Pyrography for Beginners – African Daisy Greeting Card wood burning tutorial

In this beginner friendly tutorial, I’m going to explain how to create the African daisy artwork greeting card.  The project is designed to be a quick and fun project.  It took me less than 2 hours to create.   In this tutorial I will explain how to do the pyrography, and add color to the artwork.  Plus, I will cover the last steps I took to make a greeting card out of the artwork.  Keep in mind that even though I’m burning on paper, this artwork can be put on wood, leather, etc.   Furthermore, if you’re making a card you can put any greeting on it you’d like.

Click on the image to the left to watch a YouTube video version of the tutorial. 

Now, let’s get to work.

SKILL LEVEL: 1

 

 

MATERIALS NEEDED:  

  • Writing tip
  • Shading tip
  • 10 x 14 inch (25.4 x 35.6 cm) watercolor paper*
  • Watercolor paint
  • Pattern (enlarge or shrink as necessary) African Daisy pattern

*I’m making a greeting card, so the paper gets folded in half.  If you do not plan to make a greeting card, then use something half the size of what I am using.

Watercolor Paper

I used the Canson Heritage 140 lb, hot-pressed, 100% cotton watercolor paper.  I did not care for this paper.  I had a hard time getting smooth burn results.  Plus, the paper tended to get fuzzy bits on the surface.  There is probably a technical name for what I was experiencing, but I’m not a painter so I don’t know it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Winsor & Newton brand of watercolor paper continues to be my favorite for burning on.

Paint

Since I like the Winsor & Newton brand of paper, I bought their Cotman line of watercolors.

 

 

 

 

 

The travel box is filled with 24 half pans of watercolor.  With as much as I use watercolors, this will probably last me the rest of my life. 🙂

Of the 24 colors, I used the following

Cobalt blue

Hooker’s green dark

Intense blue (phthalo blue)

Lemon yellow

Purple lake

 

I wrote a blog that lists all of the items I use in pyrography.  That blog has links to places where you can buy the products.  Some of the items in this tutorial are found in the ‘card making’ section on the blog.  Here’s a link to that blog: https://wp.me/p8j0lZ-5Yf

STEP 1 – PREP THE BURNING SURFACE

Paper

If you are burning on paper, the only thing you need to do is secure the paper to a rigid mounting board.  This will keep the paper from buckling during burning and adding color.

Wood

Wood burning is much easier if you take the time to prepare the wood surface.  Always 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

The board should be damp to the touch, but not soaking wet.

Let the board dry and then sand again.

 

 

This piece of plywood board is broken up into three sections.  The far-left section is how the board looks without any prep work.  The board has a rough texture.   The middle section of the board shows how it looks after it was sanded, and the surface is a lot smoother.   The right section of the board shows it after it was lightly misted with water and allowed to dry.  Notice how rough the board looks, but a quick sanding will remove that and leave an ultra-smooth board.

Doing the 4-step process (sand, mist, dry, sand) produces a super smooth surface, and the smoother the surface is the better the burn results will be. 

STEP 2 – COMPOSE

Print out the pattern onto light weight paper like standard copier paper.  Then cut around the patterns leaving wide border.

 

 

 

 

 

Then start arranging the printouts on the paper/board to see what you like. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My main requirement was that the flower fit within the boundaries of the frame I made.  The orange arrows are pointing at the pencil marks that create the frame for my artwork.   The black arrow points to the center of the paper, and that is where the fold or crease will go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I had a flower in the position I wanted, I used a piece of low tack paper take to secure it to the paper/board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I played around with the second flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like before, once I knew where I wanted it to go, I secured it with a piece of low take paper.   Then I stepped back and looked at the composition to make sure I liked it.

STEP 3 – TRANSFER

After I knew what the composition would be, I removed a pattern and coated the back of it with a layer of graphite.  I’m using a pencil extender to hold a small piece of compressed graphite stick that has a 3B value.   

I often get asked why I don’t use carbon paper.  I have yet to find a brand I like, so I quit wasting money on them.  I do explain my reasons a bit more in my ‘Products I use’ blog if you’re interested.

