I’ve split my handmade Christmas gifts into a few posts (all with equally dodgy photos taken too late at night before my mad wrapping session).
This post involves burning cork.
For two of my sisters and their families, I made these pyrographied (is that even a word?!) coasters as part of their presents.
These are cork coasters from Ikea which annoyingly are too soft to use graphite transfer paper on. So I had to cut out each of my printed out template letters (EcuyerDAX font) and draw round them with pencil before burning. The cork obviously was quicker to burn that wood, but it didn’t burn so quickly that it was hard to control, as I feared it might be. Also, the divots in the cork didn’t really cause a problem, so altogether, I was just worrying for no good reason beforehand! You can see where I messed up the meant-to-be horizontal lines on the first ‘S’ and I just noticed there totally should be a line through the tail bubble of the ‘J’. Oh well. I totally love them, even if they are slightly flimsy.
After I finished my parent’s wedding anniversary chopping board, I had a bit of a pyrography bug, and made something similar for my sister and brother-in-law.
This time I used a what was labelled as a frame, size 11.5cm x 8mm thick, with a curly screw hook (that’s it’s technical name!) and twine loop, but I can’t find anything similar on google or ebay, which would probably suggest I’m using the wrong search terms. It was in the section with the other wooden items for decoupage and crafting in Trago Mills, and was a bargainous price, no joke. I originally was going to edit my original graphic with new names and date, but then decided it would be just as easy to start again, this time making it the right size from the start. It was definitely much quicker this time around.
Due to the lip on the frame, I cut a circle of graphite paper to fit inside the ring, and traced on the design as before.This wood was much easier to burn, although that also presented problems with having to avoid burn spots if I held the pen too long in one place. Despite making an effort to avoid the lip, I managed to get too close once and the heat from the pen barrel made a burn mark. I tried to sandpaper it off, but although it made it less obvious, it was still visible. My white acrylic paint had run out so I grabbed some oil paint, and then wondered why it still hadn’t dried days later. Duh. So, the oil paint got wiped off, leaving a slightly paler edge, and that burn is still visible, grrr.
I’m happy the result and as a bonus, it’s light enough to be held up by some tape (classy!) so they don’t have to bother with nails in their rental until their house hunt is successful.
My parents celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary this week, and although we don’t normally do presents for anniversaries, I thought it’d be a good excuse to bring out my pyrography pen, plus it seems to be a lot easier to think of gifts rather than something to burn for myself.
So, after a bit of googling for inspiration, I attempted to create a design in GIMP (too much brain power required), Paint (too simplistic) and Inkscape (first time I’d used it so too much effort to figure it out), before finally using OpenOffice Draw. I didn’t think about sizing until I’d virtually finished, so ended up having to export as a PDF from Draw, convert to a jpeg in GIMP then copy, paste and resize back in Draw.I printed out my design, then used a sheet of this graphite paper I’d found the day before at Trago Mills for £1.25 to transfer it onto the chopping board, which was way easier and produced a better transfer than my previous DIY graphite paper. I also used a ruler on any straight lines to hopefully prevent wobbliness.The pyrography took longer than I thought, as everything but the crosshatching had to be outlined then filled in, but I’m pretty impressed with the results! I ended up not burning the two horizontal lines as I liked it without and thought I might be pushing my luck to get two perfectly straight, long lines! I totally didn’t pay attention to the grain of the wood until I’d finished, which is now super annoying.
Anyway, congratulations Mum & Dad, 32 years and 7 children is a rarity these days! May there be many more happy years to come (and no doubt more grandchildren!).