art on wood

pyrography blog


Burn A Mushroom

For this lesson we will be using my mushroom pattern shown below, of course you can draw your own, it will help you with the shades and textures you have learned so far. Save the image to your desktop then print it off. You can either draw it onto your wood with a pencil, take care not to draw too hard so that you can’t erase the lines or dent the wood. Or trace it down using tracing paper or carbon free transfer paper. I use this method as you can reuse this paper time and time again. Don’t think of tracing as cheating! It is a very good way of planning your composition. Also if you wish to transfer the same pattern to similar items it is an effective way of doing so.

Secure your pattern and tracing paper to the wood with masking tape. I don’t advise using sellotape as it is too sticky and may lift small bits of wood and leave a sticky deposit. Next trace around the outline of the mushroom with a hard sharp pencil. Check underneath by lifting a small section. Your line should be nice and faint, not too heavy – don’t press too hard!


Set your machine to quite a low setting and burn over your traced lines to give you an outline. I tend to erase any remaining pencil lines at this point, as sometimes the carbon from a pencil or tracing can become fixed with the heat of your pen. If you want to leave them for extra guidlines until the end then do!

1) Firstly, we will burn the cap. You can see by the illustration that the right side is the darkest. Firstly, shade in the right and left sides gradually getting lighter towards the middle. Try to think where the light source is coming from and leave a spot of unburnt wood. ( the lightest part )

2) Turn your machine up higher and fill in the right side with dots. (see pic.2) Press your nib into the wood. This gives a relief effect to your mushroom’s cap.

3) Next fill in the underneath of the cap, with stright lines or as straight as you can get them! Make your lines radiate out from the stem. Darker in the center, getting thinner and lighter towards the edge.

mushroom4) Shade in the stem, notice on the illustration that I have only shaded the right side to give a three dimensional effect. With practice you will be able to shade in light to dark tones. Remember, that you can always practice on a spare piece of wood to check your heat settings and tones.

5) Draw in your leaves and grass around the mushroom base. Try to use the ‘flick stroke’ as described on the textures page.

That’s it! You’ve now completed your first pyrograph. You will now have started to discover texture and tonal shading. Perfecting these techniques will aid you in producing pyrographs that show an interesting range of light and dark tones, texture and lines.

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