How to Wood Burn – Step 1: Prep Your Wood [VIDEO]


Before you start wood burning you need to prepare your wood.

Prepping your wood means sanding using low grit rough sandpaper and gradually using higher and finer grit paper until the wood is smooth to the touch.

This helps prevent your woodburner tips from dragging and leaving inconsistent burn marks  on the wood.

It’s not the most  fun task in the world, but it must be done and done well.

Sanding is dusty, try to avoid breathing it in.

Basswood is good for burning on.   Avoid wood with knots. Avoid pine and other sappy woods.

Do not burn into glues or plastics.  Beware of thin wood glued together in layers, do not burn too deeply.


Buy some sand paper of varying grits.

Buy some wooden blanks (basswood is best).

Starting with rough grit (lower numbered) sandpaper, work the paper all over the wooden blank removing any splinters or uneven edges.  

Folding the sand paper in half or using a sandpaper holder makes this process easier.

Next move  up to medium grit sandpaper, repeating the same process of removing any unevenness in the wood.

Finally move up to finer grit sandpapers and rub the wood until it is completely smooth.


  • Wooden blanks
  • Sandpaper grits 100, 150 and 220
  • Sandpaper holder (optional)


Hi everybody!

Ok,so today we’re doing step one of learning to wood burn

and step one is learning how to prep your wood pieces so that you get a smooth consistent burn

and basically all prepping your wood pieces means is sanding them so that you get a nice smooth surface all the way across.

So I’m sure a lot of you know how to do this, it’s pretty simple, it’s pretty self explanatory.  

I think of an orbital sander…I’ve heard conflicting evidence of what you should do.

But anyway, so I have  P100 sandpaper, gator paper.  This is pretty rough and I’m going to use that to clean up the edges there’s a lot of little fibrous pieces on these cheap little pieces of wood I got.

And I’m going to take all of that off with the rough paper.

As you can see, this makes a lot of sawdust, so it’s kind of messy….

So you want to be able to clean up the area or do it outside if you can.  

And once you get the sides cleaned off then you can clean   the face too…rough that face up.

And once you are satisfied that you’ve really taken the … the inconsistencies out of your face of your piece you can move on to slightly higher grit sandpaper.

So I’m moving on to P150 from the P100 and I just like to bend mine in half.  

I don’t currently have a sandpaper holder, they make life easier.

You can google sandpaper holder if you’re’s just a block that holds a piece of sandpaper.  

And I have one on order and it was supposed to be here today.  But it didn’t come.

So I am doing it by hand.

It’s not like it’s the most painful thing in the world. It’s ok.

So you just do the edges again the same way.

I like to pull the edges forward coming from the back and then pull them backwards coming from the front so you get a nice smooth edge no matter what way you grab the piece.

I wonder if you can hear my cat meowing in the other room.  

He’s very mad I locked him  out of here, but he was meowing so he was making way too much noise to be in this room while I was recording this video.

So out he goes while I sand my piece of wood.


And now that I am satisfied with the P150 I am moving up to P220…there are finer grits of sandpaper…

This I think is pretty good for my purposes today.

The higher grits those are more for like in between coats of paint.

Adding a little bit of coarsity? to your paint so the next layer sticks without actually scratching the paint.

And I will also have some very nice fine grit sandpaper tomorrow.

But I don’t need it.

You don’t need it either.

You can get your basic cheap 3 piece sandpaper kit from your hardware store and that will work just fine for sanding pieces of wood.

Now let’s talk about pieces of wood that you should get and you should not get.

Pine is easy to get, a lot of people are going to try to give you pine if you tell them that you want to burn on wood…they are going to give you pine.

And it’s going to be hard…

Some people really enjoy it though.

Some people can get the hang of it.

They can deal with the sap.

But there is a lot of sap.

It’s like a sticky wood to burn on, so I recommend avoiding pine.

The best thing to burn on is hard wood.

It’s best….

Hardwoods are not the best thing to burn on

I just totally miss-spoke.

Basswood is the best thing to burn on.

Nice soft basswood.

The best thing ever to burn on.

Hardwoods are nice to burn on but you have to watch out for knots and any inconsistencies in the wood.

You want to make sure you sand them very carefully and just watch out as you’re burning because there are inconsistencies in hardwoods

and they are harder than in softwoods. Hahaha.

Alright so this little piece of basswood is pretty much as smooth as I’m going to be able to get it…

By hand with the amount of effort that I want to put into it.

And this is about perfect for wood burning on.

Nice and smooth consistency when you rub your thumb over it.

You don’t get any catches.

You can actually see, because it’s wood, so you can see the texture and where you might catch.

Then you can sand those places more.  

Now that’s it.  

That’s the whole sha-bang.

You just sand your pieces very carefully.

Watch out for inconsistencies.

Try to stay away from sticky wood, it’ll make your life harder.

Um…also stay away from any glue.

Don’t burn on glue.

Don’t burn on anything plastic.

It’ll be very bad for you, don’t do that to yourself..

PLEASE don’t do that to yourself.

Um…you can burn on …

you can burn on some woods that are glued together

You just can’t burn into the glue layer.

That’s the important thing. So you can burn on plywood, just don’t burn so deep that you are actually burning glue.

That’s really bad for you.

And no one wants you to die from  inhaling glue that you burned while you were attempting to make beautiful artwork.

That would be a sad way to die.

Don’t do it.


Anyway, have fun.

Get started with your prep work.

I know it’s a pain

I know it’s boring and I know you just want to start burning things because burning things is fun

But prep work first, then burn things.

It’s the way to go.

Alright have a great day.

My name is Bekkerz.

Please subscribe to my channel if you want to learn more about pyrography and watch me burn wood and make glow in the dark art and live stream all sorts of weird things and have fun with you and whatever.

I also do giveaways.

I’m doing a big watercolor giveaway soon.

Alright have a great day.



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Video Facts:

  • Length of the video: 7 minutes 22 seconds
  • Date and Time the Video was Posted: June 20, 2019 at 1:00 PM
  • Location the Video was Recorded: Burlington, Vermont USA.  Bekkerz Apartment.
  • If you would like to contact me click here:
  • Title of the video: How to Clean Wood Burner Tips [EASY]

Bekkerz (or Becca Hammond) grew up on a small dairy farm in Vermont.  She loves technology, animals, artwork, and paddle boarding. She attended college for electrical engineering and works as a software engineer.  Bekkerz enjoys writing and creating in many different mediums. She plays many instruments including bass, guitar, ukulele and also enjoys singing.  She has had stints playing drums, flute, bari horn and piano as well. Bekkerz has written songs but has never shared them with the public. She creates physical artwork as well and particularly enjoys pyrography (wood burning) and creating blacklight or glow in the dark artwork.  Contact her at Follow her on instagram at