 

 

 

 

Next, I placed the pattern, graphite side down, onto the paper / board and secured it in place with two pieces of low-tack paper tape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I used a mechanical pencil to trace over the pattern lines.  I like to use a mechanical pencil because it keeps a sharp point and doesn’t need to be erased.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

After tracing a few lines, I check the results to make sure the darkness level is good.  If it’s too light, then I remove the pattern, erase the traced lines, add another layer of graphite to the back of the pattern, and start again.

 

 

 

 

 

Before removing a pattern always check for missing lines.  The blue arrow is pointing to a flower petal that I didn’t get the right edge traced well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To fix this, simply drop the pattern back in place and trace over the missing line(s).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then do a final check before removing the pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coat the back of the second pattern with graphite and secure it on the paper / board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then start tracing over the lines on the pattern.  Do not worry about the areas of overlap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have several flower petals that overlap each other, and I marked them with the red circle.   Again, this is not something to worry about. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 4 – TRACE LINES           

Before you begin burning, make sure that you have a piece of scrap material close by.  

I’m taping a piece of paper (same brand I’m burning on) to the rigid backing board my paper is attached to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equip a writer pen tip on your burner and test out the heat results on the scrap material.  I was aiming for a dark tan or light brown color. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the pen tip is producing the desired results, then burn over the outer trace lines on the front or lower flower. 

Do not burn over the dashed lines on the flower petals.

 

 

 

 

 

Continued work.  Start with the flower that is in front.  All of the petals are visible on the front flower, so I didn’t have to worry about avoiding the overlap petals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now burn in the back or upper flower.  As you work, avoid burning over the front or lower flower where the petals that overlap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing up. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Switch to the shader pen tip of your choice and test it out on the scrape material until you get a dark tan to light brown burn result.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that use the flat of the shader and burn over the dashed lines on the petals.   Using the flat of the shader will produce wider burner strokes that have soft edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am using uniform strokes as my burn method.  This means that the color remains fairly constant over the entire burn stroke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve burned over all of the dashed lines, the rub a pencil eraser over the paper / board to remove any residual graphite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the image looked once I was done.

STEP 5 – FLOWER PETALS    

Make sure to test out your pen tip before you start burning.  I do want to point out that once I have my burner set to get the dark tan or light brown burn result, I do not adjust the burner again.  Instead, I use hand speed and re-burning to alter the color of my burn results.   Slowing down your hand produces a darker burn result.  Speeding up your hand produces a lighter burn result.

In this step we will burn in the flower petals.  The stem and flower centers burning will happen in the next step.  Each flower petal will get 4 things or steps done to it.  Keep in mind that the steps can be done in any order.

  • Darken up the wide bands of color burned along the dashed lines
  • Burn over the entire flower petal to give it a base color
  • Darken up the inner edge. The inner edge is the side of the petal that touches the flower center.
  • Darken up the outer edge.

I begin each petal by first re-burning over the dashed lines to darken up the band of color.  Again, I’m using uniform strokes as my burn method.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From there it varied, but in this photo, I’m burning over the entire petal.  As you work do not worry about making the color uniform.  This artwork is suppose to be fun and easy, so we are not going to get bogged down in details or being exact.

 

 

 

 

 

Since I’m left-handed I had troubles burning along the outer edge on this petal.  I couldn’t find a hand position that felt comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My attempts to find a good burning position resulted in a number of dark blotches on the flower.  I’m leaving them because this isn’t about being perfect.  Plus, my artwork will become a greeting card, and people don’t pay that close attention to the artwork.

