digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Pyrography artwork of the Mona Lisa
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Pyrography by BTJPyro.com
The White Horse. Pyrography on Poplar Wood
The Tawny Eagle. Davide Della Noce pyrography

Pyrography or pyrogravure is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as pokerwork or wood burning.

The term means "writing with fire", from the Greek pur (fire) and graphos (writing).[1] It can be practiced using specialized modern pyrography tools, or using a metal implement heated in a fire, or even sunlight concentrated with a magnifying lens. "Pyrography dates from the 17th century and reached its highest standard in the 19th century. In its crude form it is pokerwork." [2]

A large range of tones and shades can be achieved. Varying the type of tip used, the temperature, or the way the iron is applied to the material all create different effects. After the design is burned in, wooden objects are often coloured. Light-coloured hardwoods such as sycamore, basswood, beech and birch are most commonly used, as their fine grain is not obtrusive. However, other woods, such as pine or oak, are also used. Pyrography is also applied to leather items, using the same hot-iron technique. Leather lends itself to bold designs, and also allows very subtle shading to be achieved. Specialist vegetable-tanned leather must be used for pyrography (as modern tanning methods leave chemicals in the leather which are toxic when burned), typically in light colours for good contrast.

Pyrography is also popular among gourd crafters and artists, where designs are burned onto the exterior of a dried hard-shell gourd, usually with dramatic results[citation needed].


The process has been practiced by a number of cultures including the Egyptians and some African tribes since the dawn of recorded history. Pyrographer Robert Boyer hypothesises that the art form dates back to prehistory, when early humans created designs using the charred remains of their fires.[3] It was known in China from the time of the Han dynasty, where it was known as "Fire Needle Embroidery".[4] During the Victorian era, the invention of pyrography machines sparked a widespread interest in the craft, and it was at this time that the term "pyrography" was coined (previously the name "pokerwork" had been most widely used)[5] In the late 19th century, a Melbourne architect by the name of Alfred Smart discovered that water-based paint could be applied hot to wood by pumping benzoline fumes through a heated hollow platinum pencil.[6] This improved the pokerwork process by allowing the addition of tinting and shading that were previously impossible. In the early 20th century, the development of the electric pyrographic hot wire wood etching machine further automated the pokerwork process, and Art Nouveau pyrographic gloveboxes and other works were popular in that era. Pyrography is a traditional folk art in many parts of Europe, including Romania, Hungary and Flanders, as well as Argentina and other areas in South America.


Traditional pyrography can be performed using any heated metal implement. Modern pyrography machines exist, and can be divided into three main categories.

Solid-point burners[edit]

Solid-point burners are similar in design to a soldering iron. They have a solid brass tip which is heated by an electrical element, and operate at a fixed temperature.

Wire-nib burners[edit]

Wire-nib burners have variable temperature controls. The writing nib is heated by an electrical current passing directly through it. Some models have interchangeable nibs to allow for different effects.[7]

Laser cutters[edit]

Laser cutters can be set to scorch the material instead of cutting all the way through it. Many laser cutters provide software facilities to import image files and transfer them onto a sheet of wood. Some laser systems are sufficiently sensitive to perform pyrography on thin card or even paper.


  1. ^ Marianne Podgorski; Before You Pick Up That Nib: Wood Burning 101, p7 ISBN 978-0-557-05114-4
  2. ^ "Pyrography." Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. London: Chambers Harrap, 2012. Credo Reference. Web. 2 Mar 2015.
  3. ^ Boyer, R; The Amazing Art of Pyrography, Evanston 1993, ISBN 978-1-879260-12-2
  4. ^ China Culture - pyrography
  5. ^ Walkabout Crafts - pyrography
  6. ^ Carter, Julie; With Mellow Shades and Character Made: The Richness of Australian Pokerwork in Carter's Antiques and Collectables Magazine, Sept 2000
  7. ^ Walters, S; Pyrography Workbook: A Complete Guide to the Art of Woodburning Fox Chapel 2005 p13-14 ISBN 978-1-56523-258-7

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrography — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
18347 videos foundNext > 

Pyrography Tips... The Bison

Here are some pyrography techniques that were used in The Bison pyrography created by Minisa Custom Design. https://www.facebook.com/#!/MinisaCustomDesign.

