What is Pyrography Art?


So what is pyrography art? The word comes from the Greek “pur” (fire) and “graphos” (writing), meaning writing with fire. In modern practise, this is more drawing than writing, with some artists creating truly fantastic pieces of art.

The exact origins of pyrography are unknown, as wood (being organic) doesn’t survive well over thousands of years. Some believe its origins pre-date history, where cavemen would use charred sticks, to mark and burn the wood. The practise of pyrography however can be traced back as far as the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), where it was known as Fire Needle Embroidery. Pyrography is an ever changing art form, as it is always being reinvented with new tools, techniques, materials and styles.

With pyrography art, there is no set style, it’s open to personal interpretation. While some artists stick to a traditional approach, others are bending the boundaries with their own unique styles, by incorporating paints, wood oils and stains.

Pyrography Tips & Tricks

If this has inspired you to start getting creative, then here is a list of useful Pyrography tip & tricks for beginners.

Pyrography for beginners – Getting a kit – Before you do anything, you’ll need to get yourself a pyrography kit. There are lots of different kits available, ranging from £10, to over £100. We recommend a mid-range pyrography kit in the regions of £20 to £40 for starters. This will help you get a feel for pyrography without investing too much money.

Watch the Experts – If you would rather watch how it’s done before jumping right in, there are plenty of professionals on YouTube, that have recorded tutorials. By watching the pro’s you maybe be able to pick up some pyrography tips and techniques.

Practise – The likelihood is that you’ll not become an instant expert the first time. Find a piece of cheap wood you can practise on to get a feel for things and how pyrography equipment works. Try out a few techniques, and styles to see how they affect the wood.

Sanding the Wood – Even if the wood appears smooth, give it a quick sand down before your start. This will ensure a smooth clean surface to work on. Using a fine grit paper will also help to ensure straighter lines and finer detail in your Pyrography Art. We recommend sanding the wood 3 or 4 times with progressively finer grits, the smoother the wood the better.

Carbon Paper – If you’re not very good at drawing, carbon paper can help you trace onto the wood, giving you a guide to follow. Simply print out the design you would like, place the carbon paper over the wood with the image on top, and trace the outline. This will transfer onto the wood giving you a clear line to follow.

Get Creative – Use your imagination to think of designs to burn into the wood. If your creative juices aren’t flowing, have a look on pinterest or esty to see what others are doing, this will help give you some inspiration. The possibilities are endless with pyrography, you can draw anything, on anything (providing its made out of wood). Why not decorate your boring wooden spoons, chopping board, customise your guitar, or make some decorations for the home.

The Finishing Touches

So you’ve now got all your pyrography tools, and you’ve just made some amazing new home decorations, what next? While you could leave it, why not give it some finishing touches, to protect the wood and give your master piece that professional finish.

At Wood Finishes Direct, we have a range of wood finishing products for arts, crafts and woodturning including wood oils, dyes and waxes. Using our craft products will not just give your work the professional finish, it will help to protect the wood and your art, making it last longer.

If you’re a potential Pyrography beginner, we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our blog and that we’ve answered the common question of ‘what is pyrography?’.

Image Sources

If you’re a seasoned Pyrographer and want to share your pyrography tips and hints, feel free to email us or comment below. If you’re a beginner and would like to share your work with us and others, feel free to send us pictures of your work.

Need Advice?

Unsure as to what wood oil or treatment to use on your Pyrography? Our team of wood finishing experts are always on hand to answer any questions you may have on which wax, oil or varnish to use. Simply call us or send us an email.


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