Lettering Textures Part 2 Pyrography Tutorial wood burning techniques

In this tutorial I’m going to explain pyrography shading techniques to create five different textures using the same font style.   This tutorial is not about creating font styles, but I will touch briefly on how to get them.  Instead the main focus of this tutorial will be the different options to color in the letters with something besides a standard uniform dark color.  This is the second installment in my lettering textures series.   

Watch the YouTube video version of this tutorial by clicking on the icon to the left.





Now, let’s get to work.



  • Writing tip
  • Shading tip
  • Large Ball tip (can use a writer)
  • Straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Lacy stencil or paper doily

Note that I’m burning on Montval 140lb (300g) cold pressed watercolor paper by Canson.  Why I even have this paper I have no idea as I hate painting.  Heck, I don’t even know how long I’ve had this paper on hand, but at least I finally have a use for it.

Since the paper is cold pressed it has a lot of texture.  I burnished the paper by rubbing a large wooden block firm over it to remove some of the texture, but I couldn’t remove all of it.  Some of the textures I burned onto the paper aren’t as smooth as they could be due to the paper texture.



There are 4 easy ways to get different lettering font styles.

  • I have a number of alphabet stencils on hand.  In fact, I used a 1” Roman font stencil for the lettering in this tutorial.
  • There are numerous different stamp sets available.
  • Word processing and/or card making programs. The great thing with this option is that you can set the size of the paper to match the size of the wooden board and then adjust the font size accordingly.
  • Online font generators. Just search for ‘Font Generator’ and numerous online sites will pull up.  You type in your message and it gives you a font that can be printed.  Or copy/pasted the font into a word processing to adjust the size.  If there is a particular type of font you are after then search for that font.  For example:  Calligraphy Font Generator, Gothic Font Generator, Tattoo Font Generator, etc.



For this tutorial I used a stencil with Roman font.






Our first texture will be a ribbed texture.




If you are using a stencil, then close the gaps of the stencil by drawing lines with a pencils.  This gives you guidelines to follow with the burning.  Plus it’s easier to make changes in pencil form.




Use a writer pen tip and burn around the edges of the letters.






Next, rub a pencil eraser over the letters to remove any residual graphite.





Use a straightedge to draw horizontal lines over the letters.  I did not measure out the distance between the lines, so mine are not perfectly spaced apart from each other.




Here’s how the letters looked once I was done drawing horizontal lines over them. 




Switch to a shader pen tip and burn a dark line along the top of the letter. 






Then burn short pull-away strokes along the line.  Start the stroke on the line and pull it down towards the next pencil line.  Stop near the halfway mark.






Use the shader to burn along the pencil line.






Then burn short pull-away strokes along the line.   Again start the stroke on the line and pull it down towards the next line.  Once again stop the stroke about halfway between the two lines.






You will get smoother results by re-burning the pull-away strokes. 






Work your way down the letter burning in each pencil line and then burning pull-away strokes along the line.






Again, the pull-away strokes need to start on the line and get pulled down towards the next line.  Stop the stroke near the halfway mark.





Finishing up.






Now rotate the board, or paper in my case, and repeat the process on this side. 





By burning pull-away strokes that stop at the halfway mark, you will end up with burn strokes that start dark and fade way. 





The combination of dark edges and pale centers creates the illusion of a rounded rib.









Our next letter was created using a lacy stencil.




The stencil I used was a piece of lace border or edging that is made out of rubber or vinyl.  Where or when I bought this I have no idea.  I buy all sorts of “texture” items to add background texture when I’m airbrushing.  The bottom backside has a stripe of tape and the protective covering is still on it.



There are lots of other options like using paper doilies.  They are inexpensive and come in an assortment of designs. 








Another option is to use a store bought stencil.  It’s rather amazing the number of intricate mandala styled stencils that are available.








First off, fill in any gap lines and then use a writer pen tip to burn around the edges of the letter.  Make sure to rub over the letters with an eraser to remove any residual graphite.





Then place the stencil of your choice on the letter and trace in the pattern.







You can alter where to place the stencil, how much of the letter to cover up, and what part of the stencil design to use.





Depending on the stencil, you might need to touch up the trace lines.  Since mine was made out of rubber or vinyl, a couple of the smaller openings didn’t get cut out.





Use a writer pen tip to burn in the design.  For some reason I didn’t manage to click on the record button on my camera, so I didn’t get any video footage of this being done.  Regardless I’m sure you get the idea.




Of course, make sure to erase over the letters after you’re done to remove residual graphite.





Then burn in the top portion of the letter using a shader pen tip. 





It’s up to you on how dark you make the upper portion. 





Lastly, switch back to a writer pen tip and burn along the outer edge of the letter where the lace is.  I wanted bolder edges along the lacy section.





Finishing up.









Our next texture is dark mottling.  I’ve actually used this type of texture on the background in several pieces of artwork like the Petunias I did.   




Use a writer pen tip to burn along the edges of the letter.  Make sure to close gaps if using a stencil and rub an eraser over the letters when you done burning along the edges to remove any residual graphite.






