Freebie: Pyrography Designs for Playful Crafting


Big thanks to KSL’s Studio 5 & Brooke Walker for having me on their show! I had a great time coming up with some clever design ideas for wood-burning and pyrography crafts. Click here to view.

If you’re interested in learning about my local calligraphy workshops, CLICK HERE! I’ve got workshops in October, November and December just about lined up and they’ll sell out fast.

CLICK HERE to register for October’s Brush lettering and Watercolor double-header with Natalie Malan! 

Next month’s workshop is going to be amazing. I hope to see you there! Let’s talk about pyrography shall we? 


Supplies needed: 

I found that finely sanded wood surfaces and harder woods (or wood with tighter grain) performed the best. Something to think about when purchasing craft supplies. 

See the spoon on the left? I used the same heat settings and tip, but the tip burned more because of the softness of the wood. The wood block on the right is a harder wood and had a smoothly finished top. I got much finer results. 

Adding elements doesn’t have to be pre-determined. Or stressful. Simple dots or stripes totally work! Add some flora to create more depth too. See above for some ideas. Feel free to use below for inspiration and rub onto your projects. Click on the images below to enlarge. :)

You’re free to use these graphics for personal use. I’d love to see your work! Share pics and tag me @melissapher with images of your awesome projects!

view or add a comment
  • Categories

    Art Supply Organizers + Process Video


    A few weeks ago, a neighbor of mine dropped these art supply boxes off and asked me to personalize them with her grandchildren’s names on them. Easy, right? 

    They’re un-finished, which gave me a world of options for how to personalize them. Do I paint and lacquer them? Do I make vinyl decals? Ultimately I knew I wanted these boxes to be heirlooms; treasures for these kids to have forever to remind them of their awesome grandma. After all, I’m a huge sucker for sentimentality. My grandparents supported my artistic side when I was a child, so this really struck the right chord. 

    I did a little bit of brainstorming and my assistant Hayley (she’s the best), suggested I get the wood burning tools out! Of course! It’s permanent, doesn’t need to be lacquered and relatively quick to do. I love when I get a win like that. Here’s what I used: 

    Watch the video above to see the process from beginning to end for both of them, but let me walk you through it here, too. 

    I lightly sketched out my design using the white charcoal pencil (erased any stray lines as needed) and allowed my wood burning tool to warm up. I put it on just shy of the hottest setting. I originally started it out at a low setting, but it just wasn’t getting uniform lines. The uniformity in the lines was an issue throughout this project, and I think it’s a limitation of the burning tool in general. It’s a very entry-level tool, so it’s bound to have it’s drawbacks. 

    From the videos I’ve watched on pyrography (they’re quite dry, wow) and my own personal experience; I found that the screw-on “nibs” don’t heat up as uniformly as the nibs that are built in to the pyrography tool. FYI: pyrography is a fancy word for wood-burning. ;) That said, this tool is priced in the mid $30s. Whereas the next level in pyrography tools jumps up to the $170s+. It’s a pretty big financial commitment to get the next level up, so there’s that. I won’t likely be upgrading my set up any time soon as I’m only ever getting it out every 6 months or so. 

    I followed along my drawn lines, but the nib kept cooling down considerably because of the debris it would pick up in the burning process. I ended up getting a scratch piece of wood to help clean it off every once in a while. That helped me achieve cleaner lines once I figured that one out. 

    As far as style inspiration goes, Ella is quite a girly-girl. I added girly flourishes and embellishments to the already traditional style for an elegant “princess” look. Liam is a fun-loving boy, so I made his more of a whimsical foundational style. 

    I feel like I do some of the same things day in day out, so this was a nice little challenge and switch up from the norm! Have you ever tried pyrography before?

    Affiliate links are used, your support by purchasing through these links allows for more great content. Thank you!!

    view or add a comment
  • Categories
    1. Bernardine says:

      Your boxes are lovely.
      I used my pyrography-tool for writing on leather. Did you even try that?

      • Melissa says:

        I’ve tried that, and it’s really fun! I did that to my wallet a few months back and gave myself a monogram. You have to be careful about any special coatings that may be on the leather as sometimes those coatings are plastic and put off noxious gasses or melt under too hot a pyrography tool. :) I’d love to see what you did with leather!

    Sakura CAC Neons & Metallics Review


    Hey friends!! Welcome here. I’ve got 3 upcoming workshops this summer (more in the works, fingers crossed). I hope to see you there!

    Beginning Brush Lettering Workshop | DRAPER, UT | JULY 19

    Learn brush lettering based on more traditional foundations and how to manipulate those foundations to write some funky letters! All skill levels welcome, but it is geared more toward beginners. Lefties welcome!

    Eventbrite - July 19 Brush Lettering Calligraphy Workshop


    Penmanship Workshop | PROVO, UT | AUGUST 16

    Learn the art of beautiful penmanship and how to harness your own style to tell your story. This is perfect for beginners, lefties and future brides! We’ll go through foundations, style and how to address an envelope. 

    Eventbrite - Beginning Cursive Penmanship & Letter Writing Night


    2-Day Brush Lettering/Digitization Intensive | NASHVILLE, TN | AUG 25-26

    Join me in Nashville for a whole lot of fun with a 2-day lettering intensive with the pointed brush. We’ll dig deeper than in any other class in the two days. We’ll go letter-by-letter through variant options, work on word and compositional structure and style structure. At the end of the class, we’ll work on the beginning essentials of digitization by making our own personalized stamps with our artwork. All skill levels welcome. 

