How to Burn Letters for a Camp-Style Wooden SIgn

A wooden sign on a door.
What You'll Need
Large sheet of paper
Wood burning tool or soldering iron
Letter stencils

A homemade wooden sign is a great way to decorate a home, advertise a business, or display the family name. Adding letters to a camp style sign can be achieved by painting them on, or for a more dramatic and longer lasting effect, they can be burnt into the wood. Burning letters into wood can be easily achieved with little prior experience and an adequate amount of patience.

Step 1 - Design

Before scorching the wood, it is essential to create a draft design of how the sign will look when it is finished. Use a piece of paper to measure out the size of the sign. Roughly draw the letters onto the sign; this will help determine how much can be burned onto the wooden sign, how big the letters will be, their style, and how far away from each other they will need to be.

Step 2 - Gather Tools

Determine how the letters are going to be imprinted into the sign. It is possible to purchase specialist kits which include pre-stenciled letters and directions or you can use a soldering iron. For beginners, it is best to use a specialist kit, which can be easily purchased from many craft stores. Certain wood burners will sell alphabet sets to make imprinting letters easier, but these are pre-cut letters with a set style and size.

Step 3 - Prepare

Find a flat surface such as desk or table to use as a workspace. Use a dry cloth to clean the surface of the wood; this will remove any dirt and debris. For stubborn dirt and debris, dampen the cloth slightly before cleaning, and then dry to wood thoroughly. Practice burning letters into a scrap piece of wood, as this will help you understand how the wood burner works. Within the wood burner tools, there will generally be a series of tips, by experimenting with these tips it will help to establish the overall desired effect of the letters. For instance, a curved tip is used for creating calligraphy style letters, whilst a universal tip is used for creating block letters.

Step 4 - Add Letters

Place or draw the letter stencils onto the wooden sign as per the original design using a pencil. If using letter stencils, hold them into place with tape and then draw around them once they have been placed into their desired location. Once all the letters have been drawn onto the wood, use an eraser to get rid of any unwanted pencil lines.

Step 5 - Burn the Wood

Using the wood burning equipment carefully start to burn the letters into the camp style wooden sign. Start at the bottom corner of the first letter and burn the outline of each the letters. Proceed slowly in order to create an even finish and try to stay within the lines. Once the outline of the letters has been finished, go back over the letters to fill them in. Hold the wood burner in longer to create darker shades of letters and shorter for lighter shades.