Fire is art – literally! Fire undoubtedly has many applications, but not many people think of it as an art form. But you likely have seen the impressive pieces produced by artisans who work with it, and it’s called pyrography. From the Greek words pyros, meaning fire, and graphic, meaning writing, pyrography is an artistic technique that uses fire in the form of a heated pen to write on wood or other materials. And you don’t have to be a master artist to do it well. In fact, if you can write, you can use a pyrography pen. And for those who write well, with penmanship that flows beautifully on paper, one of these heated pens can just feel like a natural extension of their writing. Learning to use a pyrography pen, otherwise known as a ‘wood burning pen,’ is not difficult. Like any other art form, it takes time to master it. But today’s easy-to-use versions of the pyrography pen make it simple.
What is a pyrography pen?
How is a pyrography pen used?
The great news about using a pyrography pen is that you don’t have to be a good artist. Though artists and calligraphers tend to make the best pyrography artists, anyone who can use a regular pen can use a pyrography pen. The reason for this is that wood burning can be performed by first transferring an image onto wood (or other material, such as leather), and it’s then that the pyrography pen is used to achieve the charred look known only to this art form. You’ve likely been to an art show or gallery that exhibited works done in wood burning, such as wood pieces or even leather jackets or hats that used charred-looking dark and light shading to produce scenic or other pictures. These were created using pyrography, but the artists who made them were not necessarily great at drawing. They didn’t even have to be good at it. They simply needed to be able to write by first transferring an image onto their chosen material, and then using a wood burning pen to bring out lines and create shading and toning effects to fill in a more expressive appearance.
Pyrography pens buying guide
The following products have been chosen for our list because they are easy to use, top-rated items about which customers who have used them give positive marks. All products on our list work well for beginners as well as those more advanced in their craft.
Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool with Versa-Temp Variable Temperature Control & 11 Wood burning Points (Tips) by Walnut Hollow
Walnut Hollow is an internationally renowned manufacturer of wood and wood products that sells to major chains in the U.S., Canada, and around the globe. They offer this wonderful pen that comes with 11 different tips. It’s ideal for beginners who don’t know where to start, and it works well for those who are more advanced at wood burning, too. The price on this one can’t be beat, considering the 11 points that come with it.
Walnut Hollow’s Versa Tool has variable temperature control that allows artisans to have more control over shading effects. The grip on this one is comfortable to use and contains a heat shield for users’ protection. The 11 tips can be interchanged using pliers, which is an added safety precaution. Plus, these lead-free tips can also be used for soldering, carving, and cutting on wood and other varied surfaces, such as leather. Tips with this product include: calligraphy, shading, universal, flow, tapered, solder, transfer, hot knife, and 3 hot stamp points.
- Price on this product is excellent. It’s low enough to fit into any crafter’s budget.
- Comes with 11 interchangeable tips that have the power to create a wide array of effects.
- Walnut Hollow is a name well-known in the wood manufacturing industry.
- Product is great for beginners who want to ease into learning how to use a pyrography pen.
- Reviewers comment that the instructions are easy to follow.
- Some reviewers comment that the cord twists up.
- A few reviewers comment that the tips get stuck. Per instructions, it’s important to make sure the tips cool down before attempting to change switch them out.
- Woodburning Tool with variable temperature control gives you control of the heat for...
- The Versa Tool has a comfort grip for long time use, a heat shield for protection and...
- The points can be used to woodburn; solder; cut and carve a variety of surfaces such...
- Includes 11 interchangeable points with a lead-free solder (Universal, Tapered, Flow,...
TAMEHOM 50PCS Wood Burning Kit
This 50-piece wood burning kit has all the tools a beginner will need to get started in pyrography. It contains tips that will allow you to perform wood burning, carving, soldering, embossing, and more. It also comes with a stand to hold your heated tools. Plus, it includes a handy carrying case that will allow you to store your kit as well as carry tools from one location to another. This is particularly convenient for those who are involved in a class.
This kit from TAMEHOM contains a fast-heating technology with a nickel chrome wire-heating core which allows it to heat up quickly. The high-quality, lightweight enclosure contains heat shield for added protection while in operation. The handles are ergonomically designed to allow users to work comfortably for hours without fatigue.
The kit comes with the following items:
- 1 wood-burning pen
- 12 colorful pencils
- 28 carving tips for versatile and dramatic shading effects
- 5 carbon papers
- 1 metal stand
- 2 plastic stencils
- Portable carrying case
- Comprehensive kit includes everything needed to begin wood burning.
