This art has been around since the dawn of time; the Egyptians have been doing it as well as some African tribes.

Some enthusiasts have hypothesized that it has been around for quite a long time, and they believe it even dates back to prehistory when our ancestors would write using the charred remains of the fire they lit the previous night.


There has also been evidence of wood burning in China which dates back to the Han Dynasty where they have the “Fire Needle Embroidery”; it was not until the Victorian era when the term pyrography was coined to replace what has been called as “pokerwork”.

This started the proliferation of tools and pyrography machines that fired the trend to what we know now.

If you have been thinking of getting into this art and would like to get to know the basics, then you are in the right place. There are some things that you need to know first before you get your hands on these tools; remember, it is art done with fire and electricity.

Here are some basic things you need to know first:

What is Wood Burning?

It is called Pyrography which is derived from the Greek word PUR which means fire, and GRAPHOS which means writing. In other words, ‘writing on wood with fire’.

The earlier evidence of these are usually found on wooden musical instruments and leather-work and other tools with the same material, but now, with a little know-how and some safety measures you can also create your own wood burnt art.

The History of Wood Burning

In the 19th century, soldering pens and wood burning machines were invented which gave birth to the pyrography machines we now have.

Soon after, an architect from Melbourne, Australia developed a way to apply water-based paint that allowed additional tinting and shading which were previously unheard of.

This not only improved the quality and the result, but it also inspired creativity and ingenuity which sparked more complex designs.

As the new age enters, more pyrography machines were invented and made with electricity. This further improved the end products and made this pokerwork automated.

Wood Burning Books

Sometimes nothing beats a good book on the subject so we have compiled a short list of books you may want to consider. This is by no means a definitive list of pyrography books, but we have to start somewhere 🙂

Great Book of Woodburning: Pyrography Techniques, Patterns, and Projects for all Skill Levels

This is where the secrets of incredible artistry are spilled and this is the best one out there when you start to get serious about your craft. The great book of woodburning is definitely one to consider adding to your library of knowledge.

Basic Wood Burning

This basic wood burning book is expertly written with the lowest skills set in mind. This is an ideal book for beginners because the writer has merged the skill building and tutorial in six easy to follow projects.

Pyrography Workbook: A Complete Guide to the Art of Woodburning

This is a best seller from the same author who wrote the Basic Wood Burning book which has six easy projects to help you build your pyrography skills.

Here in the workbook, you will be able to build on the skills you were able to hone in the previous book and create stunning artwork with step-by-step instructions.

Pyrography for Beginners: 10 Cool Wood Burning Projects

This book is one of the more popular books for beginners since it is very simple and easily understood.

It has such easy tutorials that can help any beginner to turn any piece of wood to a piece of art.

Wood burning tools for beginners

This is where it all boils down; what are the tools needed of a budding artist like you? Listed below are some essentials of this art form:

Wood burning pens

There are tons of sources out there when it comes to wood burning tips, and you can get them from shops, buy them online, or even make them yourself if you have a little bit of some electrical experience.

When it comes to your main tool for this craft, you have to be very picky, look into these things when shopping:

  • How quickly does it heat up? Of course, you don’t want to wait all day.
  • How are the tips? Are they changeable and versatile enough for your needs?
  • Is the temperature variable or does it stay on one level? You may want to vary the levels depending on your need.

Pen tips

These tips will allow you to vary the thickness and the shape of your lines depending on your need when it comes to your craft.

Similar to your wood burning pen, pen tips can also be purchased all over.

You can first try out the most basic one like the round writing tips or the pointed ones and start to build your artillery once you have an idea what designs you like to burn.