Popular Wood Burning Stencils in 2022: A Pyrocrafter’s Guide

By Marian Kret •  Updated: Mar 12, 2022 •  Guides

Let’s have a look at popular wood burning stencils – which are best, how to make your own, and how to best use them – in this complete pyrocrafter’s guide to stencils for wood burning.

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Table of Contents

It seems that most, if not all, beginners and intermediate wood burning kits come with a ton of cool stencils, and more and more these days stencils are almost automatically associated with wood burning (also known as pyrography). And to be sure they can be a great help in burning clean and even letters and numbers, basic or complex shapes, lines and angles, all kinds of pictures and designs and a lot more.

But is it really that easy to find, or even to recommend, the best stencils for pyrography?

Well, as it turns out, there are no actual wood burning stencils per se. I mean, there are, and you can find plenty of them in craft stores, but they are really just stencils like any other – the same ones as are used for drawing, painting, inking, page layout, lettering, drafting and technical drawing or any other art, craft or hobby.

This means that the best stencils for wood burning are really just the stencils you like the most, the stencils that have what you need or like in terms of letters, numbers, shapes, pictures, objects and designs. Sure, you can definitely find better and worse quality ones, and the higher quality stencils can make things much easier, neater and more attractive. And there are some stencils out there which seem ideally suited for wood burning, and I will offer links below for some of my favorites.

Also check out my companion article – A Pyrocrafter’s Guide to the Best Wood Burning Kit – for a look at some of the best tools for wood burning artists and projects on any level.

What Stencils are Best for Wood Burning?

People have asked me what kind of stencils are best for wood burning, or which stencils I use, and when we discuss the question I often have the impression that they may be a little confused about how stencils actually work for wood burning.

The idea that there may be some special kind of stencil that’s best for wood burning seems to be based on the idea that you use a stencil with your wood burning pen – this is not (I repeat, not) a good idea!

Trying to burn with a stencil and heat – that is, by using the wood burning wand directly with, on or in the stencil – is dangerous, can seriously burn your hands and damage the wood, will almost certainly ruin the stencil and will yield poor and sloppy results anyway.

So, when people ask me questions like:

What are the best stencils for wood burning?

Which stencils should I use for pyrography?

Who makes the best pyrography stencil?

Should you use metal stencils or plastic stencils?

What kind of stencils are best for wood burning?

Are stencils heat resistant?

…I usually answer that there is actually a better question that we should ask first:

How Does a Wood Burning Stencil Actually Work?

Well, again, right from the very start, let’s talk about how stencils for wood burning don’t work. You do not use a wood burning stencil with your pyrography pen or wand, laying the stencil on the wood and using the red-hot pen to heat trace shapes. 

This will burn or melt the stencil, damage the wood, lead to really sloppy and ugly work, and can even pretty seriously burn your hands, as they hold the suddenly burning hot or melting stencil.

I’m amazed at how many tutorials on the web tell you to just lay the stencil down and use your wood burning wand to trace and burn the design. You can actually do this, with the right kind of metal stencil, completely heat resistant safety gloves and a lot of experience, but it’s still not really that safe, and still it often messes up the wood, and leads to sloppy and inconsistent results. So, let’s have…

Brief Tutorial on Using Stencils for Wood Burning

What is the best way to use stencils for pyrography?

Can you use graphite paper to transfer designs onto wood?

Which is better for tracing – carbon paper or graphite paper?

Instead, there are two great ways to use stencils for wood burning:

  1. Simply lay the stencil down on your craft wood and use a graphite pencil to trace the letters, shapes, patterns or whatever. Then remove the stencil and wood burn what you’ve traced. You can also easily erase any mistakes or errant pencil lines using almost any eraser.
  2. Lay down the stencil on a sheet of graphite paper which you’ve laid down on the craft wood, and then use a pencil, or any fine point (but not sharp – don’t want to rip the paper!) tracing stylus to trace the design, which will lay graphite lines from the paper onto the wood. Then, just as above, freehand wood burn the design with your pyrography wand.

The second method can be used not only with a stencil, but also with any patterns printed or drawn onto paper – simply lay the paper onto the graph paper and trace the printed or drawn designs, which will transfer them onto the wood. This method is not as sure or steady as using a stencil, since your tracing is unguided and freehand, but it gives you a ton of flexibility to create as you like.

