November 5, 2021

Coloring Wood Burning Projects

There are many ways of coloring wood burning projects. One way is to use stencils. Stencils are like miniature wood burning patterns. They are created with an object called a grommet. You can create things like animals, trees, etc. Grommets come in various sizes and make stenciling easier. You can use them with a variety of things other than wood. You can color plastic to create permanent stencils. You can paint china with stencils to give a delicate finish. If you wish to use a stencil to create a design on a wooden surface, you can paint a design with a hand tool or a hand sander, then place the stencil on the surface and burn. We will assume that you already have the best wood for pyrography.

Adding color to wood burning

Wood burned art is so beautiful but adding color makes it magical. A little pop of color gives a dramatic effect to your project, and your item becomes live. There are multiple ways to add color to wood that makes projects beautiful. 

You need a walnut hollow creative Woodburner, walnut hollow wood surface, color medium of choice, and sealant if you want. Other coloring options are chalk, pastels, food dyes, colored pencils, oil paints, and crayons. 


Choose a wood surface that suits your project. Walnut Hollow wood surfaces make better surfaces.  Basswood surfaces are beautiful when painted, and pine and Birch’s wood are also good alternatives. 

Design your piece, and wood burn it onto the surface you have chosen. That allows you to showcase your creativity. The process makes painting smooth and easy to use.

Choose your color medium.  Since many things work on most wood surfaces, choose wisely—wet mediums such as watercolor spread outside of your design on softer woods like pine.

Adding different backgrounds

Backgrounds use shading, filling, or dotting. Maintain the skills you are most comfortable with when starting background work. Filling in the wood background with a torch or a pen tip is a popular method for background work. You are allowed to use long lines to create a smooth and even wood background.

Shading in various areas gives a stimulating and Basswood effect to a background. Keep the surface area around your design light and add darker shading to the border to bring visual focus to your image. The dotting technique requires the use of a round pen tip. Note that different projects require different backgrounds, so keep working with what works best for you and your design. 

Coloring, filling, and outlining

Choose any method of your choice, from watercolor pencils to markers. Pencils have more extensive assortments, and they appear as a regular colored pencil would on paper or wood. 

When moistened with alcohol, the color dissolves into the paint. That differs when it comes to colored pencils. It tints the surface of the wood and allows the wood color to penetrate the wood fibers. Coloring dry pencils, moisten them with a brush, and it integrates better with the wood. 

Transparent colors give a natural look to your items. After the colors, rub in some alcohol in a small dish and soak a soft brush in it. Watercolor pencils require water, but water raises the grain of the wood, which is why you should use alcohol. White watercolor pencils make some shades more pastel.

Heat settings

Start at about 320 degrees Fahrenheit up to about 500 degrees. The wood starts burning, and you can see it change irreversibly. Sometimes it shrinks and cracks. At some point, any temperature above about 390 degrees, the wood will catch fire.

Designing a pattern

Go over the wood first with some light sanding paper. Use #220 grit to sand better. Remove the particles with a tack cloth to avoid raising the grain of the wood. If your design needs a border, draw it on the wood first. Cut the paper that matches the size of the box top, and use blue tape on four corners to keep it stable.

Do not cut corners at this stage, since they show in the final product. A design helps you in balance, repetition, harmony, proportion, contrast, and unity. Whichever wood design you choose, work at it until you produce it as it is. It might not be as original as the one you have, but copying gives you something almost similar.

When searching for a new design, draft it in the sketchbook until you get something you like. It takes several tries to smooth out the bumps. After the wood design refines and perfects the wood design, then transfer it onto tracing paper. Using tracing paper makes it easier to transfer the design onto the wood. You are allowed to practice color combinations on some scrap wood or paper before you move to your surface.

How to Color Stain Wood for Crafts

  1. Gather your tools and materials to get started.
  2. In your paint tray, add enough water to cover the area you wish to stain. 
  3. Drop a small dab of acrylic paint to the side of the water.
  4. Mix enough of the paint to color the water. Do not add too much. It is better to add more water and less paint. For a darker surface, add a second coat. It darkens the wood color when the first coat dries. Allow the grain of the wood to show through the stain.

Using Tracing Paper

To transfer the design, place an old piece of carbon paper between the drawing and the wood. Avoid using new carbon paper because it tends to transfer the lines too intensely. 

However, it remains possible to use a very light touch as well. Some woodworkers do not like to use carbon paper since it has a very subtle greasiness, which sometimes affects the color of the wood-burning. You may choose to rub the back of the design with a colored chalk pencil.

Whichever method you choose, go over the lines on top of the drawing using scribing tools, such as a dried-out rollerball pen or engraver. After transferring the design, do not remove the tape since you might have missed some lines.

Using Colored Pencils

Watercolor paints work just like water paint. They are bright and add color, and they are easy to control and easier to use on detailed work. The pencil produces color and makes use of a water brush for blending.

Using Watercolor Paints

Choose a watercolor paint with decent color. Watercolor brings variations in the wood surface, and the density affects the watercolor. It leaves fun patterns and hue differences in the project, which takes away the evenness on the wood surface. 

Using Acrylic Paint

When using acrylic paints to fill in a wood-burned design, the paint comes in thick layers. The application method depends on your wood design. Work on the skill of adding varying shades. That makes acrylic a good option. The slightly thick paint is easy to control and works on any wood surface.


Markers also add color to your wood-burned design.  Like watercolor, they bleed if the wood is soft. Make sure you test a small part of the wood piece before applying it to your final design.  The markers flow smoothly like the watercolor pencils. 

They are precise and easy to control. Basswood is one of the best planks that take all the color options so well. When done adding color, you can seal the wood piece with any sealant of your choice. Sealing increases the life of your outdoor items. Here is How much to charge for pyrography.

David D. Hughes
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