 

 

 

 

 

Rotate the board as needed to avoid the problem I was having.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I had the board (paper) rotated I went ahead and burned along the edges of several other petals that I knew I’d have the same problem with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to keep in mind is that you will have more control over your burn strokes if you are pulling the pen tip down towards yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the most part I left the middle of the petal the lightest area. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I takes me re-burning over the flower a number of times before the color is where I want it to be.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is completely up to you the order you want to burn in the petals.  As long as the 4 steps are done on each petal, it will look great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One other thing I did make a conscious effort on was creating a little contrast where petals touched.  Generally, I made the lower or back petal a touch darker along the seam where the two petals touched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a progress photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this photo you can see a couple of little leaves adjacent to the flower center.   I will cover those and the flower center in the next step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I burned the cast shadows found on a few petals to a dark brown color.  When I burned in the shadows, I really slowed down my hand speed to get a nice dark color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though I slowed down my hand speed, I still reburned over the shadow a couple of times to get it to the final darkness level I wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be careful when burning around the petals on the front or lower flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This area would be a good spot to rotate the board.  One thing to keep in mind is that I video tape my work.  If I rotate the board a lot it makes for uncomfortable viewing in the videos, so I try to keep my rotations to a minimum.   That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rotate the board as often as needed!

 

 

 

 

 

With the cast shadow from the flower center, I used a very short zigzag burn stroke.  This means I burned in an up and down motion.  Plus, I had little to no gap between the zigzag lines.   This combined with the short burn stroke produces an extremely dark burn result.

 

 

 

 

 

In this photo you can see how I burn a band of color on the petal along the seam where it touches the lower flower.   This creates a buffer zone.   The buffer zone means I don’t have to get the pen tip precisely on the seam edge when I burn in the petal.

 

 

 

 

 

Continued work on the upper flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continued work on the upper flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing up the upper flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the upper lower looked once I was done with the petals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now work on the lower flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each petal gets the same 4 step process as the upper flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is up to you how dark you want to burn the inner and outer edges of the petals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The more contrast a petal has between its edges and center will make it look more bowed or curving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continued work on the lower flower.

 

 

 

 

 

Continued work on the lower flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing up the lower flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the lower flower looked once I was done.   I will cover the stem in the next step, so please ignore the fact that it is done in this photo.

STEP 6 – FLOWER CENTERS and STEM   

Use a writer pen tip and darkly burn around the outer edge of the tiny leaf.  Then lightly burn over the surface of the leaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat this process on all of the tiny leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darkly burn along the outer edge of each triangular shape on the flower center.  Then darken up the bottom half of each triangular shape.   When I darkened up the bottom half, I used a zigzag burn stroke to do so, but I left gaps between the lines.

 

 

 

 

 

Continued work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The light is coming from the left side, so the right edge of the flower center is shadowed.  Only the tips of the triangular shapes are pale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the center looked once I was done.

 

If you do not plan to add color to your artwork, then I recommend burning over the flower center with a shader so the pale tips are a dark tan color.

 

 

 

 

Repeat the process on the lower flower.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

The process begins by burning a dark line around the edges of each triangular shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then darken up the bottom half of each triangular shape using a zigzag hand motion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the flower center looked on the lower flower. 

I just noticed that I didn’t darken up the right edge of the flower center.  Oops.  Goes to show that just about anything goes with this artwork.

 

 

 

 

Use a shader and burn a dark line on the stem just under the adjacent flower petal.   

If it is easier for you to use a writer pen tip for this step, then please do so.  When I write these tutorials I’m explaining what I did, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best or only way to do things.

 

 

 

 

 

Then extend the dark color down the right side of the stem. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards using the flat of the shader and burn over the stem.

 

 

 

 

 

I chose to make the stem brown in color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t worry about making the stem uniform in color.  No one is going to pay that much attention to the stem.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m undecided if I like this little side stem, but I’m stuck with it now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reburn over the right side of the stem to create a bit of a shadow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the stem looked once I was done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 7 – ADDING COLOR

Before I added watercolor, I applied white artist tape along the edge that creates the frame for the artwork.   I didn’t do this before because I wasn’t sure how the paper would handle this, so I wanted to minimize the amount of time the tape was in contact with the paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After I got the tape in position, I rubbed my finger over it to make sure it made a good seal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used two paint brushes.  The first one was this large filbert synthetic #40 by Creative mark.  Note that this paintbrush is not necessary to have.

