Thin to Thick Outlines for Pyrography

Pyrograhy Doodles #2

The traced pattern lines of your pyrography pattern can be approached in several ways.  Let’s look at a few ideas before we begin the next step of the Mushroom Pyrography Doodle Project by Lora S. Irish.

If you are just joining this free online pyrography project please slip over to our craft, carving, and pyrography patterns website, Art Designs Studio, to get your free patterns for this project. Its the Spring 2014 package in the right hand navigation widgets. The download link is on our home page.

Pyrograhy Doodles Page 1
Pyrograhy Doodles Page 2
Pyrograhy Doodles Page 3
Pyrograhy Doodles Page 4
Pyrograhy Doodles Page 5
Pyrograhy Doodles Page 6
Pyrograhy Doodles Page 7

Defining the Boundary Lines of Your Pattern

Greenman Wood Burning by Lora IrishA simple outline burning along the tracing lines will define the pattern for you, but it can give your finished project a stiff, rigid look.  In the Green Man burning, right, all of the tracing lines were burned at a hot temperature, using an even, thin line.  This pyrography was worked to create a wood cut effect.  The entire burning was worked at one temperature setting, limiting the tonal values to just two tones – the white of the wood and the black of the burned line.




Shaded Mushroom Pyrography Project by Lora IrishThe traced lines of your pattern are just guide lines and do not need any burning.  You can define an area, without outlining it, by bringing your shading up to the line.  In this mushroom sample the shading touches the pattern line.  Where the shading stops defines the boundary of that area.  The few outline strokes in the finished work are accent lines only.

For our Mushroom Pyrography Doodle project we are using a full outline for all of the pattern lines.  This will create a boundary line around each of our doodle fill patterns.  To make that outline more interesting the line is worked in a thin to thick to thin width, changing the weight of the line as it moves through the pattern.

Both the Green Man and Mushroom Wood Spirit projects and patterns are available in Lora S. Irish’s e-book, Styles of Pyrography – 190 pages, 15 projects in PDF format, Ready for Download.

Temperature Setting and Pen Tips

Each variable temperature wood burning unit has its own settings for the different temperatures used to create your tonal values.  Create a sepia scale tonal value chart, using your burning unit and your pen tips, to establish the exact settings your unit used.  To learn more about tonal values please go to Wood Burning Sepia Values.

sepia scale for wood burningFor the outline burn that we will be working I have set my temperature setting to a high or hot setting.  I want a setting hot enough to burn a rich, dark brown line but not so hot that the pen tip scorches the wood outside the line.  If your pen tip is creating a light brown halo outside of the line, in the background area against the line, your burning unit is set to high.


ball tip wood burning penPen Tips for Fine Line Burning

I have two favorite tips that I use for my line work.  One is a medium-sized ball tip pen and the second is a medium-sized loop tip pen.  Both work excellently at any temperature setting.

loop tip wood burning pen

Keep your pen tip clean of any carbon build-up as you work.  A clean, bright tip burns a thinner, more even line.  Use a leather or synthetic strop and honing compound to clean your tips.

Mushroom Doodles Pyrography ProjectStep 2: Burn the outlines of the pattern tracing.

Using your finest line burning tip, set your temperature setting to a hot setting.

Burn along all of the pattern lines to set your design.  You want a dark, even line.

Work a second burning over the pattern lines to create a thick to thin effect in your outlines.  This adds strength to the outline, giving the line extra emphasis in the finished work, as well as interest in the changing dimensions of the line.  A close-up of the thick to thin outline is shown in the header image in this post.

Using the fine nail sanding board, lightly sand over your board to remove any rough areas caused by the hot temperature burn.  Wipe the board with a clean cloth to remove any dust.

Tomorrow we will start to fill this mushroom pyrography doodle pattern with fun and easy to create doodle designs.  Please slip over to our craft, carving, and pyrography patterns website, Art Designs Studio, to get your free patterns for this project.  The download link is on our home page.