down quickly, in about two to three minutes. Moreover, the kit is equipped with temperature control, making it easy to draw accurately.

How is a solid point burner different from a wire nib burner?

Well, the answer is easy. If you are a beginner, you must go with the solid burner as it is cheap and allows you to get a hold of wood burning art at a low cost. But if you want to excel in this field, you should use a wire nib burner. Apart from the prices, a solid burner takes a long time to heat, while a nib burner heats up quickly.

Which Kit to buy ?

Well, the answer is easy. If you are a beginner, you must go with the solid burner as it is cheap and allows you to get a hold of wood burning art at a low cost. But if you want to excel in this field, you should use a wire nib burner. Apart from the prices, a solid burner takes a long time to heat, while a nib burner heats up quickly.

I have handpicked the best two kits from Amazon. 

TRUArt store provides you with the best wood burning kit

This kit contains:

  • 1 Pyrography pen with Dual power settings of 15W and 30W.
  • 35 tips include wood burning, jewelry soldering, hot knife, stamping, pickling etc.
  • 1 pyrography pen holder.
  • 1 steel stencil with capital letters, numbers, and basic shapes. 
  • 1 plastic casing.
  • 1 complete User Manual.

In the runner-up, I have the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool with variable temperature control for wood burning and 11 different tips (universal, tapered, flow, calligraphy, shading, stamping, mini flow, cone, mini universal, hot knife and soldering point). 

How to hold the wood burning pen?

Wood burning is a fascinating hobby if you can master it. It requires a lot of patience and sincerity. The first thing one must learn is to hold the pen properly. The best way to hold the wood burning pen is with gentle care, as the pen will get hot quite fast. Therefore, one must attach the top before turning on the machine. Always attach or detach the tips with the pliers available in the kit. 

Give two to three minutes to your pen to get hot. After it is heated, let your pen rest in the pen holding device to avoid any accidental burning. You can use a clay pot to minimize the risk as well.


We now know about wood burning art and the tools it needs. Let us move forward to the wood part. Like the name says, wood burning requires wood. However, the kind of wood which can be best would differ from person to person according to their preferences. 

There are different types of wood available in the market. Each type has its specialty and difference from their price to difficulty. So, what’s the best wood one can go for? 

  1. Brasswood: Brasswood[1] has a light-brown color and soft texture, making it the best option for wood burning. With its soft property, it becomes easy to hand carve any picture or calligraphy, and can be used in musical instruments, boxes etc. Another feature of brass wood that makes it a perfect choice is that it produces both dark and light burns and boasts a fine grain, making it easy to burn. 
  2. Willow: Willow is another type of wood used for wood burning. It has very fine grain, which makes it a bright canvas. However, this kind of wood is difficult to find, and that’s why it is costlier than other woods. 
  3. Maple: Maple wood is hardwood, so you must hear it to get the outcome. But with its little and light grain, it becomes another preferable wood for artists. Maple wood costs more than brass wood and gets slightly dark when you apply a seal. But it doesn’t cause many problems. 
  4. Poplar: Poplar wood is another option one can go for. It is easy to burn and is available in many stores. Most beginners go for this kind of wood rather than pine because it gives soft grain, which is excellent for designing finer details. 
  5. Aspen: The Aspen wood is also light and softwood, but it leaves some color variations. It will depend on you how you use the variations in your design. 
  6. Birch: It is the most commonly used wood for any plywood product. It is often used to make furniture as the grain is smooth and light in color. It is easily found, grown, and harvested, making it a good choice for wood burning. However, plywood needs to be treated safely as any chemicals in the plywood can harm you; therefore, consider wearing protective gear. 
  7. Pine: The most common and easily found wood is pine, which is also why it is cheaper than other woods. It can be a great choice for beginners as it is low on cost, but due to its inconsistent grain patterns, it becomes pretty challenging. 
  8. Cherry: The cherry wood is hard but is available in most stores. It is dark in color and provides a beautiful look. The grain is smooth and provides a consistent burn, thus making it a popular choice among artists. However, the wood is not uniform and is not ideal for lighter or more detailed designs. 
  9. Walnut: The walnut wood is hard but has a smooth wood grain in dark color. 
  10. Ash: The last is the ash wood, which has a light color but makes a rough grain which is difficult to burn.

Safety Gears

As burning wood can release toxic fumes, you will need some protective gear which includes respiratory masks with filters. You should also be aware that the room has enough ventilation[2] for the fumes to pass out.

Here are some safety tips you to follow

  • Your Pyrography pen must be away from flammable objects.
  • Always turn off the pen and then attend to your other work. Do not leave the pen on.
  • The equipment for wood burning must be kept away from pets and children.
  • Use a fan while wood is burning if the smoke is intolerable.
  • Avoid touching the hot tips even when removing them or to see if it’s heated.

Wood burning ideas

Beginners, you might be confused about where to start. Therefore, I have provided you with some basic ideas from where you can begin your journey of wood burning. 

  1. Letter block art 
  2. Wood burned coasters
  3. Wood burned trivets
  4. Serving tray
  5. Wood burned cutting board
  6. Cooking tools
  7. Picture frame
  8. Keychains
  9. Greeting Card
  10. Tissue holder 

These are some simple and basic wood burning art ideas you can begin with. There are several other ideas which you can opt for and use your creativity to master the art.

5 Basic wood burning techniques to learn

  • Basic outlining: Different projects need different outlining techniques. Outlining is the basic technique in wood burning.
  •  Silhouette Filling: This technique is useful for beginners as it involves filling your design instead of just shading.[3]
  • Hatching: It is another method of shading. It can be used for shading in small areas and different designs.[4]
  • Adding Color: Once you have mastered shading, you can use other methods and fill it with colors. Watercolors are easy to work with as they blend easily. 
  • Scumbling: It is a fun technique used by many wood burning artists. It is the same as doodling, where you make small circles for shapes.

Step-by-step process to make your first design

Step 1: Prepare your wood 

Prepare your wood by rubbing the surface with 220 grit sandpaper. Rinse the wood surface with water and let it dry. This will create a smooth surface for burning. 

Step 2: Transfer your design to wood

Print out or draw several drawings you want to curve in the wood. Trace down the pattern onto the wood with a pencil or pen. 

Step 3: Burning

Burn the traced lines with the pen tip. Trace the lines in such a way that it erases pencil marks. Later use an eraser to erase the lines further. 

Step 4: Experiment

Always try experimenting with different patterns, designs, and crafts to learn different color combinations. 

Step 5: Color pencil

You can try out different color pencils to enhance your design and make it more vibrant. To spread the color evenly, you can also use a blending stump. 

Step 6: Paint

After you have learned about color combinations, you can try watercolors to make them more eye-catching. 

Step 7: Last touch

You can give a final touch by applying a glossy spray to make your art last long.


Now that you have learned about wood burning art, you are probably excited to start it soon. Wood burning is a fine art gaining popularity all over the globe. Make sure you are well equipped with all the safety products before starting. So, are you ready to try it? 


  1. Pyrography Made Easy. (2023, March 21). Wood Burning –  BASSWOOD characteristics and where to buy (burning on basswood) [Video]. YouTube.

  2. Arkom Limited ( (n.d.). Pyrography Safety precautions – Craft supplies. Craft Supplies.,burning%20plastic%20or%20synthetic%20materials.

  3. Design Bundles. (2020, October 5). 🔥Wood Burning for Beginners with Silhouette or Cricut [Video]. YouTube.

  4. BURNT by Holly Pyrography. (2022b, March 2). Top Wood Burning Techniques // Using Drawing Techniques with a Wood Burning Pen [Video]. YouTube.

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