DIY wood-burned coasters


I LOVE these little things – even if I do say so myself! I first got the idea for making my own coasters when I stumbled across a how-to guide on this American lifestyle blog over a year ago. At the time I didn't really know much about pyrography (the art of wood-burning) but I did know I wanted to make some personalised coasters for when me and my boyfriend Matt move into our new home (saying M & M, of course!). That bit is yet to come (in April, woohoo!) so when Matt bought me a pyrography kit for Christmas, I decided to make these rustic beauties for my friend Dana's 30th birthday instead. 

She and her boyfriend are in the process of renovating a barn out in the countryside. They love all things wooden and Dana loves owls – so you can see where I got my inspiration from!

This project was my first go with the pyrography tool and it did take a bit of getting used to. In fact, I practised first on a piece of scrap wood because I didn't want to mess anything up. Now I've got the hang of it it's my new obsession and I'll have a few more items coming up on the blog soon. 

You will need

4 wooden discs (mine were around 11cm wide and I ordered them from eBay)
4 pictures you want to burn onto your coasters
A pyrography tool (you can buy these for as little as £15 online)
1 piece of carbon paper 
Pen or pencil
A heat resistant mat

I started by finding some pictures online that I wanted to print on the coasters, then resized each one to 8cm wide on the computer (well, my dad did because I can't seem to work these things out myself) to make sure they would fit inside my 11cm coasters. I didn't end up using the '30' you can see in the pics here. Instead, I added a little 30 into the bird box on one of the other designs.

Working on a heat resistant mat, I centred each design over a coaster then carefully slid the carbon paper behind it. Using a pen, I traced around the image so the carbon paper would imprint it onto the wood.

I started using the calligraphy tip (the standard one that comes fitted to your pyrography tool) to go along the edges.

Then I finished off using a sharp-pointed tip to fill in any tiny details. Ta daaaa!

And here's me working on the last one!

Useful tips 

It's quite a slow process. Rather than drawing smoothly with the tool, you have to press and hold it down in one place in order for it to burn a mark. There are more expensive tool available which have wire loop tips and are hooked up to a mains transformer. These seem to let you draw easily, but I think the cheaper versions are a great place to start. Perhaps one of those can be my next birthday present… (hint hint). 

When changing tips on your pyrography tool, always unplug it and use a pair of pliers to remove the hot tip. 

My tool started to get VERY hot where my fingers were holding the plastic, so on designs that took a bit longer – like the Home Sweet Home one – I wore a heat resistant glove for protection.

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