Pyrography, or wood burning, is a great way to spend a rainy day afternoon. All you need is an idea, some wood, and a burning pen, and you are on your way to transforming something plain into something pretty.
If you've never tried wood burning before and are interested in knowing more about various tools and methods, check out my earlier blog post https://www.farmshedblog.com/post/burn-baby-burn where I cover more on those topics.
It all began during planting season. I keep my seed packs in a plain hexagon (six-sided) box. It's nothing fancy but it got me thinking that since I store my seeds in it, it would be cool if it looked the part. So, I started looking around for inspiration. I decided I wanted the inside to be filled with a sunflower bloom and each of the six sides to be garden themed. More specifically, vintage advertisements from old seed companies with simple garden drawings and clever tag lines.
To accomplish this, I measured and made notes of the sizes of the center section and one of the sides. I grabbed some drawing paper and drew a sunflower bloom according to the size proportion needed to fill the space. It didn't need to be a high-detail perfect rendition, just a simple outline, the rest would be filled in and mistakes corrected with the wood burner. It's just a basic drawing, focusing on proportion and scribbles where there will need to be shading.
Then I transferred it to the center of the box using carbon paper.
Different people do it in different ways. I found this method works best for me. Trying to draw on the inside of a box is very awkward as there isn't a lot of space for your hand. Also, if you need to erase or sand an area, it can be more noticeable when you add the sealant.
Creating the Sides
Once I decided on the titles and taglines of the seed companies (some I borrowed, some I imagined, and some were a combination of both), I pulled out my laptop and designed the wording. For wording, I like to use a computer. I have a program that has a ruler so I can adjust the sizing, and I can also put shapes inside of shapes. Plus, it has dozens of fonts to play with. It's just easier that way. Work smarter, not harder. I came up with five signs and by doing it this way, I could easily ensure that all five are uniform in shape and wording. The sixth side was a little different, still in the gardening theme, but not a seed company.
Next, I went back to the drawing paper and drew out some images to go with each side and transferred the images to each side of the box.
Ready to Burn
Now for the fun part. I plugged in my Burnmaster Eagle Pro and got to work. First, I went over the sunflower petals with shading in between. For the center, I created dots in a circular pattern in my attempt to give a slightly 3-dimensional effect. Going from light to dark circles as I moved toward the center.
I darkened heavily the upper rim and the space around the bloom. Along one of the edges, it looks like I missed some spots. That's actually gluing from where the box was assembled and I was unable to get it to burn.
Back to the Sides
The sides were easier to burn than the inside of the box because you have greater freedom of movement. Burning these was fairly straightforward, with no fancy tricks. Just like coloring with fire more or less. Then I applied the sealant. I use 100% pure Tung Oil and clear paste wax.
Just like that, I took a plain old box and gave it some style. Now, if I can just find where I stashed my seed packets in the meantime.
Here are a few other things I made recently.
Neither of these is my original artwork. The first is a vintage Farm Fresh Egg sign that I saw and thought it would be neat to re-create. I plan on hanging this in my back porch area, which people now refer to as a mud room.
The other is taken from the Netflix show Stranger Things. Its wood burned and the lights are painted. This will make a nice Fall time decoration.
I hope you enjoy these projects and maybe it will inspire you to create some of your own. Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.