Do you like cute, customized decor? Well, how about a custom cutting board!? There are several ways you could do a custom cutting board. I’m going to share with you one technique I’ve done.
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There are places you can order monogrammed cutting boards, you could stencil a cutting board, you could engrave/etch it, or you could burn a design in it.
That last option is the one I’m going to show you today. The art of wood burning is known as pyrography. Pyrography specifically involves using a heated metal object to burn a design into wood or even leather. There are different pyrography kits you can buy.
I have the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa-Tool which has an adjustable temperature dial. It came with 11 tips, a lead-free solder, and a carrying case. It’s available at different retailers and I’ve seen it range from $20-$30.
Creating a Custom Cutting Board
1) Prepping your cutting board
I bought a cheap wooden cutting board at Wal-Mart for a couple dollars, but I’d imagine you could probably use a small slab of wood or a piece of leftover board from another project. You will want to lightly sand the wood and then wipe it off before you start.
I chose to freehand my design, but you could use a stencil to lay-out the design on the cutting board. It can be a phrase or a picture of something. I just caution you to choose something a bit simple…at least for your first go-around. I used a pencil to sketch my design on the board so it would be easier to follow with the wood burner.
3) Burning the Design In
It’s best to move slowly, which I must admit…I’m not a fan of. I don’t do many pyrography projects because of this, but you may find you love it! I usually start by using the flow point tip and outlining/tracing my design. That tip is good if your design as any curving to it at all. You can switch tips to fill-in or shade after that, but the flow point does shading too.
And that’s the gist of it really! Although there are several tips to keep in mind when using a pyrography tool…
- Hold the tool like a pencil and use a light hand…most people tend to try to press down hard, but it doesn’t do anything other than make your hand tired.
- The longer you leave the tip in one spot, the darker it will get.
- You will find there is resistance when you are carrying the tip against the wood grain as opposed to a smoother movement when traveling with the grain.
- Use a heat-resistant surface to tape the pyrography tool’s stand too. I had a rectangular, glass display dish that I used. This is good for the hot tool to rest in and for hot tips to rest in if you are switching them out.
- You must tape the stand in place because the cord and temperature dial are heavy and will pull the tool and stand right off the table.
- Use needle-nose pliers to exchange tips since the tips will be hot. Be careful not to deform or bend the tips while you are removing them as the extreme heat will make them more likely to bend.
- The cord on the tool isn’t very long so I recommend a short extension cord that will allow you to use the tool safely.
- It’s best to keep the cord draped behind your hand so it’s not accidentally getting in the way of the tool.
- Experiment on scrap wood before trying it the first time, experiment with the different heat settings and tips too.
- If you mess up, try sanding out the mistake from your cutting board.
I use my cutting board for decor, I haven’t tried using it to actually chop anything, nor have I washed it. If you plan to use it as a hot plate or an actual cutting surface, then I’d seal it with a food-grade mineral oil that is for cutting boards or butcher block counter tops like Howard Cutting Board Oil.
Have you used a pyrography tool for any projects before? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
Until next time,