Writing with Fire

Make Your Own Pyrography Pen

By Jason Tung

Pyrography Pen Description: Pyrography Pen
Assembly Time: 1-2 hours
Skill Level: Beginner

Pyrography, the art of decorating wood with burn marks, initially involved using charred remains of fires to create designs. Interest in pyrography skyrocketed in the Victorian era when the first pyrography machines were invented. Typical modern pens look like soldering irons but are designed to neatly burn designs into wood. Laser cutters are modern pyrography devices that use imported images from a computer and accurately recreates it on wood with a precise laser. You can make your own pyrography tool with a power supply and some everyday items around your home!

This project was inspired by Instructable's user romanursuhack Mini Pyrography Tool

Required Tools:
5 Volt 2 Amp Power Supply
Soldering iron
Wire strippers
Wire cutters
Heat shrink Tubing
Sewing Thread
2 Sewing needles (approximately the same size)
Wooden skewer
Super glue

Step 1: Preparing the Pen

Preparing the Pen Cut off the sharp end of the skewer. Then, place your two sewing needles on opposite sides of the skewer with around half of an inch hanging off the skewer. Wrap sewing thread around the needles where the needles leave the skewer until the thread is in a somewhat circular shape. Be careful while wrapping the thread to avoid getting poked by the needles. Once you have a good amount of thread to keep the needles in place, brush superglue over the thread and let it dry into place. Make sure to not cover a majority of the needles in thread so they have room to breathe. Once the glue dries, carefully use pliers to bend one of the needles so it slightly touches the other needle.

Step 2: Connecting the Power Supply

Connecting the Power Supply Use a wire cutter to cut off the end of the power supply?s adapter. Separate the two wires, and solder one to each needle. Once they?re connected, wrap thread around the connection points and superglue it together. Now, the pen is complete. Test your new pyrography pen by plugging in the power supply. Be sure to have a hand ready to turn the switch off in case of a fire or overheating. Within a few seconds, the needles should be red-hot and can burn designs into wood.

Step 3: Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches For added protection, I used heat shrink tubing where my hand rests on the pen. In addition, I wrapped some more string around the top of the pen (opposite end of the needles) to straighten out the wires.

Step 4: Wood Burning

Always be cautious of hot objects and possibly fire while using the pyrography pen. In addition, make sure the wood you use is not pressure or chemically treated, for they release harmful toxins when burned. Although I'm definitely not an artist, I was able to make some drawings and designs with my pyrography pen

Helpful Tips

  • Be very careful when bending one of the sewing needles into place. On my first few attempts, the needles snapped.
  • The ends of the needles are really small, so it was more difficult than most soldering jobs I've previously done. I'd recommend using a third hand to keep the pen steady while soldering.
  • While soldering, the superglue may burn off harmful fumes, so using a fumigator is recommended.
  • For best results, try using graphite paper to transfer a desired image onto the wood before burning.
  • Always use safety glasses.

Jason Tung is a returning summer intern at Jameco and a freshman at the University of Washington. He is excited to learn about business and medicine while at Washington. His passions include watching sports, photography, and exploring new places.