Next we’ll talk about an amazing tool for making your own stencils (and for about seventy two million other arts and crafts uses) – the Cricut cutting machine. But first let me recommend some of my favorite stencils, graph paper and tracing styli – or is it styluses.

Best Stencils for Wood Burning – or at least my favorite!

Letter Stencils for Painting on Wood

Alphabet Stencils for Painting & Drawing - Reusable Cursive Letter and Number Stencils for Signs & More - Plastic Paint Stencils for Art and DIY Crafts


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Great basic quality letters and numbers in a small variety of styles and sizes. For more nice stencils from a  bit of a leader  in the field, you might want to look at the DLY Lifestyles Store

Aleks Melnyk #42 Metal Journal Stencils, Flowers and Vines, Ornament, Vintage

Flowers and Vines, Ornament, Vintage, Finds Small Stencils Patterns, Templates for Painting on Wood, on Walls, Furniture Crafts


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These stencils are really nice for decoration, trim and embellishment, and have a really nice kind of old-timey look that really complements a lot of wood burn projects. In fact, all of the Aleks Melnyk stencils are cool, and high quality, and you can check out more here: Aleks Melnyk Store

Inspirational Stencils for Painting on Wood

20 Pack Large Inspirational Words Saying Stencil Templates for Wood Signs, Reusable Family Motivational Letter Stencils for Wall Art & Home Decoration


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Highly positive single words which make really nice wood burn designs, especially when combined with graphics or decorative elements. Very high quality, and beautiful flowing script.

Here are some mandala stencils I think turn out really beautifully – one simple and the other far more complex and advanced.

  1. Reusable Mandala Floor Stencil Set of 9 (6 x 6 inch) Painting Stencil
  2. Reusable Mandala Floor Stencil Set of 9 (6 x 6 inch) Painting Stencil

    LOCOLO Reusable Mandala Floor Stencil Set of 9 (6 x 6 inch) Painting Stencil, Laser Cut Painting Template Floor Wall Tile Fabric Wood Stencils DIY Decor


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  3. 9 Pack 12x12 inches Mandala Stencils for Painting on Wood
  4. 9 Pack 12x12 inches Mandala Stencils for Painting on Wood

    9 Pack 12x12 inches Mandala Stencils for Painting on Wood, Wall, Floor, Tile Fabric, Resuable Furniture Stencils Painting Template


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And here are some nice, high quality stencils of various sizes with nature imagery – flowers, plants, insects and birds – for a wide variety of wood burn styles and looks.

  1. 8 Pieces Sunflower Painting Stencils Kit Flower Butterflies Stencils for Painting
  2. 8 Pieces Sunflower Painting Stencils Kit Flower Butterflies Stencils for Painting

    8 Pieces Sunflower Butterflies Painting Stencils Kit for Painting Flower Butterfly Stencil for Painting on Wall Wood Canvas You are My Sunshine Reusable Plastic Template for Door Home Decoration


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  3. Sunflower Stencil, 20 Pieces Bird Floral Flower Stencils for Painting on Wood
  4. Sunflower Stencil, 20 Pieces Bird Floral Flower Stencils for Painting on Wood

    Sunflower Stencil, 20 Pieces Bird Floral Flower Stencils for Painting on Wood Canvas Branches Leaf Tree Drawing Reusable Stencils for Crafts Template Paint Stencils Set for Home Décor


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  5. 20 Pieces Stencil Template for Painting Reusable Stencil Spring Winter Template
  6. 20 Pieces Stencil Template for Painting Reusable Stencil Spring Winter Template

    20 Pieces Stencil Template for Painting Reusable Stencil Spring Winter Template, DIY Christmas Stencils for Painting on Wood Wall Home Decor (Plants Style)


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  7. Flower Stencil,24 Pieces Birds Sunflower Floral Stencils Kit for Painting on Wood
  8. Flower Stencil,24 Pieces Birds Sunflower Floral Stencils Kit for Painting on Wood

    Flower Stencil,24 Pieces Birds Sunflower Floral Stencils Kit for Painting on Wood Canvas, Reusable Walls Branches Leaf Tree Rose Paint Drawings Template Set for Kids DIY Crafts Home Decor


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  9. 8 Pieces Pine Tree Stencils Art Painting Templates Stencils for Painting on Wood
  10. 8 Pieces Pine Tree Stencils Art Painting Templates Stencils for Painting on Wood

    8 Pieces Pine Tree Stencils Art Painting Templates Stencils for Painting on Wood Winter Holiday DIY Wall Floor Decor Supplies (11.4 x 11.4 Inch)


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Best Graphite Paper for Stencil or Freehand Transfer Work

You can use either carbon paper or graphite paper for tracing your stencils or designs on paper onto the wood, so that you can then wood burn them in. 

