Learn my Art Process, a Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Wood Burned Art
Updated: Mar 6
This is a step-by-step guide to how I create a floral piece of wood burned mixed media art.
In this guide I will show you the steps to create a wood burned peony flower. I will show you how to make a beautiful piece of art that you will be proud to hang on your wall. I have been wood burning for nearly 10 years and along with my other creative skills we can construct something great.
For this project you will need:
- an image or sketch sized to your piece of wood
- a piece of wood. I am using a 4" diameter basswood
- sandpaper or sanding machine
- transfer or graphite paper
- colored pencils
- spray sealant
- hanging hardware
Step 1: Find an image
There are so many places to find art! The internet has a never-ending supply of images, some can be used for free like Unsplash and Pexels websites. Another great idea would be to use your own photos from nature, places, or people you see out in the world.
If you have an image you want to use, think how would it look if a lot the lines were bolded? Possibly simplify your image, take out everything but the main subject. How does it look? Do you like it? If not, slowly start adding other images or a background till you are happy. This is for you, make it how you want!
Step 2: Find Your Wood Piece
You will want a flat even surface, sketching and tracing over the rough wood is difficult and doesn't transfer well. Is your wood piece big enough to fit your image? Too small and it is hard to fit all the details. Do you want a live edge that shows the moss and bark? Or do you want a clean look with square or circle plaques? The wood I choose often depends on the image I select. Do I want it clean looking or more rustic?
“Creativity takes courage” – Henri Matisse.
Step 3: Sand Your Wood Piece
Sand, sand, sand your wood. It makes the whole process much easier, and makes your burned lines come out more precise and even.
Step 4: Transfer Your Image
Clean the sawdust off your piece. Then line up your image on the wood. Try turning it around to find the best fit. Tape it down on one side with masking tape. Cut a piece of tracing paper that is slightly bigger than the image. Place it between your image and the wood, making sure you have the transfer side down on the wood. Trace all the lines you want to show up.
Step 5: Burn the Lines
I set up my wood burning machine near a window with a small fan to help ventilate. Make sure you have a clear space to create. I start my machine on a lower heat setting and turn it up as needed. I burn all the lines that I had transferred from before. Go slowly, no need to rush!
Step 6: Watercolors
By having layers of colors gives more substance to a piece. Making the colors deeper, more vivid. I start with a layer of watercolors, letting colors blend on the wood. Then it let dry before adding the colored pencils.
Step 7: Colored Pencils
I use the colored pencils to blend the colors together and making a more cohesive look. By using different shades of colors helps to create highlights and shadows, that bring the image to life.
Step 8: Sign Your Work
You put in the hard work, sign it! I use a branding iron, like the image here. But even signing with a permanent marker, your name or initials, gives the art piece meaning.
Step 9: Spray Clear Sealant
This step helps to seal your new art. Many things can happen, this gives extra peace of mind that it's protected. I use the spray because it is the easiest for me to use but there all many other options.
Step 10: Attach Hardware
The final step would be to attach wall hanging hardware or a magnet. There are many kinds of hardware, use what you have. In this case, I used a sawtooth wall hanger.
Voila! All done!
All done! Step back and admire your hard work. You created something original and beautiful!
Share Your Work
I hope you had fun making this lovely flower wood burned art. Please tag, copy, or email me a picture of your piece.