Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Damselflies Complete

In my last post I left you with a sketch of a damselfly pyrography image that I was working on and hinted that I was going use a bit of colour

Below you can see the finished product and I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.

After using my pyrography iron to burn the images onto the wooden plaque, I used a light wash of white watercolour paint to give the wings of each damselfly a transparrent look.

In the next step, it would be easy to just paint the body of the damselfly blue. However, if I did that, the colour would appear very flat. To avoid that and get the colour to shine, I always use a little white gesso for undercoat. Once that was dry, I could then paint over it with a blue acrylic. Unfortuatly, the computer based image doesn't do justice to how it looks in real life, but we shouldn't moan too much because the technology is brillliant.

The last thing I did was give the whole thing 3 coats of varnish for protection and to enhance the work.

A word of warning here; if you are going to use water colour in any of your pyrography projects.Varnish comes in two versions; one is liquid in a tin that needs to be applied with a brush and the second comes in a spray can.  When you use watercolor paints, always use spray varnish because if you don't the paint will smudge when you brush the varnish on. And you don't want that I can assure you.

Now then, those who have followed my posts will already know that my other half is very artistic and pretty damn crafty. She has done some beautiful paintings which you can see by clicking on the following link  http://www.nosam45.freeserve.co.uk/. She has also made some classy cards and decorated some fantastic boxes. However, having seen me burning away quite contentedly, with my pyrography iron, she decided she wanted to have a go.

In my next post I will show you how she got on.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Hi all
I have had a design rumbling about in my head for a while, so I decided I'd get it out of my system by burning it into some wood with my pyrography iron.
I also had some spare plaques that I have been using to make table centre pieces so I thought I would do the pyrography on one of them. Doing round designs is fun because you have to ensure that the image looks good from all sides.

Anyway, the pyrography design I had in my mind was of  some damselflies and some reeds.

Step 1 I started by drawing around the outside of the plaque to give me the correct size.
Step 2 I drew two damselflies; one with the wings open and one with them shut. See the picture below.

Step 3 I scanned the drawing into photoshop, then copied and pasted another damselfly with its wings open. I could have done more, but I think three suited the design that was in my head.
Step 4 I cut and pasted all three damselflies. This gave time the ability to be able to move them about and position them anywhere I liked on the drawing by using the 'move' tool.
Step 5 When that was done, I printed a copy off and drew in some reeds.
Step 6 Once I was happy with the position of the reeds and, the composition as a whole, I scanned the image again. See below.

The reason I scanned it again was to get a copy onto my computer so that it if I wanted to use the design again it would be readily available. Here is the finished design.  Please feel free to run a copy off for your own use (Non-commercial) if you would like to have a go. If you do, I would love to see a picture of the results.

Step 7 I used tracedown paper to transfer the image to the plaque so that I could start the pyrography process.

At the time of writing the pyrography was almost complete. However, I have it in my mind to use a bit of colour on the damselflies and will show you them in my next post in a few days.

If you would like to see some more of my pyrography work please follow this link http://www.shirewriting.co.uk/
If you wold like to find out more about my books please follow this link http://www.georgefmason.co.uk/

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pyrography Iris

Hi all, In this post I thought I'd go through the steps I took to complete my latest pyrography project.I had a nice round plaque and, rather than do something to hang on the wall, I decided that, with the right image, it would make a nice table centre piece.

In the end, I settled for an Iris flower. This would have to be mutiplied beause it would need to look good from each side of the table.

1) The first thing I did was to measure the size of the plaque so that I knew how big to draw my iris. It happened to be 170mm diameter.

2) I did a drawing of an iris and, because I didn't want the images of the flowers to be touching in the middle, I made it about 80mm tall.

3) Next, I scanned the drawing of the iris into my computer using photoshop elements.

4) Then I increased the size of my canvas to 170mm. It is important here to note that you are increasing the size of the canvas and not the size of the image. Also you need to make sure that your original image is anchored in the bottom centre of the canvas.

5) I selected my Iris and then cut and pasted it three times. Then I used the 'move tool' to position and orientate the image.

6) I printed off a copy of the image and transferred it, using Tracedown paper, to my plaque.

7) Using my pyrography iron, I then burnt in the outline of each flower and then did the shading. It is the actual shading that gives the flower some form, so this needs to be done with care. Always start your pyrography iron off where you want your darkest mark to be, and move your tip in the direction of the flower's growth. This makes it look natural. I use a medium heat setting and spoon tip for this sort of work.

8) Once the flowers were completed, I drew some reeds onto the plaque with a pencil and then burnt them in with the pyrography iron.

9) Once the pyrography work was complete it was given three coats of lacquer to protect the wood and give the finish a rich look.

10) To finish the item off completely a nice piece of felt was glued to the bottom.

Below you can see the finished result. I like it and think that it would look good in the centre of anybody's table or leaning on a dresser.

I hope you were able to follow the steps I went through here because they form the basis for most of my work. If you have any questions I would be pleased to try and answer them. If you can't be bothered with photoshop, but would like to try this project for yourself, please feel free to take a copy of my design. As long as you only use it for your own pleasure and not commercial production I don't mind. In fact, it would be nice if you could send me a photo of anything you produce.

If you would like to see some more of my pyropgraphy work Please click here.

If you would like to find out more about me or my books please click here.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A Little Pot

Hi all,

Sorry this post is a bit late, but I've been busy working on my next book. However, I have had a short break and managed to get the pyrography iron out. Because I wanted to get a quick result I decided to have a go at a trinket pot.

I love these little pots because they look great, even before they have been worked on. Anyway, a few months ago I did one of these pots with a daisy design on it and it looked really good. In fact, it sold almost as quickly as I put it on the Folksy.com website. So I decided to do another.

I drew the daises on the pot - three on the lid and four on the sides - by hand. Then I burnt them in with my pyrography iron. Once that was done, I used my pyrography iron to follow the grain of the wood to enhance it. When this was complete, I used the iron to shade in some areas of the pot to darken it and give it a rich look. I took particular care to darken the wood around the daisies because they would be painted white and the contrast would make them stand out. If you want your pyrography design to be successful, it is important to put light next to dark and vice versa.

Once I'd finished the pyrography part, I painted the petals of the daisies with acrylic paint. White for the petals and yellow for the centres. Once dry I gave the whole thing three coats of lacquer and my wife covered the base inside and out with a nice dark brown felt.

The finished item can be seen below.

There is very little profit to be had in doing one of these small pots because I sell them very cheaply. However, I do get a lot of satisfaction from creating something nice. It isn't all about the money, if I didn't get any satisafaction I wouldn't bother getting my pyrography iron out.

For my next project I'm going to have a go at an Iris pattern for another table centre piece. Hopefully it will be finished before my next post.

If you are interested in finding out more about my pyrography or see some more of my work please click here If you would like to find out about my books please click here