D20 Wood Burnt Art

Wood Burnt Art is a great way to express yourself and create a unique piece that is personalized to you.

Total Project Time:

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I love DnD. It’s a fantasy world where you can become anyone and have adventures that exist only in one’s mind. And I’m not the only person in my family with the love for the game. So, I decided to make a piece of wood burnt art in the classic DnD writing style with one of my favorite says “There are 20 sides to every story”. It takes many hands to make a story and there is no such this as objective truth. Also, D20’s are a staple in DnD.

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After my last venture into wood burning, I decided to upgrade my tools from a simple soldering iron to a pyrography pen station. Of course, you need a piece of wood to work with, I chose to have a slice of wood with the bark still attached because I felt it had a raw feeling that I thought would enhance the piece. I also used wood transfer paper to give a background to the paper that I though would make the piece more fluid. The wood burn against a plain wood background felt a little jarring to me.



Plan the Design

Before just jumping into the project, I decided to sketch out the plan for the wood burning design. I wanted to make sure it was in a general layout that would work (i.e. not getting all scrunched on one side). But I also wanted to make a template for wood burning so I wasn’t eyeballing it. It’s an extra step but it makes the finishes piece look a heck of a lot more polished.


Burning the Wood

Now it the fun part, burning the design into the wood. For each letter and image, I did an outline before filling everything in. It seemed like a good method to use as it made the process very methodical. This step definitely took the longest during this process and wasn’t some I could complete in one sitting. I was forced to start and stop between my hand cramping and the smoke that came off of burning the wood. I would highly recommend doing this process in a well-ventilated area.


Adding the background

The transfer paper I used allowed me to print out the image I wanted and transfer it to the wood using a heat source. I used an iron because I’m pretty confident I’ve already ruined my iron in some of my previous projects. This process was not perfect or easy. It took several tries and a lot of finagling to get the transfer to look clean and just the way I wanted it. For the background of this piece, I decided to use pages from the DnD 5e Monsters Manual because it brings out the meaning of the phrase even more. I also did a standard wire hanger on the back so the project could be hung on a wall.


I thought this project would be simple, but it turned out way more complicated that I had anticipated. By doing the image transfer after the wood burning. I had to go back and burn out the pieces of paper transfer that got into some of the nooks and crannies of the burnt words. So I ended up doubling my workload. But while it took longer than I thought it would, I really enjoyed making the piece and I though it turned out beautifully. It was definitely worth the effort.


Using Heat Transfer Paper

While using the heat-based image transfer paper, I learned a very valuable lesson. Since a heat source is generally flat, it transfers best onto things that are also flat. Because I had burned words on the piece, the paper would not transfer well leaving white speckles of unheated paper lingering on the words. It’s a good idea to do the transfer on a flat surface before manipulating the surface and making it uneven.

Quick Recipe

Wood Burning Art


  • Sketch design onto the desired canvas for the piece.
  • Burn outline for the shapes, fill in as desired. Erase any remaining visible sketch marks from the piece.
  • Image transfer any desired patterns on the background of the piece.

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