The Art of Pyrography

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Pyrography is the art of decorating wood with burn marks using a heated pen. This is something my students really enjoy. (Though I have to always be vigilant as they can try to set paper on fire with these pens). Most recently, we used the technique to decorate the school Christmas tree and personalise picture frames.

Mindfulness & Mandalas

The pyro technique is simple and easy, yet it requires patience and focus. I chose a mandala for my design. A mandala is a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, symbolizing the universe. It starts from a centre point and builds out and out in the shape of a circle. Mandalas are extremely therapeutic and are used to aid meditation.

The wood I used was from a tree in the garden. A friend used a lathe and turned it into a bowl. But you could use a chopped-up branch or buy wood from a local craft shop.

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What you’ll need:
• A pyro pen
• A piece of wood
• Sand paper
• Pliers
• A fan to blow the smoke away from your face.

A woodburning pen is a very simple tool. It’s a pen-like device with a metal end through which heat is transferred to a removable tip. You buy the pen as part of a kit, which would include several different pen tips to choose from. The pen also comes with a metal safety stand so it’s never just sitting on a table.

How:

1. Prep the wood (laminated wood and MDF are not good to use as they can have chemicals and toxic fumes).
2. You can either trace your design onto the wood first or free hand your design.
3. Preheat your pen and then, when it’s hot enough, draw on your design. Go slow and steady.
4. The longer you keep the pen in contact with the wood, the darker and more expansive the mark.
5. Voila! It’s that simple.

Very important tip: If you want to change the nib, let it cool down first and use pliers.

If you don’t feel confident to free hand, you can use templates for designs.

Here are some more creative ways of drawing mandalas:

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