Step by Step Burning A Chickadee

Step by Step Burning A Chickadee

Summer is finally here and the mornings are filled with the songs of birds. Although my husband gets up well before sunrise for work, he leaves the bedroom window open on warm mornings. I can always tell when day is about to break. First one bird, then another, then another begin their songs. The sky may still be dark but these little guys know just how to wake me up.

In this article I will share how to burn a simple chickadee. This is one of my most popular patterns and is available as a free download with my Burning Basics Video Series at the end of this article. In this project you will learn some simple techniques for burning various elements of this bird. These techniques can be used with any small bird pattern.

Prepare your wood and transfer the pattern. Be sure to check your tracing of the eye and correct it lightly with a pencil if necessary.

NOTE: No matter how careful you are with your tracing, it is easy to distort the eye slightly and that can impact your final burning. Going over the eye area lightly with a pencil will allow you to see exactly what the eye will look like.

At this stage you can adjust it by erasing or redrawing. When it is time to burn simply go over your pencil marks with your burner. This is my fool proof, no risk technique for getting the eyes perfect on every burning. So take the time to do this now.

 

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Begin burning the eye with the skew.  You will burn this tight circle with a “touch down technique” which will be a series of tiny dashes burned close together to form a clean tight line.
-Set your skew on a low setting and touch your tip to the surface of the wood at the angle you wish to burn then immediately lift off.
-The pen should be perpendicular to the wood and look like a sewing machine needle during this process. The pen should not move on the surface of the wood.
-Use only whatever surface of the pen you need for the length of the line.  For example, use the very tip for a short line or the body of the blade for a longer line.
-Again… touch and lift. Then turn your wood and repeat the process until you come full circle.

( I call this the “stitch” technique because it reminds me of a sewing machine line.

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Take out your shader and darken the pupil of the eye leaving the highlight unburned.  Keep the burns smooth.

 

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Outline the beak then shade in.

 

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Now proceed to make short feathery or “comma” like strokes as shown for the outline of the bird. Make sure you follow natural direction of the feathers. (If you have my pattern I give you a burning diagram with direction lines – be sure you refer to that). These lines when burned properly will give your woodburning a 3 dimensional appearance.

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Once you finish the outline, proceed to fill in your bird with the same soft strokes. Relax and enjoy the process, you have a lot of feathers to burn. Use somewhat irregular strokes to give a natural appearance. And don’t be afraid to turn the board if you need to.

 

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Continue burning the body of the bird adjusting your heat for lighter or darker areas.  Go ahead and change to the shader to go over the black and shadowed areas if you need but be careful not to press too hard and eliminate all your delicate feather texture.

 

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Outline the flower lightly with the ball pen. Switch to the shader to give the flower form as shown.

 

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To burn the branch, turn the heat up on your shader and pull irregular lines along the length of the branch. You can tilt the burner slightly to achieve the effect of a harder edge.  Make some marks darker than others to get the feel of bark.

 

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To apply color for this project I’ve used pastels. Rub off a small amount of pastel into powder, then with a stiff brush rub on to the wood where desired. (You can also use a cotton swab to apply the powder)

 

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You will need to spray your artwork with artist’s fixative – available at your art or hobby store. Be sure to tell them you need Fixative for pastel. After that has dried, you can spray it with either Polyurathene, Lacquer, or Polyacrylic to seal the wood.

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Don’t forget to sign your work and take the time to listen to summer. Each time of day has it’s own sounds and can bring warm memories flooding back. I hope you enjoy burning this little bird (or any pattern you decide on) and perhaps you will find yet another memory to warm your day. The sound of singing birds and smell of burning wood!

Happy Burning!

If you have enjoyed this project and would like to learn more about burning be sure to sign up for my FREE Burning Basics Video series at www.FreeBurningVideos.com (the chickadee pattern is included in the video series).

38 Responses

  1. Beth
    | Reply

    Absolutely magnificent! What else is there to say?

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      Thank you 🙂

  2. Patricia Priest
    | Reply

    Your work is so awesome

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      thank you 🙂

  3. Shirley Malar
    | Reply

    Really nice texture! Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      You are welcome Shirley!

  4. Lawrence D Kelley
    | Reply

    Just starting out, but your burning’s are a great inspirational motivator for me, hope to enjoy more of your work. 🙂

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      Thanks Lawrence, glad to help!

