Handcrafted How To :: Wood Burned Brooch


Every now and then I like to share how to make things I enjoy creating. Well, one of my beginning posts on this blog was a look back at some past projects I’ve done, which featured my first wood burned project (and still my favorite). I want to introduce you to the world of pyrography (translated to fire writing, also known as wood burning).

I’ve made tons of wood burned brooches (and I’ll talk more on that at the end) but after many requests, I’m going to show you how. So if you want to sport your favorite character, quote, book, show, your love of nature or whatever your heart desires, you can!


A wood pog │A practice piece of wood (see the one with markings in the image above)│A pyrography tool (I use this one, which you can find at Joann’s for half the price with a coupon- always use a coupon at Joann’s)│Pyrography tips and metal holder (they come with the set if you buy it)│Container for hot tips (I highly suggest ceramic- I use that white bowl I got for free)│Tracing paper│A piece of foam with a hole the shape of your pog cut out│Scissors│Tape│Pin backing│E-6000 Glue




Note: Skip Steps 1-9 if you are drawing your design directly onto the wood before burning. These steps are just for transferring your design.

STEP 1 : Using your tracing paper, pencil and pog – trace around your pog on your paper. This is to let you know how much space you have to work with for your design.

STEP 2: Draw your design and then erase that circle you drew.

STEP 3: Select a flat tip. Starter kits generally come with two types of flat tips, either will do. Screw it on, plug your pyrography tool in and let it heat up. It should take a couple of minutes.


STEP 4: Scan your image into Photoshop

STEP 5: Darken it by going to Image ->Adjustments-> Levels. Once in Levels move the bar over to the right until it’s nice and dark but not blotchy.

STEP 6: Flip the image (especially if you are doing words). We are doing this because we’ll be transferring the image onto the wood. To do this go to Image -> Image Rotation -> Flip Canvas Horizontal

*If you don’t have Photoshop, any photo editing software will work that will allow you to darken and flip it. I darken it so that it’s more likely to transfer.

Now you are going to transfer your design onto the wood. This makes it easier for your wood burn to be accurate.


STEP 7 :  Print out the image you scanned and edited (using an inkjet printer). I recommend printing it out on tracing paper because if you use thicker paper it will likely not transfer and will just burn the paper. Also, it allows you to see through a bit so you are aligning it over the wood properly. Then put a piece of tape at the top of your printed design and put your pog in the hole you made in your foam. This hole is meant to keep it in place so that there is no smudging during the transfer.

STEP 8 : Using your heated pyrography pen, lightly press and do circles on the image so that it starts to heat transfer. I recommend doing one press on your scrap pog/wood because it’s going to be very hot.

STEP 9 : With one finger holding the back, peel it back to see how much has transferred. Then go over it until enough is transferred to burn.


That’s what your pogs should look like after transferred. It won’t look perfect but it will give you enough on to have a nice base for burning.

Okay, ready to burn?



STEP 10 : Switch to your classic tip. It’s a tip that comes with every kit out there and looks like a crease. Use that to wood burn all outlines and lines in general.

STEP 11 : Switch to your rounded tip to do filler and shading.


  • When switching tips (this is very important) make sure that you let the pyrography pen cool down all the way, then switch. I unplug it between switches. I once read an ‘expert’ say that you can use pliers to take the tip off when hot and switch it. I did that and it killed the inside of my tool, and so I had to get another one if I was going to keep wood burning.
  • Before you put your pen to the wood, always test it on a piece of wood. The tool cools down when used so when unused it’s really hot.
  • Once you put the pen to the wood, try what they call the ‘landing method,’ where you lightly touch and then glide. This is to prevent globs.
  • The longer the line you are burning, the quicker the pen is going to cool down. So you are constantly going to be gliding the pen and lifting, gliding and lifting. Every time you lift it regains its heat.
  • Be patient- Pyrography is not a quick, throw together project.
  • I recommend wood burning pens that let you adjust the heat. I’d avoid ones that have only one setting. However, once I do find my setting, I put tape over the adjuster so that it doesn’t move when I’m burning.


