5 Best Types of Wood for Wood Burning Art (Pyrography)

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Pyrography or pyrogravure as we also call it occupies a unique position as a particular art form using wood as a medium The technique involves applying heat in a controlled manner to wood to create burn marks. Since the object that we use to apply burn marks often resembles a red-hot poker, this art form is also known as pokerwork.

In this post, we do not go into the details of the actual art of pyrography, as several books are available on the subject. Although we do mention a few well-known titles, we will focus on the various tools you can use for Pyrography art. Then, we go on to the best wood for wood burning art. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the tools for wood burning art to get you started:

Stallion Pyrography art
Stallion Pyrography art (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Best Wood for Wood Burning Art (Pyrography)

With a book in hand and some tools and other materials at the ready, all you need is some wood to get started. Here is a list of the best wood for wood burning art that you can get:


Alder 3/4" x 2" x 12" - 4 Pack
Alder wood. See on Amazon.

This dark hardwood burns easily and smoothly due to the lack of resin. You can get it easily, and it is a cheap option.


  • Easy to burn
  • No sap
  • Cheap option


  • Limited dimensions
  • Dark-colored wood
  • Grainy pattern


BQLZR 300x200x1.5mm Rectangle Unfinished Unpainted Basswood Wooden Sheets for Craft DIY Hand-Made Project Mini House Building Architectural Model Pack of 5
Rectangle Unfinished Unpainted Basswood. See on Amazon.

Here is another wood that is cheap and readily available. An added advantage of this wood is that the grain is minimized, which helps in highlighting the strokes of the tips.


  • Cheap wood
  • Absence of sap or resin
  • Light-colored wood
  • Readily available


  • Wood is a bit too soft for some projects
  • Dents easily


10 Pack of Thin Brazilian Cherry Wood Boards (Jatoba)
Cherry Wood Boards. See on Amazon.

This reddish-brown hardwood is a difficult option to work with due to its irregular dark color. However, there is a lot of potential in creating multiple designs if you can work around different shades.


  • Does not contain sap or resin
  • Can create some interesting designs and patterns


  • Sometimes too dark
  • Color is not uniform


1 Maple Board @ 1/4 x 5 x 24 inches
Maple wood. See on Amazon.

This light-colored wood with minimal grain does well for use in wood burning art. However, it is an expensive wood. But with the absence of resin, it is favored by many wood-burning artists.


  • Light-colored wood
  • Minimal grain
  • High resistance to gouges


  1. Not readily available
  2. Expensive

Pacific Albus

Very similar to balsa, this wood gives you a hybrid feel as you work on it. It is a very light wood with minimum grain and resin. Hence, it is a preferred option among wood burning artists. Another added advantage is that it can be bent into different shapes.


  • Light-colored wood
  • Absence of sap or resin
  • Cost-effective option
  • Can be bent and shaped


  • Can get deformed with the heat
  • Easily damaged by pen tips and other sharp objects

You can get good results by using any of the types of wood mentioned here. However, avoid using MDF or other engineered wood, as you will not be able to create satisfactory burn marks.

Getting started with Wood Burning Art

Pyrography art
Pyrography art (Image: Amy Meredith)

The first thing you need to do obviously is to get a set of tools for your pyrography projects. You can get a basic beginner kit if you are new to this art. The wood-burning tool looks like a soldering iron, but the tip gets considerably hotter. There is a controller to regulate the heat of the tip.

If you buy a complete kit, you will get all the stuff you need to get started. However, if you only buy the tool, then you need a set of tips. You will also require a pair of needle-nose pliers and some sandpaper. You should stock up on some black carbon tracing paper to transfer printed images onto your wood.

Other items that you will require are a ceramic tile or bowl for placing hot tips, pencil, eraser, a respirator, electric fan, and heat resistant gloves. If you would like to apply a finish to the surface of your completed artwork, you can get suitable clear lacquer, varnish, or wood stains.

Wood Burning Tools Available On The Market

Here are a few good products that you can order online for your wood-burning projects:

Petuol Wood Burning Kit (ideal for beginners)

82 PCS Wood Burning Kit, Father's Day Wood Tool with Adjustable On-Off Switch Control Temperature 200~450 ℃ Professional Wood Burning Pen and DIY Various Wooden Kits Carving/Embossing/Soldering Tips
Petuol Wood Burning Kit. See on Amazon.

Product Description

You would do well to get started with this economically-priced wood burning kit. Eighty-two pieces include a wood-burning pen, stencils, and assorted tips and accessories you will need to do wood burning art.

Walnut Hollow Creative Wood Burning Tool With 11 Wood Burning Tips (A good options for experienced artists)

Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool with Versa-Temp Variable Temperature Control & 11 Woodburning Points (Tips)
Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool with Versa-Temp. See on Amazon.

Product Description

Here’s a wood-burning tool with temperature control and assorted tips for actual artwork. As an experienced artist, you will find this tool quite handy. The grip is comfortable, and the heat shield protection makes it easy to stand it up. You can also work other materials like leather and cork with this wood burning tool from Walnut Hollow.

Arokimi Wood Burning Kit (budget pick)

Upgraded Wood Burning Kit 47PCS,Wood Burner Pyrography Pen with Adjustable Temperature/Soldering Tips/CarvingKnife /Embossing/Stencil+Stand
Arokimi Wood Burning Kit. See on Amazon.

Product description

If you are looking for a cheap option to do some basic wood burning art, this wood burning kit from Arokimi is a good option. With 33 different tips and accessories, it is a highly affordable option for beginners and experts alike. You can get temperatures ranging from 200°C to 450°C with the burning tool of this wood burning kit.

Useful Books On Wood Burning Art

Here are two excellent books on wood burning art that you might like to order online to put you on the right track:

Great Book of Woodburning by Laura S. Wish

Great Book of Woodburning: Pyrography Techniques, Patterns and Projects for all Skill Levels (Fox Chapel Publishing) 30 Original, Traceable Designs and Step-by-Step Instructions from Lora S. Irish
Great Book of Woodburning by Laura S. Wish. See on Amazon.

Learn about the secrets of pyrography from this 200-page book, complete with illustrations. The book by Laura S. Wish includes 30 patterns with step-by-step instructions. You can try the recommended skill-building exercises to improve your wood burning art skills, which are modeled on various pyrography methods.

Pyrography Workbook: A Complete Guide to the Art of Woodburning by Sue Walters

Pyrography Workbook: A Complete Guide to the Art of Woodburning (Fox Chapel Publishing) Step-by-Step Projects and Original Patterns for Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced Woodburners
Pyrography Workbook: A Complete Guide to the Art of Woodburning by Sue Walters. See on Amazon

This detailed workbook by Sue Walters will help you with the practical aspects of woodburning from setting up safely, to creating designs and using different techniques and accessories. It also includes a section on usage of color in pyrography.

If you still need to know more, click here for more online information on various aspects of pyrography.


We hope that you find this post on wood burning art helpful and you get the information that you need to get started. Now you know the requirements in the way of tools and other materials and accessories.

You can also get any of the two books we mentioned to help you on your way, or you can find many other useful titles if you browse the internet. There is no limit to creativity, and nothing can stop you from creating beautiful wood-burning artworks if you have it in you. Happy wood burning!


Featured Image by grizzlymountainarts