I thought it might be fun to show people how to make a Christmas ornament with pyrography and a bit of watercolor paint. I purchased this ornament at the local craft store, which will often carry blank ornaments right before Christmas.
I gathered all of the items I thought I’d need:
Pictured here: Watercolor paint, pencil (the lightest one you have), brushes, pyrography tips (of which I only used three- the two on the left side and the one on the very right), pencil sharpener, eraser, inscriblio tool (to use as a mini-sander), measuring tape.
I also used isopropyl alcohol (which you can get at your grocery store) and polyurethane semi-gloss finish.
First, I measured around the center of the ornament to see the width. Then, I divided by four to find where I wanted to place the middle design.
The circle is one cm wide and each of the side bars are two cm wide. I tend to measure out each part of the process in order to have a very symmetrical piece, so I drew out the first circle & two lines and then copied the measurements for the next three. I suggest drawing out the four base sections first instead of trying to complete each starburst individually. This will help create symmetry in a way that can be difficult to achieve when you’ve completed each one separately. Our fingers have muscle memory, and it can be easiest to create a balanced design if we just focus on one element at a time. If you make a mistake at drawing, you can either use an eraser or isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is fantastic to remove pencil from wood without eraser smears.
After the base is done, finish the starburst by adding three tear dropped shapes above the circle. Place smaller circles between each tear drop. I then added in three more larger circles to fill in the blank space between the patterns (seen two pictures below).
Next, I added a star burst at the bottom of the ornament. The top part has the hook for your string or wire, so a starburst wouldn’t fit. Instead, I put two circles opposite of each other and tear drops between them.
Once the middle was completed, I made eight small lines in the sections above and below the starburst portion. These light marks should be at the rim farthest away from the center in order to have the curves dip toward the midpoint. You can see the small mark in between the U shape. Earlier, I mentioned that I measured everything out. While making this ornament, I discovered it isn’t perfectly round. Because of this, it made my measurements look uneven. Instead, I had to eyeball it for this part. I aligned the first four marks with the circles in the center of the star bursts. After, I put four more in between the initial lines I’ve placed. Then, I connected every other mark with a large U.
Once the four initial curves had been sketched, I drew out smaller ones right above it. Then, I copy that process with the other four little lines I made, breaking the pattern of the curve to make it look like it was behind the other part of the design. I did this for the portions above and below the starburst to create a mirrored look.
After that, I moved outward again to the part of the ornament that curves inward. I repeated the U shape again, this time connecting the marks that were right next to each other instead of every other one. The line of the curve will be going in the opposite direction of the larger ones. Once this section is done, we’re ready to burn.
I use this tip to create a sharp, strong line that digs into the wood somewhat. I like the starkness of the lines that I get when I work with this nib. The straight lines I tackled first to allow my muscle memory to focus on making smooth lines.
Once I completed the tear drop lines, I used the same nib to tackle the large U shapes. In addition, I utilized the tip to create the dark, thick lines that are at the ends of the ornament.
During the next step I grabbed my round, small tip to tackle the circles and the rounded ends of the tear drops. The line work wasn’t perfect, but it was nice enough before we paint. It is always best to try to make your lines as clean and even as possible through every step of the process, but don’t let it stress you out, especially if you’re also applying paint (since there is a second burning phase).
On to watercolor! I picked wintery colors so that the starburst and circles would look like snowballs and flakes. I painted several layers to get a more vivid color. Paint as many or as few layers as you’d like – fewer layers will show more wood. If you prefer stronger colors, apply more. Once again, it is best to try to get the cleanest paint job you can in order to make the next phase easier. As the above picture shows, I get paint in my lines all of the time.
I cleaned up the lines using the same straight-edged nib that I had in the beginning. Then, I took a flat, smooth tip and shaded the smaller curved section to show some natural wood coloring.
Finally, I coated it with a polyurethane semi-gloss finish. I recommend using a spray coating for painted objects because you may smear the paint if you brush on your finish.
And there you have it! The finished ornament. I hope you enjoyed my post. Happy Holidays!
Written by AHWD guest crafter: Emily Joy Walker