    Paperinkarts - brush lettering event august 2018

    I hope I can see you at one of the above workshops this summer. We always have a blast and I try to pack as much information as possible so you leave the workshop motivated, empowered and ready to continue your calligraphy journey.

    Sakura sent me their BRAND-NEW CAC (Creative Art Colors) 24 pan watercolor set to play around with. It’s just like their regular 24 pan field sketch set, but with nothing but neons, metallics and pearlescent colors. Uhhhhhhmmmmmmm yes please! I love how bright these pigments are and it’s a real pity that they’re not captured fully with these photos. The colors just JUMP off the page. So I made a review video (above). Give it a watch or you can scroll down below to see the pros and cons list:


    • SUUUPER bright pigments
    • Smooth blending (even with regular colors)
    • Zero chalkiness
    • Portable size palette
    • Generous wells for mixing pigments
    • Shimmery pearlescents


    • Student grade
    • Not lightfast
    • Metallics not opaque

    I feel like I need to give explanation to the cons. It’s a bummer they’re student grade and not artist or professional grade, but they out-perform any student grade pigments I have in my studio as if they were artist grade. So bummer, but not a deal breaker.

    The neons especially aren’t lightfast at all. But you’re not going to find light-fast neons anyway. Just be aware that they’re not lightfast so you’re not displaying your work where it gets direct sunlight.

    I personally like more opaque metallics. Don’t get me wrong, these metallics are beautiful, but if you’re going to try and do fine linework like use the pointed pen with the metallics, you’re not going to get the opacity you need to get the metallic to jump off the page. You’ll want to switch over to the pearlescent pigments for pointed pen linework. The pearlescents have watercolor pigment and metallic in them so the pigment soaks into the page while the metallic shimmers at the top of the page. It’s lovely.

    Overall: I really love these watercolors! They’re really great! I hope you give them a try some time.

    I’ve been using the medium waterbrush that came with the kit, but then also adding in fun details with the Gillott 404 to bring in those finer details. It’s a lot of fun to bridge the gap of brush lettering and pointed pen modern calligraphy with this neon set. Overall, I’m a fan. 

    Sakura of America provided me with the materials for this review. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are used, your support by purchasing through these links supports more content like this! 

    view or add a comment
  • Categories

    Real-Time Calligraphy Video | Families Are Everything


    I’m not one to really get into the politics of things on here or anywhere on social media; after all, I find that language gets mis-interpreted and real communication tends to break down in a format as impersonal as online. But I’ve felt strongly the need to say that family is THE most important thing. We need family (whatever form that takes on for you) spiritually, physically, mentally– in all the ways. 

    Throughout history, nations and civilizations fell with the crumbling of family. So for the first time ever, I called my representatives and made my voice heard (find yours here). For the first time ever!! If you know me, you know I HATE making phone calls. I know an executive order was signed to help alleviate the issue of families being separated, but this issue is far from over. 

    It’s not about political alignment here. It’s about family. We are stronger together. 


    Stepping off the soap box now. I penned the above video with:

    Let me know if you have questions about the materials used or my process. If you’d like to learn more about calligraphy, I’d suggest taking one of my online classes (listed above in tools section)! I include personal coaching so you get a very one-on-one approach. :) 

    Affiliate links are used, your purchases support additional content here. Thank you!

    view or add a comment
  • Categories
    1. tennis shoes online says:

      Thanks for finally talking about > I Still Love You by Melissa Esplin – Art, Sewing, Design, Bookbinding, Photography, Crafts < Liked it!

    Calligraphy & Watercolor Motivational Quote Time-Lapse Process Video


    I painted one thing this week. But I’m pretty darn happy with it, so I thought I would share here. 

    Tools Used:

    *Use code  Melissa15% for 15% off your purchase at!

    This quote has been rolling around in my head all week. I’m thinking of doing a mental/physical inventory of my life and let go of the things that I don’t need to hold on to. I don’t need to hold onto the idea of making a line of women’s swimsuits, or writing a hymn, or learning how to cobble shoes. I can let go of all of those things. So this is just a reminder of that. I plan on framing it sometime soon and hanging it in my studio as a reminder to stay focused and to really dive deep into what it is I want to do with my life. Like seriously, I got asked this week what I wanted to do and I was like… uhhhhh……

    I should probably figure out what my end goal is here so I can actually run towards it. 

    So click play on the video above if you want to hear more about the materials I used, why, what was going on in my head at the time of illustrating it out. I want to let you know, Natalie Malan was a huge inspiration (her classes are the best) for the style of florals for this piece. 

    And if you want to learn brush lettering, I’m teaching a local workshop in utah. REGISTRATION IS HERE. And there’s always my online class which includes personal coaching, right here.

    Affiliate links are used, your purchases support additional videos on this channel. Thank you!

    view or add a comment
  • Categories
    1. Kristie says:

      Wow, that quote is amazing. What a great reminder. Totally worth framing and putting up to see regularly! Thank you for giving me something to think about. Time to re-evaluate life and make sure I am spending my time wisely.

    mobile site