Just like carving leather, you may want to practice on some scraps of veg-tanned leather. This way you get a bit more comfortable with the tool and the tips. When burning on medium or higher heat the leather grain quickly became an issue. What would happen is that the leather would tear if I burned in one direction, but not the other. I’m not familiar enough with leather to be able to tell you if the tearing happened while burning against the grain or not.

If it is not relevant for your project the back of the piece of leather you’re working on, then don’t worry about treating this side. However, remember that this process can only be done before you start burning the leather. Wood burning can be done light grey painted wood floors on other surfaces, for example, leather. In fact, leather burning is a very popular way to personalize present and clothing items. And since this is an artistic expression, you can explore your creativity and try different techniques and designs.

For example, objects like leather, paper, and gourds require much lower temperatures than wood to burn. Conversely, some wood burning pens are capable of reaching extreme temperatures to enable techniques like soldering, embossing, and carving. While most affordable kits use heated metal tips for carving, wire tips are tempting for pyrography fans at any level. They offer greater temperature control and precision thanks to their delicate design.

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Traditional pyrography can be performed using any heated metal implement. Modern pyrography machines exist, and can be divided into three main categories. Pyrography is also popular among gourd crafters and artists, where designs are burned onto the exterior of a dried hard-shell gourd. Just as you wouldn’t use a fine-tipped marker for coloring in a large space, you won’t want to use a small tip to burn a large area.

Since there is going to be heat and smoke generated, you should work in a room that has enough ventilation or a fan going to get in some fresh air. You need to be careful with handling your wood-burning pen, as you can burn yourself. When you want to change a nib, you should make sure your tool is unplugged and has cooled down. Fingers can easily be burnt if you do not pay attention.

I don’t see how you could burn on them without releasing some potentially toxic fumes. Then I gently rubbed over the surface with a plastic tool used to crease paper. The eraser and sanding pen lacked precision, but all of them abraded the leather and turned the leather whitish looking. Be very, very careful when using an X-acto knife as it’s very easy to remove the skin. Both types of tape abraded the leather, but the scotch tape was the worst of the two.

If you are wondering, a gourd is a type of plant, usually from the family Cucurbitaceae, which can include pumpkins. Once dry, the hard skin of the gourd can become an artist’s canvas when using pyrography. Besides wood, leather is the second most common surface to burn.

I would highly recommend talking to a leather store and asking them what is available and what they recommend. On a side note, from what I’ve read manufacturers use a heated metal stamp, if you well, to burn designs into materials. Even more interesting, is that the leather has designs that look burned into it. Unfortunately, as the trunk is old and abused, the leather is ripped or missing, fragile and dry-rotted. Be forewarned that if the heat is really high the leather tends to char instantly and the charring ‘bleeds’ or spreads. I can’t think of a good word for this, so let me give an example instead.