Pyrography Tutorial Stylized Rose techniques for beginner wood burning

In this tutorial I will explain how to create the stylized rose artwork.  The steps needed to create the rose can be use on any rose design and you don’t need a reference photo.   The artwork is from the side of a harp that my husband, Todd, built.  He wanted a Celtic knot with roses on it, so the rounded lines you see behind the rose are part of the knot work.  I was rather pleased with how the rose turned out and I loved the fact that I didn’t use a reference photo.  My goal with this tutorial is to provide you with the basic steps to replicate the look. 

To watch a YouTube video version of this tutorial, just click on the image to the left.




Here’s a photo of the harp sides after I was done doing the artwork.  I had to create a mirror image of the artwork on each side of the harp.   The sides were made out of maple and measured 29 3/4 inches tall (75.6 cm).  The sides taper and the widest area is the bottom that measures 6 inches wide (15.2 cm).   There are a number of roses on the pattern.  The techniques I will share with you in this tutorial are the same techniques I used on each rose.

Now, let’s get to work.



  • Writing tip
  • Shading tip
  • Attached pattern (shrink or enlarge as needed)  Roses Pattern

About the pattern

The pattern contains all of the different rose designs I used on the harp, but it doesn’t include the Celtic knot.   While the pattern includes all of the rose designs, I’m only going to detail the steps using the largest rose.  The steps do not change, so it would be rather redundant to cover each rose. 


Smooth the wood surface by sanding it with at least 220 grit sandpaper. 

Then thoroughly wet the board by misting it with water or running it quickly under the sink faucet.  Let the board dry and then sand again.

This will produce a super smooth surface, and the smoother the surface is the better the burn results will be. 






I use the tracing method to transfer all my patterns to my projects.  It’s cheap, easy, and gives me control on what I want to include.  Print off your pattern on lightweight paper (standard copier paper is perfect), coat the back of the pattern with a graphite pencil, position on the wood, and trace over the pattern.  Make sure to check the trace results for accuracy before removing the pattern.   

Then burn in the trace lines and rub over the surface with a pencil eraser to remove any residual graphite.






I’m going to cover the rose and then I will explain how to create the leaves. 

Each rose was created using a basic 4 step process – 1) burn pull-away strokes on all edges of the petal, 2) burn over the area between the edges (if needed), 3) add any shadows (if needed or wanted), and 4) add extra texture (if needed or wanted).

The basic goal is to burn in each petal so the edges are darker than the middle of the petal.  The other goal is to ensure each petal stands out from the adjacent petals.  



We’ll start with the top petal.







Use a shader pen tip and burn pull-away strokes along the right edge of the petal.  Start the stroke on the right edge and pull it towards the center of the petal.





Let me clarify what I mean by ‘center of the petal’ as I’m not talking about the visible center of the petal.  Instead, I mentally visualize the spot where the petal connects to the rest of the rose.  Then I  place a mental dot in the center on the connecting line.  My mental dot is represented by the red dot in the photo.   Then I burn all of my strokes so they curve towards that dot.  The yellow lines indicate the general curve and direction of my burn strokes.



Continue to burn pull-away strokes along the right edge of the petal.  Vary the width and darkness level of the strokes.  Some of my burn strokes are so thin that they could have been ‘drawn’ with a pencil.  Others burn strokes are a thicker as I use the entire flat of the shader to create them.  This combination of thin and thick lines that vary in color creates the texture I’m after.




After one side of the petal is done, then switch to the other side and burn pull-away strokes along it’s edge.  Again vary the width and darkness level of the strokes.






If the center of the petal is too light, then burn over it to darken it up.  I didn’t burn my pull-away strokes long enough, so the center of the petal was mostly un-burned.  I definitely needed to burn over the center to darken it up.

Note that I didn’t want a shadow on this petal, so the 3rd step didn’t apply.  Also, this is the only petal that I didn’t burn pull-away strokes along the seam edge (I’ll explain that in a little bit).   Lastly, I was okay with the texture, do didn’t feel the need to add more.  You have to look at your petal and decide if you need to burn some thin lines to create more texture. 