 

The second one I used was an oval wash synthetic 1/2 by Loew-Cornell.   I’m not a painter, but I think any paintbrush you feel comfortable with will work for this project.

This photo shows the size difference.   Keep in mind that I am NOT a painter.  I couldn’t tell you if the paint brushes I have are good or total junk.   I buy paint brushes based on prices.   I do want to mention that you do not need the enormous paint brush I used.  I bought this brush on clearance, and I’m not sure why.   Until this project I have never used it.

 

 

 

 

 

I started by applying a light layer of water over the surface of the paper.   

Yes, that was the extent of my use of the mega large paintbrush.  I think you can understand why it’s not necessary to have one for this project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I applied lemon yellow to the background.   I dabbed the paintbrush directly on the paint pan and used the water on the paper to dilute and blend out the color.

 

 

 

 

 

I have the board laying flat, so I often leaned forward to get a better look at what I was doing.  This meant my head got into the camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I applied the yellow to the background, I did not avoid the flower petals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the art looked once I was done with the lemon yellow paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I applied some diluted cobalt blue to the flower centers.   Diluted means I mixed the paint with water in a little dish.  Then I used that instead of dabbing the paint brush directly on the paint pan.

 

 

 

 

 

As I started on the second flower center, the color from the first flower center started bleeding onto the flower petals.  

I should have known this would happen since the entire paper was wet.   I did mention that I’m not a painter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dried off my paint brush and mopped up the leaking color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, as I finished cleaning up the first flower, the second flower center bled.   

I will admit that it was during this time I wondered why I chose to paint the color onto the artwork.   I hate paintbrushes and I’m not a big fan of painting.    Some of you might be thinking that my attitude is why I’m such a terrible painting.   While that might be true, I prefer another explanation.   

I think paintbrushes hate me, and that they purposely try to ruin my paintings.  Based on my beliefs, my attitude is perfectly justified.  🙂 

 

 

 

 

I tried mopping up the bleeding paint from the flower petals, but I should have left it alone because I made the situation worse!   

I’m not 100% sure the problem was my fault.  I did mention that paintbrushes hate me, so I think the brush has to take the majority of the blame.   

Some of you are probably wondering why I chose to paint this artwork given my general dislike of painting.   The reason it is painting so much faster than using colored pencils.  

 

 

 

Here’s how the artwork looks at this point with the blue paint appearing well past the flower center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the artwork looked after I cleaned up the mess.   The color isn’t as intense, so I’m hoping it won’t be noticeable after I paint in the flower petals.   

At this point I decided to let the paper dry before I continuing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the paper was dry, or mostly dry, I started painting in the flower petals using diluted purple lake.   

To keep things simple and easy to replicate, I did not mix any of the colors together.   

There is another reason for this, I’ve discovered that I have this amazing ability to create brown paint.  Give me a couple of basic colors, and I’ll give you some not so lovely shade of grey or brown.   Even more amazing, I create a new shade of grey or brown with each mixing.  

 

 

As I paint, my only consideration is to make sure that the pyrography can be seen through the paint.  Often this meant I would remove excess paint from one petal and use it on unpainted petal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo shows an instance of using excess paint from another petal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, I wasn’t the neatest painter as there are several spots where the purple color went beyond the edges of a petal.   I think I shall, once again, blame the paintbrush for this problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I even slopped paint onto the overlapping petal on the lower flower.  Obviously, painting isn’t my strong suit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing up the petals on the upper flower that overlap petals on the lower flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided I better paint the petal that got a bit of paint slopped onto it.   I figured while the paint was still wet it would blend out, and it did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing up the upper flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought some of the petals on the upper flower were a touch to pale, so I added another layer of diluted paint over them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing up the second layer of paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I started on the lower flower, I added more paint to my diluted mixture because I wanted the color to be a bit more intense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the brighter color helps push this flower closer to the viewer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did paint over the flower center on both flowers using the purple lake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continued work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I used hooker’s green dark on the stem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’m using diluted intense blue (also called phthalo blue) onto the flower center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I applied several layer thin layers of blue instead of one thick layer that would bleed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applying another layer to the upper flower center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I applied the blue onto the flower petals.  I added the color from the inner edge to the three-quarters mark.  Or close to that.  I wasn’t worried about being precise with this.   