Switch to a shader pen tip and start filling the letter with random texture created by burning circular motion. 





Because circular motion is created by literally moving your hand in small circles it tends to create lots of overlap areas.  The areas of overlap tend to be slightly darker than the non-overlap areas, so it can create a random texture.  The key to this burn style is exploiting the circular motion random feature.



To exploit circular motions random texture creating abilities to their fullest, vary your hand speed and size of the circles you burn.  Some circles are so small they don’t have a gap, so they are a solid dot.  Others have a have gaps of varying sizes.  Move your hand slow and you’ll end up with a dark burn and vice versa.




Finished up the first layer of circular motion on the letter.  Notice how much variation is created during this burn. 








Now burn over the letter again, but make sure to leave some areas untouched.  I leave the pale areas untouched as it provides more contrast.





In this photo you can see how much darker the letter is starting to look in the areas that received a second layer of circular motion burning.





Finishing up the second layer.   






Here’s how the letter looks with two layers of circular motion applied in such a way to bring out the most of the random texture circular motion can create.








Next add the final layer of circular motion, but this time only hit the spots you want really dark.  This is a random here and there burn versus the second layer that almost covered the entire letter.




Finishing up the third layer of circular motion. 






Here’s how the letter ended up looking.  Notice how mottled it is.









Below is a composite picture show the letter after I was done with each layer of circular motion.

 If you examine each letter, you’ll see there there were light spots after the first burn and I kept some of those light spots through each subsequent re-burn.  The extreme contrast of pale and dark really adds to the mottled look, but if you look, you’ll see that most of the colors are in the medium range.




Our next texture is what I’m calling crackers as it reminds of me of saltine crackers.  I must have been hungry when I named this one.




The letter starts out like all of them in that you close the gaps if using a stencil, burn along the edges of the letters, and the rub over it with an eraser to remove any residual graphite.





Use a straightedge to draw lots of closely spaced horizontal lines across the letters.  Again, I didn’t measure to make sure the lines were uniform in spacing from each other, but don’t let that stop you.





Then draw vertical lines making a tiny grid on each letter.  The smaller the grid the more dots you will get.





Next, use an embossing tool to press firming into the wood where the lines intersect.





This is the embossing tool I’m using.  It is found in craft store in the paper craft section and is used for card making.


The tip as a rounded small end on it.  I’ve used small crochet needles and I’ve use the micro writer pen tip for this type of work.  Just be careful if you use a pyrography pen tip as you’re exerting a lot of pressure and you could damage the tip.



Continue to create deep dots at every spot on the grid where the lines connect. 

You could also put the dots in the middle of each square on the grid.






This is how the letters looked once I was done embossing dots on them.





Of course you need to erase the pencil lines before proceeding.






Here’s how the letters looked after I erased the pencil lines away.




Now just burn over the letter with the flat of the shader to reveal the embossed dots.   It still reminds me of a saltine cracker and I will admit that I’m a touch hungry as I’m writing this.  🙂




Here’s how the letters looked after I was done burning over them.  Looking at them I thought they needed a bit more color.




To darken them up is a simple matter of re-burning over them.  Darker letters show the dots better.  Just use care if burning really dark and hot as you can obliterate your embossed dots if they are not very deep.







Our last texture for this group is the dotted letter.




Close the gaps if using a stencil, burn along the edges of the letter, and then rub over the letters with an eraser.





Next, burn over the surface of the letter to give some color.  Aim for a tan to medium tan color.  Don’t get it too dark as the dots won’t show up well.






Here are how the letters looked after I was done burning them to a medium tan color.



Equip a large ball pen tip, or use a writer pen tip, and start burning lines of dots on the letters.   You can burn the line of dots in any direction you want.






I suggest burning your main line in the direction you want and work from there.  In this photo I burned a curving ‘s’ shape line down the length of the first letter.





Then follow the curve of the line you burned when filling in the rest of the letter with dots.






You can change directions of your dotted lines and make the pattern as elaborate or as simple as you want.






Finishing up.









We’re done.    I hope that you found the information easy to understand.    I’m planning more lettering texture tutorials, so if there is a particular texture you’d like to see, then leave me a comment and let me know.


Until the next blog,


Mar 22, 2019


Want to subscribe? 

  • Click on the “Leave a Comment” field at the end of any post (blog) and a subscribe option will appear.
  • Put something in the comment field (if you put “test” or “just subscribing” I won’t make your comment public)
  • Fill in the sections for your email address and name, and then click on the “notify me of new posts via email.”
  • You will get a confirmation email from WordPress confirming you want to subscribe.
  • Click on the confirm button in that email and you’re done.

Please note that I do not send out emails.   If you have a WordPress account there is a way to subscribe within the WordPress system, but I cannot provide specifics on how it works as I don’t know.

2 thoughts on “Lettering Textures Part 2 Pyrography Tutorial wood burning techniques

I love hearing from you, so leave a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.