Lacquer is the best sealer for all kinds of pyrography projects. Oils like Danish, Lemon, Tung, Walnut, and mineral oil need to be used on wooden cutlery items/chopping boards. Shellac can be used on pyrography projects that aren’t exposed to heat much. Paste wax is an affordable way to seal your pyrography project while Polyurethane is a commonly used wood sealer.
Finishing a pyrography project is crucial if you want to prevent fading. There are a variety of techniques to preserve your pyrography projects.
In this article, I will discuss the ways to seal pyrography on a piece of wood.
What do you seal Pyrography with?
You can seal pyrography projects using lacquer, Oils like Danish, Lemon, Tung, Walnut, and Mineral Oil. Paste wax, Shellac, and Polyurethane can also be used to seal pyrography projects.
Let’s see the characteristics of each of the finishing products now.
Lacquer provides your craft with a durable finish. Lacquer dries off quickly and can be found at any hardware store easily.
Lacquer should be applied using a lacquer thinner at first and then can be built up for the best results. Work with lacquer in a well-ventilated area as it has a strong odor.
Lacquer ages after a while so keep this in mind when you choose this for your project. You can sand lacquer down and re-apply another coat.
Danish, lemon, Tung, walnut, and mineral oil can be sued to seal your pyrography project. These oils provide a durable finish.
You may apply these oils to the wood using a brush. Oil is a natural product that accentuates the natural wood grain.
After applying oil to the piece of wood, let it dry before wiping it off using a piece of cloth. Keep the project aside overnight before applying another coat.
By finishing the wood project with oil you can make sure that the piece of wood is moisturized well. Oil is normally used to finish cutting boards.
Use mineral oil if you want to seal wooden cutting boards because it’s natural and doesn’t go rancid even if heated to an extent.
Shellac can be used to seal any pyrography project that isn’t exposed to heat. Shellac finished wood discolors the wood if it’s exposed to hear.
Shellac can be considered a natural product as it’s derived from the secretions of a female lac bug. Don’t use this product on coasters/cutting boards.
Apply a thin layer of Shellac and wait for 45 minutes. After it dries you can apply another layer if you feel the need to do so.
Paste wax is an affordable product that can be used to create a natural finish over pyrography projects.
Apply a thin layer of paste wax using a clean cloth. Buff into a sheen as the paste wax layer dries off.
If you want you can apply another thin layer to it. Just don’t add too many layers/too much as the wood might become cloudy.
It is quite easy to apply paste wax, this is why many of my fellow crafters use this technique. The finish looks minimal too.
Polyurethane is a commonly used wood sealer. This product comes in both brush-on and spray-on forms and a variety of formulas.
Gloss, High-gloss, and semi-matte are suitable to finish a pyrography project. Keep in mind that the polyurethane turns the wood slightly yellow.
Polyurethane finish works on heavily used items like furniture. Polyurethane finish doesn’t offer protection from UV rays.
Brush on a thin layer of polyurethane and let it dry for 3-4 hours. Sand it and apply another layer. Three layers are enough to protect your project.
Note: If you prepare the wood properly before crafting you don’t need to sand it.
Does wood-burning fade?
Yes, after a few years design seems to fade into the wood. This happens because of patina. Patina is a process where the piece of wood darkens naturally in tonal value.
The dynamic contrast between the pyrographic design and the wood fade away. It actually happens because the wood becomes darker.
This is why the pyrographic design becomes less obvious after a while. The fading is the reason why many people don’t consider this a serious art.
How to keep Pyrography from fading?
Follow the below guidelines to keep your pyrography from fading.
- Don’t be shy to burn deeper/more. It’ll only last a few years if you burn it barely/lightly. It often becomes lighter just after sealing/finishing. So, burn your designs onto wood deeper than you want to.
- Keep the craft piece away from direct sunlight/fluorescent light to preserve it for a long time.
- Seal your pyrography craft using some product to keep it the same for a long time.
Do you have to seal the wood after wood burning?
Yes, you have to seal the wood after wood-burning to preserve it for years to come. The finish protects the wood-burned project from dust, dirt, and UV rays.
Do you plan to cover your project using fabric/paper for a long time? If not you’d want to seal it off using a wood sealer.
The moisture loss/addition to the wood can spoil your work so it’s necessary to protect the craft project using some finish.
The moisture loss/addition can even cause wood cracking/warping/buckling. So, it’s better to just finish off the wood project.
How do you prepare wood for Pyrography?
Preparing wood for pyrography is crucial to make the whole process less tedious. Ideally, you want the wood smooth enough to burn easily but gritty enough to take the burning easily too.
This part is crucial to pyrography because this is what determines the longevity of your project and the ease of working on it.
Follow the below instructions to prepare the piece of wood for pyrography.
- After getting a piece of wood sand it for the best results. You’ll burn way faster on a smooth piece of wood.
- If possible use an electric sander to do this. You don’t want to strain your hands by doing it manually.
- Electric sander causes itching in your hands if you use it for longer hours. You can prevent this by using the right grit of sandpaper.
- Wear leather gloves when working with the sander to prevent itching and any kind of injuries. There are anti-itch gloves too.
- If the wood is somewhat rough, use 50-80 grit sandpaper.
- If the wood is too rough, get a planer and level that surface, then do fine grit. Sandpaper of 150-220 grit would do the job.
- You may want to prepare a lot of wood at once to keep the material handy. If you think about it, doing many wood pieces at once is efficient too. I prepare 4-6 wood pieces at once. They usually last me for 2 months.
- Use something to keep the wood piece in place while you work on it. A large piece of foam or a towel works fine for this purpose.
- The towel would catch a lot of fine dust. Use the same towel to wipe off the dust and clean up the workplace.
Happy Crafting 🙂