STEP 12 : The final step is to make it a pin. E-6000 is probably the most popular jewelry and accessories’ glue. Take your glue and put it on the back of the pin. Make sure the pin works first. Then, making sure your pin is in the position you’d like it, push the pin on with the glue. I smudge it around a bit because no one’s looking at the back and we want to make sure it’s nice and secure. Let it dry and voila, a brooch!

Like I mentioned, I’ve done a lot of these. That’s because I started an Etsy shop a while back dedicated to ‘geeky’ wood burned pins. I only kept it open for four months but either way it was a blast filling orders. Below are just some of the ones I made from Dexter to How I Met Your Mother quotes.


Whew. That was a lot of steps. Even with all of those steps, do not be intimated. Anyone can wood burn. There are masters of this craft doing some really neat things. Give them a look up, but if you want something simple to share with the world, go for it!

And here are one of the pins in action. ^__^


Some other uses for a pin/brooch are on bags, on a hat, tie, to hold together a scarf (instead of a knot) and darn near anywhere else you’d like!


Handcrafted How To :: Postcard Pendants


I’ve recently become a lover of old postcards. Ever since I found this little corner of history in an antique mall in Austin, I fell in love. I’d just sit down and flip through thousands of postcards, as hours passed me by. It’s not about the thing, the postcards themselves. It’s about the stories they tell. They inspire. They bring back. They give us a glimpse into the past and what life was like ‘back when.’ My favorites are postcards of painted places. And so I’m going to share a tutorial with you for making postcard pendants. Maybe you have a favorite place, a dream destination. With this tutorial, you’ll be able to wear that place around your neck as constant inspiration for dreaming big.


Hammer │ Chisel │Mod Podge – Dimensional Magic │Postcards│Scissors│Necklace Supplies │An old pendant (either earrings or a necklace pendant will work – preferably used, so as to upcycle and make use of what is already available) │A pin


STEP 1 : Peruse through and pick out your favorite postcards.

STEP 2 : Find an old pendant. It can be in the form of earrings (which are great because then you can make two necklaces) or a necklace. I found these at a local thrift shop. The best places are thrift shops, garage sales, estate sales and Craigslist. As with all of my tutorials, everything is as repurposed as possible.

STEP 3 : Use your chisel and hammer and gut out the inside. Just make sure it’s as flat as possible. You’re not always going to be able to get all of it out though, and that’s okay.


STEP 4 : Pick out a spot that you want to use in your post card for the pendant. Here is a trick (which I didn’t include in the supplies because it’s optional) – create a stencil for the shape you need. I found an old plastic bottle and cut my needed shape out of it. Clear is best because then you can be sure what you are cutting out is what you want.


STEP 5 : Cut out your piece and put it in the pendant. If it’s nice and snug, then it may be fine. But just in case, use some glue to get it in. Otherwise it will rise and bubble when you add in the mod podge.


STEP 6 : Take your dimensional mod podge and slowly fill the pendent, covering the image completely. Use the pin if you get any bubbles. Your finger will also suffice. It will be very fuzzy at first. Let it sit for 3 hours and you will have a clear postcard pendent, turning the discarded into the cherished.

For the curious:  The other postcard I used is an old car driving down Big Foot Pass in South Dakota.

What place would you choose for a postcard pendant?


Also, after a lot of thinking and messing around with my shop website, I’ve decided to hold off on the shop for a few reasons. Mostly, I’ve had an idea for a different shop for a long time that I’m super stoked about and I’ve decided to focus on that idea. So I’ll share that once it comes to fruition. In the meantime, I’m going to share what I hope are original and helpful tutorials. If you see what you like, I’m willing to sell them and will only charge for the cost of the items and shipping, so as to cover my costs.

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