Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuestorial - Woodburning Remix

I'm addicted to Etsy...I admit it and I'm actually very much proud of it!
Not only is a great little outlet for my art - it's also how I keep up on crafting trends. Lately, it's hard to miss the amount of woodburning (also known as pyrography) crafts on Etsy. I too have fallen "victim" to this trend myself and have used this technique more than once to create memorable wedding gifts.
Here are a couple of examples of work I've done (photo credit to my friend Astra)

Another trend I've seen in fashion lately is tribal designs on shirts, in jewelry and even in shoes! So...today, as a treat...I thought I'd show you how I remixed these two trends and created the most adorable on-trend chalkboard.

STEP ONE: Gather Materials
* Chalkboard from hobby store (usually around $3 for an unfinished wooden chalkboard)
* Woodburning tool like this one - I got mine for $13 from The Hobby Store on Geary in SF. The more $$$ you spend, the better the tool, the more tips you'll get and also the better control you'll have over temperature and so on...(as to be expected)
* Pencil for planning
* Some acrylic paint - I like to use the cheapo under-a-dollar variety - shh...don't tell anyone ;-) it's just that this type really has great color and goes a long way!

also recommended: Set yourself up in a well ventilated area. You are burning wood, creating smoke...outside is ideal for this kind of work...although admittedly, I do this on the kitchen counter so that I'm near a window and also not near any flammable objects.

STEP TWO: Practice & Plan!
Okay, so this isn't much of a real step...but if this is your first burning project, be sure to test out your tool on a spare piece of wood (or the back of your chalkboard) before you get started on the real deal.
Also, I use a pencil before I get started to draw out my design first and then practice burning on the back of my artwork...this will let you get an idea of what your tool can do, and you'll be able to see if your tool is hot enough... (wait around 10 minutes before using for best results).

STEP THREE: Burn, Baby, Burn!
The slower you take to draw on your wood, the darker your line will be...also it's harder to control the straightness of your line if you are squeamish. I find that it's best to make a quick straight line with the tool and then go back over your line for best results. In this project, I wasn't too worried about the straightness of mine line since I knew I'd be going to back over it with paint... this is something you need to think about when you're in STEP TWO.

For my project, I played with the timing and the types of strokes I made with my tool...the "shading" was done quickly and the darker lines were done taking my time and allowing the tool to really burn a dark line into the wood.

Another thing you'll notice is that different parts of the wood will react to the tool differently. This is part of the beauty within woodburning, but it can take some getting used to. Don't expect your design to come out perfectly.

STEP FOUR! Paint, Paint, Paint!
This was my favorite part...probably because I'm a painter/illustrator. I was able to really pull out the beauty in my design and also straighten out some of my mistakes. Also...I liked being able to add some color. Most of the wood burned items on Etsy are lacking that brightness that I love so much.

After this step, I'd protect the frame of your chalkboard with some varnish. Since this is a functional piece, you'll want it to also be durable for daily use.
Anyone else remixed Woodburning?!

I also found this online...which made me giggle and was a great inspiration for more future woodburning crafts. She's a little all over the place, but I thought it was still pretty useful.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!

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