  5. Gary T
    | Reply

    Sorry if I signed up twice I was looking for the bird pattern and I keep going to the video sign up page. Thanks

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      The pattern is in the Burning Basics page below the instructional videos.

  6. Debby Remsburg
    | Reply

    can’t wait to start love your video
    Thanks

  7. Connie
    | Reply

    I love your work! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      You are welcome!

  8. Lisa Fuhrmeister
    | Reply

    Thanks Sharon I too am just starting out and find your work amazing and so helpful, I watched a lot of tutorials before I started but found yours to be the best and the easiest to follow so I am now a Sharon student and need to look no further my only wish would be that I had your pens but can not afford them .. I look forward to your next “gift” as this is my inspiration to wake up everyday, I have been going thru A nightmare the past few years when my son was killed in a car accident on thanksgiving by a drunk driver and I have been disabled with a back injury a few years before that and have been looking for a hobby that will keep my mind busy and stumbled across one of yours and have been hooked since so again I thank you for your amazing work..????

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      Glad you are here!

  9. Guillermo
    | Reply

    Thank you.

  10. Robert Gentile
    | Reply

    You explain what and how better than all the rest. Thank You.

  11. betty
    | Reply

    Hi
    Love how birds turn out and the adding of pastel chalks we get the chickadee for a long time up here in canada. I have a pic of one feeding out of mt hand. Thanks for the presentation. Betty

  12. Penelope V. Rembold
    | Reply

    Hi, Sharon, thanks for such a complete informative video !! The little bird is great to practice your techniques !!

  13. kents
    | Reply

    it was nice..,
    how long do you take to make this masterpiece??
    i really want to have something like this hanging in my wall (i wish i could make it with my own abbility)..,
    am newbie here,only can make a outline stroke in my wood without a gradient or shadows on it..,
    your tutorial is the best i think.,
    thank you very much..,

    ps: is there any other way to make a gradient and shadows like yours with a cheap pyrography tools(it just look like iron solder)
    🙁

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      You can do all the same effects with the soldering iron style pen. Simply use the side instead of the tip or blade and drag on the wood. It does take a bit of practice but can be done.

  14. John Bailey
    | Reply

    Thank you lovely lady

    I’m a beginner with this method and you have given me confidence to try doing some of the most beautiful art works.

    I do have a Facebook page rather than my website as I’ve not put much on that. MedRock ART

  15. Lenny Fuller
    | Reply

    Awesome work, I hope to be that good someday. I would like to enroll in your master courses.

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      Hi Lenny,

      Be sure to sign up for my email list and free videos. I will be opening the Pyrography Intensive course soon and you will receive an invitation.

  16. Lucille
    | Reply

    Thank you for your e-mails today and for all your good tips. I am getting better at this. Will keep following you.

  17. Gordon Brumagin
    | Reply

    I really enjoy your videos and seem to be getting more skillful with my burning. My clouds now look like clouds thanks to you. Sincerely, Gordon.

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      Wonderful, glad to hear it!

  18. Richard
    | Reply

    Thank You Sharon. You are an excellent teacher.

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      Thank you.

  19. shari
    | Reply

    absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge & skills. You are a wonderful teacher.

  20. Sabrina
    | Reply

    It’s beautiful Sharon !!!

    Merci…

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      thank you

  21. Sarah stewart
    | Reply

    I enjoyed your video, you have a steady hand. I won,t be doing much before winter to get back to burning, but would love to keep up with your site. thank You.

  22. Beata
    | Reply

    It’s beautiful. Thank you.

  23. Carol
    | Reply

    I’m looking forward to starting this project. This is a hobby I started with my daughter and it gives us some great quality time. The only thing is, just starting I too have the “soldering iron” type tool. The tips and techniques are a little different. Would you consider doing a video using beginner type irons?

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      The techniques are about the same except you will have to adjust your speed and pressure to account for the bigger tool.

  24. Kathy Brouse
    | Reply

    Wonderful chickadee project, great instruction! I need to purchase a colwood woodburning kit so i can regulate the temperature as needed, at the moment I am using a very basic burning kit, no temperature control and limited tips. So, I will purchase a burner and a variety of colwood tips using the source you sited. I saw in this chickadee video you used a skew pen, a shader, a ballpen and there looked like another pen but it may have just been the angle of the photo. Please provide a list of the basic colwood pens/nibs I need as I attempt your videos and master the art of pyrography:) Thank you.

    • Sharon Bechtold
      | Reply

      Check out the Tools page on this website for a full list of tools used.

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