- Great kit for beginners to learn the art of pyrography.
- The number (28) and wide array of tips included in this kit give crafters broad versatility and choice.
- Price point is good, considering all that is included in this kit.
- A few reviewers comment that the instrument gets too hot too quickly.
- Office Product
Burnmaster HAWK single port wood burner PACKAGE – burner + pen + tips (110V) by Burnmaster
Burnmaster is known in the industry for its tools created for serious enthusiasts. This product is a high-quality, high-end tool whose looks may be a bit deceiving for beginners because it can be easier to use than they may think. The Burnmaster Hawk is a 130-watt wood burner with a patented design that includes overload protection in the form of a reset breaker. This allows artisans to use it without being overly concerned about its heating mechanism.
The Burnmaster Hawk includes the following items:
- Wood burner
- Burnmaster hand piece
- 10 Burnmaster tips
This product accepts pens and replaceable hot wire tips from Burnmaster as well as Colwood, Razertip, and Detail Master.
- High-quality, high-end product that’s great for those a little more advanced in pyrography. However, beginners can use it also, especially due to its heat protection mechanisms.
- User reviews state this product is simple to use because switching out from one tip to another is easy.
- Pens are comfortable to hold and use.
- Product heats up well, allowing artisans to write on wood and other products with ease.
- High price point not conducive to many crafters’ budgets.
- Product is best for more experienced with pyrography (but beginners can use it with a little learning curve).
- A few reviewers comment that the tips don’t heat up after using it several times.
- Burnmaster Hawk (130-Watts) woodburner + Burnmaster handpiece + 10 Burnmaster tips
- 3-year warranty (Hawk); Industry-leading power & specifications, 130-Watts max.
- Superior patented design. Industry-leading power (130-Watts maximum).
- Overload protetction (reset breaker).
- Accepts pens & replaceable hot wire tips from Burnmaster, Detail Master, Colwood &...
Features to look for in a pyrography pen
If you’re new to this art, you likely have questions on what you need to consider when purchasing a pyrography pen. Here are some tips that will help you choose the right tool.
-The two most common pyrography pen tools are craft-style, also referred to as ‘solid-tip,’ and variable temperature. Solid-tip wood burners are great for beginners and those whose artworks do not require as much precision. These are the tips you’ll see most often. Variable-temp burners are used by artisans whose works require much more detailed, precise effects. When you see the difference between craft-style tips and variable-temps, you’ll understand why the craft-style are easier to use. Variable-temp tips look more wiry, which makes them a little more difficult to use for those just starting out. If you’re a beginner, you may want go with a craft-style wood burner for starters.
There are several different styles of pyrography pen tip. These include non-polished and polished, interchangeable, and fixed.
Non-polished and polished: Non-polished tips are a little rougher than polished, and these tend to drag over surfaces. This results in a less refined finish with more imperfections. Polished tips are very smooth, allowing users to run them in a streamlined manner over surfaces. This results in a more refined finish with more precise effects.
Interchangeable: Interchangeable tips allow artisans to create more versatile looks. They’re great for anyone who wants more control over their creations because tips can be switched out for varied effects.
Fixed: Fixed tips take less time to heat up. These are good for more uniform fire-writing.
Additional tips on using a pyrography pen
- If you’ve never used a pyrography pen before, purchase an easy-to-use pen at first. Starting out with a pyrography pen that has a simple ‘on/off’ switch rather than variable heats will make your first experiences with pyrography easier and more enjoyable.
- Use scrap pieces of wood to start with, then gradually progress to your nicer pieces. Perform various tests using the pyrography pen on these scrap pieces of wood. This way, you can learn the varied effects of each tip, and how working with each angle and moving it around on wood will elicit the affects that you desire.
- Above all, have patience! Like the famed tortoise in ‘Tortoise and the Hare,’ slow and steady wins the race. Understand that, like all art forms, learning to use a wood burning pen will take time. Move your hand slowly to learn how the effects of each stroke work on your chosen material. Become familiar with the different effects created with each tip of the pen.
No other art form’s appearance quite compares to that of pyrography, more widely known as wood burning. And no other artistic tool has the power to create fire-burned art pieces like the pyrography pen. The dramatic effects achieved by every artisan who uses one of these heated pens undoubtedly elicit ‘oohs and ahhs’ from all who see these beautiful works of art. If you’re a calligrapher who is looking for a more dramatic extension of your art, or simply a crafter searching for a new way to express your creativity, consider wood burning with a pyrography pen. You’ll be amazed and pleased at the artwork you produce.