Pyrography art by jean bouick(Process of slow speed)

Process of slow speed.

Pyrography 101: Wood burning tutorial

You guys have been asking and I finally delivered. I this vid I just go over some basics like tools, materials, and basic wood burning. More to come in later...

Pyrography (wood burning) tools and techniques

Wood burning tools, techniques and cleaning. Also see How to Woodburn Your Dragon on Kindle.

Longboard Pyrography (Wood Burning)

Coloring book "Between the Lines" http://amzn.com/1495337111 My book "Line of Thought" http://amzn.com/1490405666 Website: http://www.peterdraws.com FB Page:...

Iron Transfer Patterns for Pyrography

This is how to transfer a pattern to use for pyrography or wood burning. It also works for color images printed on a laser jet printer. I show the color meth...

How I Do Pyrography - Part 1

I intended to have a short video on my process of how I do pyrography, but there was just too much information to squish into a short 15 minute video. So I'v...

Pyrography and Woodturning

Ernie Conover offers his suggestions for purchasing wood burning tools and shows off his techniques for how to make art and lettering by drawing on wood with...

Pyrography Nibs Explained - Part 4. The Shading Tip

Pyrography Nibs Explained - Part 4. (5 parts series by Sue Walters) The shading tip is the paintbrush of your burning kit. It's designed to burn or fill in b...

Pyrography Tips by Erik Brush Part 01

Pyrography Tutorial with tips for woodburning artists by Erik Brush.

18347 videos foundNext > 

1300 news items

Alberni Valley News
Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:48:46 -0800

“Merging Visions” is the title of the next art exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre featuring two artists, Kelly Carter and Karen Gamble, which combines photography and pyrography. This exhibit begins March 10 and runs until April 4. Join us in the gallery ...
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 03:26:15 -0800

The renowned Hawaii island artist, who goes by just his last name professionally, uses the painstaking processes of pyrography and pearlizing to embellish his vessels. Taking 10 to 100 hours to complete, they have become his signatures. Login for more.

Poughkeepsie Journal

Poughkeepsie Journal
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 21:03:45 -0800

Turned pieces also could be enhanced by pyrography (woodburning), texturing and carving. In addition to Bob, instruction was provided by more experienced group members. Meetings and demonstrations took place in the far end of the farm building.


Sun, 28 Sep 2014 06:51:39 -0700

One of the more interesting aspects of pyrography is that wood is not the only surface that can become a canvas; in fact, Irish states that as long as the material is grown or made from natural fibers and is free of toxic chemicals, it can be burned ...

Joplin Globe

Joplin Globe
Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:36:05 -0800

The works, done in oil, watercolor, ink and pyrography (burnt paper), feature scenes from her native Colorado and one of her favorite places, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Animals and flowers also are favorite subjects. Giltner, a Joplin ...

Brownwood Bulletin

Brownwood Bulletin
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 04:41:03 -0800

Chad Curry, who grabbed the reins as store manager for Kroger in mid-November, is seen getting his head shaven off after ending up on the wrong side of a bet he made with his employees -- raising at least $1,500 in the Kroger Souper Bowl of Caring ...

Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Citizen
Wed, 18 Feb 2015 05:00:19 -0800

It's called pyrography, or poker work, and involves heating rods or needles and using them to pierce and scorch the wood surface. The practice goes back to the 17th century, and the light-coloured woods used were chestnut, linden, maple and even holly.

Hilton Head Island Packet

Hilton Head Island Packet
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 10:00:00 -0800

Using a technique called pyrography, Simmons had burned into the wood an image of a man fishing. "This is the story of a fella ... he was fishin' and the game warden show up, saying he's caught too many fish," Simmons began, reading the piece as if it ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight