Wood burning ideas and inspiration
You won’t be short of wood burning ideas once you check out these amazing pyrography projects.
There are so many different effects and textures you can create with pyrography. It’s perfect for experimenting with different designs and illustration styles.
It’s not just your subject matter that you can have fun with though – there are loads of wood burning ideas that you can put into practice on a range of objects. We’ve rounded up our favourite pyrography ideas, as well as some suggestions for different designs for you to try.
Remember – there are some wood types that aren’t suitable for pyrography so be careful when sourcing your materials. Never use any wood that has been treated or sealed and follow wood burning safety guidelines.
Wood burning ideas to try today
1. Decorate a chopping board
Best for beginners
One of the most popular wood burning ideas for beginners is to customise a plain wooden chopping board. It’s the perfect practice project, as the combination of a flat surface and solid piece of wood means you can really concentrate on your design.
Plain wooden chopping boards are relatively easy to source and, as they’re normally fairly heavy, you won’t have to worry about it slipping about while you make your design. Have a think about how you’ll use your chopping board – if it’s to be used as a display piece then you can cover the whole board with your design, but if you plan on cutting on it regularly you’d be better just adding an embellishment.
A popular design technique is to add a treasured family recipe onto a chopping board. This makes a lovely personal gift, and you can use templates or transfer paper to create neat fonts or replicate hand-written styles on your board.
2. Experiment with the natural qualities of wood
Cultivate your creativity
When you’re sourcing wood for your pyrography projects, it can be tempting to look for only the plainest pieces which will give you a blank canvas. But experimenting with imperfect pieces can inspire plenty of wood burning ideas.
Whorls and knots in the wood can act as a starting point for your designs, and even the grain or differences in colouration can add a unique effect to your piece. Simply grab a pencil and start drawing, you’ll be amazed at how those so-called imperfections can influence your creativity.
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3. Make multiple charms to master techniques
Best for gifting
Once you’ve started getting the hang of wood burning, try perfecting your pyrography by moving onto smaller pieces. They’ll require a steady hand and plenty of concentration, however being able to work precisely and safely is an essential skill.
Making a bunch of little charms is an ideal project for getting used to smaller materials. You’ll need to think about how to create simple designs that fit your material, as well as how to safely hold your wood and tools while working.
We suggest making multiple charms as you’ll naturally get better at using smaller materials. You can also use them as sweet keyrings or bag charms to give away as gifts! You could try natural designs like a single tree or flower, or get creative with patterns and shading.
4. Create beautiful blocks from offcuts
Great for kids play or adults decor
Here’s one of our favourite wood burning ideas. DIY projects often end up with various offcuts and scraps of wood leftover. You can easily turn these into fun and stylish building block houses with some simple pyrography.
Give your offcuts a good sanding first to make sure they’re smooth, especially if they’re going to be used as a kids toy – be sure to round off any sharp corners. Then have fun burning windows, doors, brickwork, tiles and anything else you would like to add to your houses.
P.S. Don’t have loads of offcuts lying around? DIY stores will often have an area where they’ll give away scrap pieces. You can also ask politely at your local timber merchant, they’ll probably be able to find you some bits you can use for very cheap, or maybe even for free.
5. Give your wooden spoons a bit of style
Best for cool kitchens
You can never have enough wooden spoons in a kitchen, and if they’re decorated with your wood burning designs then so much the better. Wooden cooking utensils are often very cheap and readily available. Plus the different shapes and slight curve of the spoon will help make it more of a creative challenge.
You could add custom wording or messages onto the handles, or just have fun making pretty patterns. As well as being a fun and simple project, it’s also good practice for working with different shapes, especially if your handles are rounded.
6. Add pyrography to clothes pegs
For when you will burn literally anything!
Think wooden spoon wood burning is a bit basic? Then get ready to have your mind blown by trying pyrography on clothes pegs. It’s a very small area to work on but this does make it a useful project for trying out different patterns and nibs on.
As well as making your washing line the most stylish one in the neighbourhood, you can also use them in the home too. Glue magnets to one of the peg legs and use them to display pictures on your fridge, or use them as stylish kitchen clips to keep that open bag of crisps fresh.
7. Wood burn a keepsake box
Best for a personalised present
You’ve had plenty of practice and now it’s time to get started on your first big wood burning project. Plain blank wooden boxes are easy to get hold of online and make great surfaces for pyrography. You can choose to decorate the whole box in a single cohesive design, or add individual elements to specific panels. They also make a lovely gift box that you can personalise to your recipient.
8. Tick tock, pyrography clock
Time to show off your skills
For a pyrography project that really takes things to the next level and will become a stand-out feature in your home, try making your own wood burned clock! It’s easy to add a simple clock mechanism to a piece of wood. All you need to do is drill a suitable hole and ensure the wood that will be your clock face isn’t too thick.
You can keep things traditional by making a clock face with numbers or Roman numerals, but you can get as creative as you like with your designs. You don’t even need to use numbers, just some dots or shapes can be enough to make your clock face legible.
9. Burning buttons
Get crafty with your clothing
If you’re just as skilled with a sewing machine as you are with a pyrography iron, then why not combine the two crafts and make your own wood burnt buttons. You can either buy blank wooden discs that are an appropriate size or you can make your own by sawing slices off a thick piece of wooden dowel (don’t forget to drill your holes too).
Then you can decorate your buttons with a range of patterns and designs. Solid point wood burning tools often include some interesting shaped nibs that are great for creating hot stamp effects.
For those of you who don’t make your own clothes and accessories, you can always use your hand-made buttons to embellish a bag or an old coat.
10. Make your own wooden jewellery
Best for simple style
Bracelets, brooches, earrings and necklaces – all of these and more can be made from small pieces of pyrography. You’ll want to keep your designs and wooden pieces small (unless you like big chunky jewellery of course), and this smaller scale works best with simple patterns rather than intricate images.
As they’re going to be worn next to the skin it’s important to sand and finish your pieces well. You can get really professional results by choosing different stains or sealants to protect your jewellery.
11. Make a beautiful birdhouse
Best for nature lovers
Give our feathered friends a helping hand by making them a beautifully decorated bird box. It’s relatively easy to make a bird box out of scrap wood as long as you select and prepare your wood carefully. Then you can then adorn it with beautiful wood burnt designs (make sure to look for untreated bird boxes if buying pre-made boxes).
A sweet little bird design is the logical choice for your bird box, or trailing ivy or leaf designs would help it blend in with the natural surroundings.
12. Decorate your wooden furniture
Best for epic pyro-crafters
We’re going to end this roundup of wood burning ideas by showing you something to really inspire you. As long as you choose and prepare your wooden surfaces properly, there’s no limits to your wood burning capabilities. For proof of this, just look at the work of artist Cecilia Galluccio who decorates entire coffee tables and chairs with pyrography – wow!
Need some drawing ideas?
Not sure where to start with your designs and need something to get your creative juices flowing? Then check out our 25 easy drawings for when you’re feeling uninspired. Perfect for a creative pick-me-up.
Putting your wood burning ideas into practice
Now that we’ve given you plenty of inspiration, it’s time to take those ideas and make them your own. Try to pick designs and ideas that suit your own style and skills, and if in doubt there’s no harm in playing with simple patterns.
It’s always worth drawing at least a basic outline of your design before getting started. It will help you ensure you burn your design to the right scale and don’t run out of space. Fonts and lettering can be tricky to get right, so it’s definitely worth using a template or charcoal paper to transfer text designs.
Learn about wood burning tools
Now that you’ve got plenty of pyrography ideas, check out our pick of the best wood burning tools and get creative with Gathered.
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.
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