6 Ways to Add Color to a Wood Burned Project


In this blog post, we'll delve into various techniques and ways to add color and vibrancy to your wood burned masterpieces.

Always remember to only add color when you are done wood burning. You should never burn on a surface that has been finished, painted, stained, etc.

Walnut Hollow Basswood Plank

1. Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a popular choice among artists for its vibrant colors, quick drying time, and user-friendly nature. Whether you're a seasoned pyrographer or a beginner, acrylic paint opens up a realm of possibilities:

  • Base Layer Application: Start with a thin base layer to enhance the wood's canvas for subsequent layers, ensuring better color saturation.

  • Layering for Depth: Gradually build up layers, allowing each to dry completely before applying the next. Layering adds depth and enables blending for nuanced shades.

  • Detail Work and Highlights: Utilize finer brushes for detailed work and adding highlights to bring out intricacies and create a visually striking piece.


2. Wood Stains

Wood stains provide a unique way to introduce color while preserving the natural texture of wood. Here's how to make wood stains work for you:

  • Choosing the Right Stain: Experiment with different stain colors to find the hue that complements your design and the wood's natural tones.

  • Application Technique: Apply the wood stain evenly using a brush or cloth. The stain penetrates the wood, enhancing its grain for a lasting, vibrant effect.

  • Combining Colors: Mix and layer different stain hues for unique shades and textures, adding complexity to your wood burned project.

Walnut Hollow Edge Glued Basswood Square

3. Colored Pencils

Colored pencils are an excellent choice for those seeking precision and fine detailing. Here's how to use colored pencils effectively:

  • Post-Burning Detailing: After completing the wood burning, use colored pencils to add intricate details and highlights. Seal the colors with a clear fixative to protect against smudging.


4. Oil Pastels

For a painterly approach, consider using oil pastels to infuse bold and vibrant colors into your wood burned project:

  • Blending and Layering: Blend and layer oil pastels on the wood surface for a painterly effect. Experiment with different colors and layering techniques for intensity.

  • Sealing for Preservation: Preserve the brilliance of oil pastels by sealing your wood burned project with a clear varnish or sealant.

Walnut Hollow Basswood Rustic Rectangle

5. Watercolor

Watercolor provides a beautiful finish on wood, letting the wood grain shine through the color:

  • Adding Water for Watercolor Effect: Activate watercolor with a damp brush for a watercolor-like effect on the wood surface.

  • Blending and Gradation: Experiment with blending techniques for smooth transitions between colors. Layer watercolor for richer tones.

6. Inks

Inks offer a fluid and expressive way to introduce color to your wood burned projects. Here's how to harness the beauty of inks:

  • Applying Inks: Apply inks directly to the wood surface using brushes, sponges, or droppers for a free-flowing effect. Allow the inks to interact with the wood grain for a natural finish.

  • Alcohol Inks for a Contemporary Twist: Experiment with alcohol inks for a contemporary and vibrant touch, creating unique patterns and textures.

Conclusion: Your Palette, Your Masterpiece

As you embark on your wood burning journey, explore the various techniques available to add color to your creations. Whether you choose colored pencils, acrylic paint, or wood stains, each method brings a unique character to your wood burned masterpiece. Embrace experimentation, let your creativity flow, and watch as your projects come to life with a burst of color and artistic expression.


  • Leslie

    Looking for your oil colored pencils, retail stores don’t carry them anymore. I cannot find them on line. Please bring them back. They work best for my wood projects.

  • Sandy

    Do you still sell the oil colored pencils? I need more but vannot find them. I’ve tried other brands, I don’t like them

  • Mary McMillan

    would like to buy oil color pencils.

  • Mary McMillan

    I love the basswood you sell. would like to order the colored pencils.They do not sell them at Michaels arts and craft store any more.

  • John Van Tent

    I’m still searching for oil pencils. Have used Tombow markers, acrylics, coloured pencils but nothing suits me like your old Walnut Hollow oil pencils. If you could direct me to a supplier, I’d be grateful.

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