It has been a couple years since I first began dabbling with my little wood burning set. You may remember the recipe book for my son and various Christmas gifts from this story, Having fun with the Wood Burner, back in 2015. An idea for a larger project was sparked back then and began simmering slowly on the back burner. There it sat, as many a good project must sit, to be mulled over and await their turn. I gathered botanical pictures, images of woodland critters, sketched insects, poured through pyrography websites, mused on overall style, and created a Pinterest Board to house all the bits and pieces.

I took a leap of faith and purchased three fine, wooden cradled panels for my project; a 12 X 24 and two 18 X 24, all 1.5" deep, birch panels from American Easel. These boards are smooth, well crafted, and a dream to work with. I chugged along, using only my little wood burning set for this project. I am researching a better tool for my next go at wood burning. I keep hoping I'll get lucky and find one on Craig's List or somewhere, but haven't yet. If anyone has experience with a good pyrography tool and has suggestions, I'd love to hear all about it!

After much sketching and sizing and fussing, I finally completed my drawing and was ready to transfer my design onto the wood. I used carbon paper, which was okay, but not the best choice. Carbon paper has a waxiness to it that doesn't burn cleanly away. I was left with some "trace" lines, but I'm okay with that. They look like shading or veins, and don't detract from the final piece. Next time I'll try the suggested graphite transfer paper.

The time had come to actually begin burning the wood! I decided to start with a piece of scrap wood and do one practice panel before I dove into the birch panels. I set up my tiny exhaust fan, and got to it. By the time I finished the scrap piece, I was ready and felt confident enough to begin burning the panels.

Wood burning takes time and patience, especially with an entry-level tool like mine. At times I felt as if  I were watching the grass grow, trying to get the darker lines I desired. This was one of those projects to be worked on, then set aside for weeks or months at a time before taking the pen up again.

                                                                   Work in progress.

When the faces of all three panels were complete, there were the sides to deal with. Should I leave them plain? That seemed a waste of good art space and rather incomplete. Perhaps I should completely blacken them? Not quite the overall look I was going for. I sketched out some rather Nordic looking patterns to put on the edges. It would have been too busy. I settled on wrapping the pictorial around the edges as best I could. This proved to be just the effect I was hoping for.

The final touch was highlighting a few areas on each panel with a white acrylic paint pen; the spots on the mushrooms, wings of the butterfly, and the buds of the Queens Anne's Lace. Invisible from a distance, yet up close it offers that tiny pop and dimension I wanted.

My triptych now hangs in our new home, a reminder that good planning, research, extra time and patience pay off.


  1. Wonderful! Shared this with my husband to inspire him. Thank you for posting; it was nice to open up the morning with something beautiful. Happy 2018 in your new home. Elsie

    1. Good morning, Elsie~ Thank you. Your husband might enjoy looking at the website linked for the carbon paper. It has a wealth of information. Happy New Year to you also.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Rosemary. I'm glad you like it.

  3. Really lovely - the complexity, seeing something new with each look, and the simplicity of the color palette are particularly striking. Thank you for sharing your work.


  4. This truly beautiful, so much detail that one could look at it for a long time and still see new things.