How to dry brush paint a relief wood carving

Mule Deer Relief Carving Free Project by Lora Irish

 Versa-Tool Wood Burning –

wood burning your wood carvingsIt’s very easy to clean the carving strokes and add fine detailing by using a wood burning tool.  If you are just beginning in the hobby of pyrography or if you will be using your wood burning tool specifically for detailing your wood carving, I strongly recommend the Versa-Tool by  This inexpensive burner has a rheostat on the cord which gives you control over the tip temperature.  It comes with a variety of interchangeable brass tips, and it lasts for decades.

Pyrography Safety

Wood burning tools get extremely hot – hot enough to scorch your working surface or to burn any item they touch, as your pattern paper or wood chips.

Take time to first clean your work area of all unnecessary items, especially any wood chips and wood dust. Remove the pattern paper from your work space.

The Versa-Tool comes with an excellent tool tip stand that supports the tip well above your table. Make sure that it is set level and secure.

Do not leave the Versa-Tool unattended. It has an easy to use thermostat that will completely turn off the power if you must be away from the work space.

Make it a habit to unplug any wood burning tool when it is not in immediate use.

Do not handle the tool tip – finger burn as quickly as wood. Keep your hand below the grip guard, using a pencil grip hand position.

Grab a scrap piece of wood of the same species you are carving to do a test burning before you work your project. You can test which heat setting will give you the best burned lines as well as experiment with different texture strokes that add interest to your work.

Do not go directly to the hottest setting. High heat burns can leave a carbon build-up on your wood. Medium temperature burns often make finer, cleaner lines.

Wood Burning the Cut Lines in a Wood Carving – Mule Deer Relief Wood Carving Project

Wood burning the stop cuts of a wood carving relief1 Run the universal tip along the v-gouge and stop cut lines in your design. This tip will leave one fine line down the center of these cuts while burning away any stray wood fiber.





Wood burning the stop cuts of a wood carving relief2 Following the curvature of each body area in the mule deer, pack the deer’s body with fine, short lines to create a fur effect.





 Detailing a wood carving with a pyrography burner3 The ball tip makes a thick, wide line of burn. Set your thermostat to a medium-hot setting and fill the background with a random scribble or doodle-like stroke.





Adding animal fur with a wood burner to a relief wood carving4 On a hot setting and with the universal tip, burn deep lines across the cord to create the look of twined, individual threads.





Adding animal fur with a wood burner to a relief wood carving5 To add the individual feather lines, use the universal tip on a medium-hot setting. These lines can be worked in two stages – first from the center shaft towards the edge of the feather, then from the feather edge back to meet the first line.




 Adding feather details with a wood burner to a relief wood carving6 When you have completed the wood burning clean-up and detailing, use a stiff dusting brush to remove any carbon, dust, and left-over wood chips.




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