Yes, I know, my lack of precision is rather obvious.  That’s okay.  This was meant to be a quick and fun project where I didn’t fuss over details

 

 

 

 

 

Continued work. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding blue to the lower flower.  One benefit of adding the blue, is that it helps hide the bleeding paint from the flower center. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it looks like the blue center was done on purpose.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the artwork looks at this point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still had some diluted purple, so I loaded up the brush and tapped the handle on my opposite hand.  My goal was to produce tiny droplets of paint on the background.  

My friend, Ryn Shell, does this, and it works wonderfully.    I didn’t work for me.  I ended up with large droplets of paint that I didn’t much care for.

 

 

 

 

Since I lack Ryn’s wrist tapping skill, I fanned the paint brush with my finger instead.  This produced the small droplets I was after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how the artwork looked after I was done painting it.  

Let the artwork dry completely before continuing on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 8 – GREETING

After the paper is completely dry, then remove the artist tape. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, use a straight edge and a fine-tipped black marker to ink in the frame lines.   I didn’t do this beforehand because I didn’t want the tape to remove the lines.  I wasn’t sure if the tape would do that, but better safe than sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

After that I rubbed a pencil eraser over the line I drew down the center of the paper.  I know, why bother with the center line in the first place?  It’s not necessary and I’m not sure why I drew it in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’m checking which color I think would look good for my greeting.  I wrote the test letters on the back of the scrap I used for testing the pen tip heat on.

 

 

 

3d4.  I’m using embossing markers, and I will tell you now that I couldn’t find these online.  

My set is very, very old.   I’m not 100% sure they are still being made.  

On the blog about products I use, I found a clear marker that will serve the purpose for this card.

 

 

 

 

 

My card will be given to a friend who is retiring, so I wrote congratulations on the front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ran into a problem with my greeting.  I ran out of room!

Write your greeting in pencil!  Make sure it fits before using the marker.

 

 

 

 

To fix the problem I will cover it with a piece of scrapbook paper.  In this photo I’m making sure the paper fits before I apply glue to the back of it.

 

 

 

 

Once the paper was trimmed to fit, I’m used a glue stick to coat the back of the paper with glue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I placed the paper onto the card and pressed it firmly in place.  I let it sit for a few minutes to allow the glue to set.

 

 

 

 

 

Then I used a pencil to write my greeting, and I traced over the pencil lines with the marker.

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwards I sprinkled embossing powder over the greeting.  

 

 

 

 

 

Embossing markers have a glue in them that allows the powder to adhere to the surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bought a set of many assorted colors a number of years ago when I was into scrapbooking.  I didn’t bother to try and find the huge variety set I have.  Instead, I found a small variety set on Amazon.  This and the other card making items are listed on my products blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dumped the excess powder into tray.  The tray has a funnel at one end, so I can pour the surplus back into the bottle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I use a heat gun to blow really hot air over the powder activating it.  This melts the powder, so it looks like glittery plastic.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how it looked once I was done.

 

 

 

 

Now I’ve got the greeting angled to catch the light.  This allows you to see a bit of the glitter and sheen of the plastic.

 

 

 

Fold the paper in half making sure to press firmly along the crease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, I used a creaser to rub over the edge to help the card lay flat.

Here’s what I’m using.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how my card turned out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN CONCLUSION

I hope you enjoyed this project.  You can create a card for any occasion and have a lot of fun in the process.  Before I go, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions.   The pyrography took me 1 ½ hours to do, and then I spent around 15-20 minutes applying the paint.  That excludes any drying time.  I did mention before that I wanted this to be a quick and fun project.  I managed the quick part, and I hope I accomplished the fun aspect too.

Until the next blog,

Brenda

July 27, 2021

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.

I love hearing from you, so leave a comment.

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