Next petal is the larger petal to the right.  We’ll apply the same 4 step process to it.









Before I start burning, I first mentally visualize the center of the petal and the direction the pull-away strokes will need to be burned.  The red dot represents the petal center, and the yellow lines indicate burn direction.








Pick a side and burn pull-away strokes along the edge of the petal.  I started with the right side.  Just like before, start the stroke on the edge of the petal and pull it in a curve towards the center of the petal.






You don’t have to finish all of one edge before moving onto the other edge.  As you can see in this photo I burned a bit along the left edge and then resumed work along the right.







Continue to burn pull-away strokes along the edges of the petal.  Notice how I am varying the color of the burn strokes.







This petal is pretty long, so there is a little bit of it that peak from under another petal lower on the rose.






I’m adding a shadow by burning pull-away strokes that start along the inner or seam edge of the rose.  The seam edge is where this petal touches another petal.  Start the stroke on the seam edge and pull it towards the outer edges of the petal.   

Shadow might not be the best word to describe what I’m doing.  Essentially I am darkening up the inner edge of the petal so that it provides contrast with the adjacent petal.




Burn the strokes in the same curve direction that you burned the strokes along the outer edge.







If you look at the angle of my pen tip, you can see I’m using the razor edge to burn some of the lines on the rose petal to create the texture I’m after.






For some reason I did not get the petal the yellow arrow is pointing to on the video.  It gets pull-away strokes burned along the inner and outer edge.  You could probably leave the petal off of the artwork too.







The next petal is the lowest petal on the rose.  Again, for me I find it easier to first mental visualize the spot where I will be pulling the strokes from along the outer edge of the petal to the center.







Start burning pull-away strokes along the inner or seam edge of the petal.  This will begin the darkening process to create some shadows.  I also use the razor edge of the shader for some of the burn stroke to create texture.






Then burn pull-away strokes along the outer edge.  In other tutorials I’ve mentioned that the order you do steps seldom matters, and that’s the case with the petals. 






The only important thing is that each step that is applicable is done on the petal. 






With this petal I worked on sections doing all of the steps before moving onto another part of the petal.








In this photo you can see the texture I’m creating and how the middle of the petal is lighter than the edges.






Continued work and adding a bit more texture.







Finishing up.







Unfortunately, the yellow arrow in this photo is pointing to another petal that I didn’t get on video.  Well, with this one I got very little of it on video.








Start the process of applying the 4 steps to the petal.  Begin on the inner edge burning pull-away strokes.







This is as far as I got before the camera memory was full and I didn’t notice it.  Fortunately I finished this petal and noticed the problem before moving on.  As you can see from the photo I applied a layer of pull-away strokes along the inner or seam edge of the petal.






The next petal is the one to the left of our first petal.  Just like before mentally visualize where the center of the petal is and the direction to burn the pull-away strokes.







Pick an edge of the petal and start burning pull-away strokes along that edge.







Make sure to vary the color and width of the strokes to give the petal texture as you burn. 







On this petal I started burning on the right edge and I’m working my way left applying all of the applicable steps as I go. 







Make sure to burn pull-away strokes along all of the petal edges; right, left, and inner or seam edge.






Here is a progress photo of the rose.  Pay attention to where I’m adding shadows.  Notice how they are located along inner or seam edges?  This serves two purposes; 1) contrast for the adjacent petal, and 2) creates depth.  The darker burns get ‘pushed’ into the background and it makes the petals look like they have shadows on them from adjacent petals; this combination gives you depth in the artwork.





Burn pull-away strokes that start on the left edge of the petal and get pulled towards the center.






Give the adjacent petal the same 4 step treatment, so pick an edge and burn pull-away strokes along that edge.  I choose to start with the inner or seam edge.






Then burn pull-away strokes along the other edges of the petal.  Re-burn, if needed, to give shadows, texture, and color to the middle of the petal.   







Remember that one of my goal is to make sure each petal is distinct from the others.  I accomplish that with contrast.  So with this petal I kept the left or outer edge might lighter than the inner or seam edge.  The outer edge of this petal is touching the dark inner edge of the adjacent petal, so keeping the outer edge light ensures it stands out. 


