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Woodburning For Beginners

Wood, one of the world's most used materials. It's no wonder us crafters have found a way to put our creative stamp onto it. Here is your How To Guide for woodburning to get your started. Follow these steps and you will be ready to take control of a smoking hot pen, adding your creative mark to every plank in sight.


There are amazing machines which engrave wood in seconds, adding names onto cutting boards and pictures onto wooden gift boxes. They tend to use lasers and are fantastic, but don't be put off from trying this by hand. The below guide is for the wood burning hand tools, and with practice you can make lovely gifts for friends and family.

Woodburning for beginners


Woodburning tool & stand

Changeable tips / letters


Wood of your choice

Pencil & rubber

Heat resistant mat (optional)

Stencil/ tracing paper (optional)

Masking tape (optional for alphabet letters)


Woodburning can be done on any wood. You can even lolly pop sticks for your projects. It is, however, worth considering the various effects that they will give you. All wood will give you a different look. It is a good idea to test a cut off of your wood, before starting your lovely project.

The deeper the grains of your wood, the longer it will take to burn through. Grains in the wood might also make your surface uneven, making it harder to burn straight lines into the wood. The lighter your wood, the more your design will show.


As a crafter, I know that we can be impatient to get started and ignore some basic common sense. These are some things which have been useful in my experience.

You will have all good intentions of keeping your hand on the safe plastic area of your burning pen, however as you concentrate on your design, you are likely to slide down. The wood burning tools let off a lot of heat and it will hurt if you touch any of the metal on the front of the tool. For this reason, I suggest getting heat resistant gloves. This will allow you to hold the pen comfortably, without risk.

Between using the pen, rest it on a metal stand. This stand should be securely placed on a flame-proof surface (burning your kitchen table wasn't part of the project).

You will end up with a beautiful burnt wood smell from your project and a small amount of smoke, so make sure you setup in a well ventilated area.

For small projects, make sure the wood is secure before attacking it with your wood burning pen. For the record; holding a twig with your hand, does not count as secure. Oh, and do make sure you read the manufacturers information which comes with the tool.


Use a pencil to sketch out your design before heating up the burning pen. You can use stencils or tracing paper to get the perfect design. You can rub out any pencil marks that you don't need to follow, so don't worry about correcting things to make it perfect, before you start.


Most woodburning pens allow for different tips to be attached. Each pen tip will give you a different style and texture.

When changing tips, be sure that the burning pen is turned off and cooled down. They get boiling hot and would burn your skin if touched. Rather than having to wait half an hour between using each tip, you can carefully use pliers to safely change them. Once attached, turn your burning pen back on and wait for it to heat up again.

Different brands and models have different fittings, so before ordering new accessories, make sure it will fit your wood burning pen.


You can get pen tips with alphabet letters; this will make sign making easier.

If you are using the alphabet letters, use this masking tape tip:

Cut masking tape to the size of your letter tips. Place these strips of masking tape onto your wood, marking out where you want your letters. Write the relevant letters on top of the masking tape. This is handy for two reasons;

  1. You can easily move letters around, re-positioning them without rubbing the pencil out. You will then have perfect spacing between your letters.

  2. You can burn letters which repeat themselves in one go. For example, if you were burning the quote 'Home Sweet Home', you could burn the letter 'e' 4 times, without having to change the tip. The longer the quote, the more time saved.


  • Gift boxes

  • Keyrings

  • Wooden necklace pendant

  • Wooden bracelet charms

  • Wedding direction signs

  • Table numbers

  • handmade clock face

  • Garden decoration

  • Wooden phone case

  • Cutting board

  • Wooden coasters

  • Garden bench decoration

  • Message on wooden spoon

  • Personalised wooden picture frame

  • Wooden puzzle

  • Disguise scratches in wood i.e. coffee tables

  • Jazz up your bedside tables

  • Labels for storage boxes

  • Upcycle an old wooden chair

  • Front door 'number sign'


This is a nice relaxing project for a crafternoon. Enjoy the deep burnt wood smell - I do love that smell!

Gem x

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