Get creative doing wood burning with stencils. There are so many beautifully designed decorative templates you will find it difficult to choose just one.
Wood burning stencils can be a burner’s best friend.
There is an incredible variety available to help you create exactly what you want to achieve.
Alphabet and numerical templates are a lifesaver for those of us who are not lettering specialists. It is very difficult to do lettering freehand and achieve a well-spaced, even-sized word that looks professional.
This is where stencils make it easy.
Wood Burning With Stencils For Professional Results
There are two types of stencils on the market.
Metal stencil designs can be traced directly onto the wood with the hot tooltip.
Plastic ones will melt if you do this. You will need to trace the design in pencil first from the template and then wood burn the design outlines freehand.
Bear in mind that after all this hard work – sealing the wood will protect your artwork – especially if signage is to be used outside.
Metal Stencils For Wood Burning
Using metal stencils is perfect for wood burning.
The design is “carved” out of a fairly thin sheet of stainless steel approximately 0.3mm thick. This then allows you to use a wood burning tool with an appropriate sized and shaped nib to trace and burn the design directly onto the wood.
A tip for transferring the design. The metal may get a little hot and start to lift or bend because of the hot nib. Just let it cool a little and settle down before starting to use it again.
For a decorative template and one that has the words all laid out for you, this is an easy solution.
If you are using an alphabet or numerical stencil kit that requires you to build up the words or numbers as you work – a lot of care is required in the placement. This is the same care that is required when using pyrography stamp sets.
For this, it is advisable to trace the letters and make up your words in pencil first. Then you can erase and re-do any misaligned letters or spacing before you start burning.
(Using a normal plastic stencil for this method is more than adequate.)
Metal Stencils Available From Amazon
Plastic Stencils For Pyrography
Another option that is just as effective for transferring design elements, numbers, and letters is plastic stencils.
These are made of food-grade PET (polyethylene terephthalate). This is the chemical name for polyester. It is 100% body-safe, non-toxic, odorless, durable, flexible, re-usable, and easy to clean.
This flexibility allows you to use it on all sorts of shapes and curves. These are perfect for most projects.
The only snag is that you cannot transfer these designs using a hot wood burning pen. The plastic will melt.
You need to use a pencil for transferring and then outline the design freehand with a pyrography tool and nib of your choice.
Plastic Stencils Available From Amazon
How To Make Custom Wood Burning Stencils
Making your own custom stencils for wood is not a difficult process.
But you will have to spend time doing the preparation and execution to get a good quality template that you are happy to use.
There are 2 methods to choose from:
- Using a craft knife
- Burning the design out
Cutting Out Your Stencil With A Craft Knife Or Scalpel
- Draw or print out your chosen design onto paper
- Tape the paper to a self-healing mat or smooth piece of wood
- Place a piece of glass over the paper with the design
- Place your acetate, plastic sheet or film centrally over the required design and tape firmly in place to the glass
- With a very sharp blade on your craft knife, carefully start tracing round the outline of your design
- Be sure to cut all the way through your chosen material
- Be careful not to cut too far out of the design ie when doing corners. Accuracy is imperative
- Push out the internal shapes to reveal your wood burner stencil
Cut Out Your Wood Burning Stencil With Your Pyrography Pen
Follow the same preparation as for cutting your template out with a craft knife up to the point of taping your design firmly to the glass.
But, instead of getting the craft knife out:
- Heat up your wood burning tool
- Set the temperature to a medium heat
- Carefully and with a steady hand at a fairly slow pace, trace round your design template outline
- Depending on your material will determine the best speed to use to burn through completely
- Push out the cut shapes to expose your design
This method does not produce as crisp a stencil for wood burning as the craft knife does. The melted edges will never be as perfect as the sharp cut of a blade.
For this method, you also need to ensure your nibs are clean with no build-up of carbon to ensure as sharp an edge as possible.
Stunning Projects With Stencils
In conclusion, using wood burning stencil designs will enhance the projects you are working on.
A pyrography stencil and can save you a lot of time and frustration when it comes to laying out the finicky letters and numbers part of a design.
Additionally, if you are producing multiple copies of the same design for stocking a shop or selling at a fair – a template will definitely speed up the process of getting the design onto your chosen blanks.
Happy stenciling and successful burning.