Again, move onto another petal and burn pull-away strokes along the edges of the petal.   With the middle petals, I don’t visualize the center of the petal.  Instead I just cover the petal with curving burn strokes.







Burn the strokes so they curve gives the petal a rounded shape.  That and keeping the edges of the petal a little darker than the center or middle of the petal.






Also burn the pull-away strokes so they vary in color as this will provide a lot of texture.  With most of the smaller petals I didn’t have to add additional texture.






Work one petal at a time.  I prefer to start on the outer petals and work my way towards the center, but that is a personal preference.  The order you burn them in really doesn’t matter.






Every single petal receives gently curving pull-away strokes burned along its edges.






Here’s another progress photo.








Continue to burn pull-away strokes along all of the edges of each petal working one petal at a time.







The board I was working on was really long and a bit awkward, so I didn’t rotate the board often.  If it is easier, make sure to rotate the board as you work.  You want the pen tip to stay in optimal position when you start each burn stroke so your petal edges stay nice and clean.






Make sure to curve your burn strokes a bit as this is one of the major components that gives the petals their curving or rounded appearance.






Again, as I worked my way further into the rose, I kept the outer edge of each petal lighter than the inner or seam edge.   This provides contrast needed to help each petal stand out.






Continued to burn one petal at a time.  Which one petal you choose to burn in really doesn’t matter as they all get the same steps applied to them.







The only thing you really need to do is make sure the overall color and texture on the petals is similar.








Your rose would look odd if you had a petal(s) that was considerably lighter or darker than the rest petals.







The same is true with the texture.  Again, it would look very odd to have one or two petals with no texture or vice versa.






Finishing up the rose.









Now let’s burn in the leaves and finish this project up.






Begin by using the razor edge of the shader and burn a line down the center of the leaf.






Then burn a dark brown band of color along the top of the leaf next to the rose.  This will create a shadow on the leaf.






Next, burn dark along the edges of the leaf.  Create a jagged edge by burning a few dark line lines past the edges of the leaf.





In this photo, I’ve burned darkly along the edge of the leaf.







Then I re-burned along the edge adding thin dark lines the extend past the leaf edge to give the leaf a jagged appearance.







Now fill in the leaf using the burn method of your choice.  I used a combination of circular motion and uniform strokes.






Continued work.






Continued work.







Adding a few thin dark lines over the surface of the leaf for texture.  The lines should be burned in the direction that veins on the leaf would grow.






Finishing up. 







Burn dark along the top of the other leaf to create a shadow on it from the rose.





Use the razor edge of the shader to burn a thin line down the center of the leaf.







Next, use the burn method of your choice to color the leaf.







Re-burn along the edge of the leaf to darken it up and add the thin lines that extend past the edge to give it a jagged appearance.






Burning in the other half of the leaf.








Then reburn along the edge to darken it up and give the edge a jagged appearance.








Lastly, burn some thin dark lines on the leaf for texture. 









Here is the final artwork for the rose that I explained.  Below are photos of some of the other roses on the harp.  The designs for the roses are included in the pdf pattern.

















We’re done.    Did I accomplish my goal of keeping the tutorial simple?  I love to hear from you, so leave a comment.

As I said before the wood I burned on was maple.  There were a total of 14 roses and lots of knot work to do, so it took a bit to get all of that work done; 27 hours worth of work.   How long each rose took I do not know, but I would guess the larger ones took 3-4 hours each.

Until the next blog,


June 21, 2019

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4 thoughts on “Pyrography Tutorial Stylized Rose techniques for beginner wood burning

  1. This is an absolutely beautiful pattern! I have recently returned to pyrography after putting it to the side for about 10 years, and I feel like I am starting all over again. I love watching your YouTube videos and have learned so much. Thank you Brenda for all that you dom

    1. Hi Tracey,
      I’m glad that you’ve re-discovered your love of pyrography. It really is a wonderful artform and a lot of fun to do.
      Thank you for the wonderful comment and compliment!

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