© 2007 Rocky Mountain Gourd Art
All rights reserved.
Wood burning, professionally known as Pyrography, is a fine art. Applying this art medium to gourds has been around for a long time.
I do not pretend to be an expert, in fact, I would be considered a budding artist in the art medium of pyrography using gourds. I have learned some basic methods through classes and videos on the Internet. I am going to give you information on one basic method that has served to get me started in this interesting artwork method with gourds.
When dried properly, gourds acquire the consistency of wood. The gourd shell hardens and the shell of the gourd looks and feels like light balsa wood. When wood burning is applied, the shell reacts as if you were wood burning on actual wood.
There are several types of wood burning - pyrography tools. Depending on the amount of wood burning you intend to do, and how much money you want to invest, will determine the wood burning - pyrography tool and equipment you will need.
I use a Detail Master IV - Sabre. I use an 1-A standard tip that is not an inter-changeable tip. The non-interchangeable tips last longer than the changeable tips, but are more expensive.
The Detail Master unit has an adjustable heat dial that gives you more versatility when you are wood burning your design onto the gourd. But you can use a simple, less expensive, soldering iron that comes with several tips. The less expensive soldering iron takes more skill and practice to get the results you may desire in your gourd design. Being able to adjust the heat of your wood burning tip gives you more options when applying such effects as shading and depth to your design.
Check out our gourd store for wood burning tools and supplies.
When wood burning any project, be it a gourd or piece of wood, make sure you have ample ventilation. The gourd surface will smoke and give off an odor of burnt wood.
To begin your gourd pyrography project, choose a pattern or subject you would like to design.
There are web sites on the Internet that offer free wood carving patterns that can be used for your design. Or choose any "non-copyrighted" picture, make a black and white copy of it to use as your pattern. If you are artistically gifted, draw your own design on paper.
I begin by tracing my design on 3" wide masking tape that I have laid out in overlapping strips on an acrylic board. You will need a surface that will be suitable for cutting with a craft blade or utility knife. I use fabric tracing paper to trace my design onto the masking tape, but graphite paper can be used to trace designs onto masking tape or directly onto your gourd surface.
After tracing the design pattern onto the masking tape, I then cut out around the design with a craft knife, leaving a small border of tape around the design. I carefully peel the cut out design and place it on the surface of my gourd. You can work the tape around the curvature of the gourd surface as you press it into place. Using the masking tape also allows you to carefully remove your design and reposition it if necessary. Once your design is placed onto the gourd surface, you can better smooth out the tape.
I make small cuts at the corners of the tape so that it will better conform to the curved surface of the gourd.
Now it is time to wood burn your pattern onto the surface of the gourd. You can burn right through the masking tape. Carbon will build up on the tip of your wood burning pen, so it is important to keep it clean and carbon free so that you will have nice crisp lines and not have any over-burn on your pattern.
Always hold your wood burning tip at approximately a 45 degree angle when using it.
Applying more pressure with your wood burning tip or having the tip at a higher heat temperature will determine how deep and how dark your wood burning pattern lines will be. I set my Detail Master heat temperature dial between 5 and 6. This setting seems to be the best for my wood burning needs. Experiment, but be careful.......the gourd surface can catch fire just the same as a piece of wood.
After wood burning your pattern design onto the gourd, peel off the masking tape.
Your design will now be permanently on your gourd. Clean off any tape residue with baby wipes. Using this method of pattern transfer and wood burning will make it unnecessary to remove pencil markings and graphite transfer marks left behind using other traditional transfer techniques.
CLEANING WOOD BURNING TIPS
Keeping your wood burning tip clean is essential. Not only will it prolong the life of your tip, but your pyrography design will have clean crisp lines and shading. Using masking tape as a design transfer can cause your wood burning tip to build up carbon faster, as you are burning through the sticky tape as well as into the gourd surface. I turn off my wood burning unit and let the tip cool before I clean it. I use a fine emery cloth or super fine (400 grit), waterproof sandpaper. I hold the tip at an angle so that when I DRAW BACK the tip across the sandpaper in short, straight strokes, the motion will clean the tip and also put a nice sharp edge on my tip. I do not apply a lot of pressure, it is not needed and could bend your tip. There are special tip cleaning kits available on the Internet or you also could use a knife blade sharpening soap stone. Keeping your tip clean of carbon build up is a must.
The graphic logos used in linking on our site are the soul property of said agency or company.
From the Window places no claims of ownership on logo graphics used for linking purposes.
It is From the Windows intent to provide the links for information purposes only.
From the Window is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by any of these companies listed.