Carbon Paper

Carbon paper, though, is a bit messy, and its harder to clean up mistakes and blotches from the wood (or from your hands). 

Graphite Paper

Graphite paper, on the other hand, erases with a normal pencil eraser or good art erases, is much neater overall, and leaves clean, clear and definite lines for the easiest and most effective burning.

So most artists and crafters prefer good quality graphite art tracing paper, and my personal favorite is made by MyArtscape.

And my favorite tracing stylus – actually a small set – is the super inexpensive 5 piece set from Coyaho, which is also useful for lots of other arts and crafts work, and especially nice for delicate and intricate detail work.

Coyaho 5 Pcs Pattern Tracing Stylus Set for Transfer Paper

5 Pcs Pattern Tracing Stylus, Ball Embossing Stylus for Transfer Paper, Tracing Tools for Drawing, Embossing Tools for Paper, Art Dotting Tools for Nail Art, Ball Tip Clay Tools Sculpting Stylus


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How Can You Make Your Own Wood Burning Stencils?

Can you easily make stencils for wood burning?

Is a Cricut a good machine for making wood burning stencils?

What is a Cricut machine anyway, and why does everybody keep talking about them?

To close this guide to wood burning stencils I would like to talk about one of the best and most useful – and, frankly, one of the coolest – arts and crafts tools I’ve ever used – the amazing Cricut. You may have already heard of, or even used, a Cricut, but at any rate allow me to quickly explain what it is and how it works.

What is a Cricut cutter, and how does it work?

  1. Cricut Maker 3 Deluxe Arts and Crafts Cutting Machine
  2. Cricut Maker 3 Deluxe Arts and Crafts Cutting Machine

    Can cut over 300 different materials, includes 13 tools (cutting, writing, scoring, foiling, debossing, engraving & more), maximum material size 13 inches by 12 feet


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  3. Cricut Explore 3 Arts and Crafts Cutting Machine
  4. Cricut Explore 3 Arts and Crafts Cutting Machine

    DIY Machine Compatible with Matless Cutting Cricut Smart Materials | Make Custom Vinyl Decals, Custom HTV Iron On T Shirts, and Intricate Paper Projects Fast


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  5. Cricut Joy 3
  6. Cricut Joy 3

    Compact and Portable DIY Machine For Quick Vinyl, HTV Iron On and Paper Projects | Makes Custom Decals, Custom T Shirt Designs, Personalized Greeting Cards, and Label Maker


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The Cricut cutting machine is a device that sort of looks like a printer, and hooks up to your computer in the same way, but instead of printing it will cut, from a wide variety of materials, like paper, fabric, plastic or vinyl – even wood, whatever words, pictures, designs, shapes, patterns, details or decorations you have in your computer.

This can be anything you have drawn or created yourself in a graphics or art program, or anything you find in clip art packages, or anywhere on the internet. The only thing you have to worry about is being respectful of other people’s copyrights and artistic property, but other than that, if you can copy and paste it, you can automatically cut it with a Cricut!

I couldn’t imagine living without my own Cricut at this point, and I use it for so many different crafts and art projects, but one of the best uses is to customize my own stencils – you can cut them from vinyl, plastic, paper or cardboard, so many different materials from wispy thin to thick wood and leather. Really, the Cricut is an amazing machine.

And so I digitally create, or find on the internet, designs, lettering, pictures, sayings, simple shapes or even highly elaborate mandalas, copy them and cut them from some kind of heavy plastic or paper stock into templates – it’s incredibly easy, and works great for wood burning or for any other project.

Cricut Maker 3

Cricut Maker 3 Deluxe Arts and Crafts Cutting Machine

Can cut over 300 different materials, includes 13 tools (cutting, writing, scoring, foiling, debossing, engraving & more), maximum material size 13 inches by 12 feet


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The Cricut Maker 3, their top of the line machine, is what I have, and while it seemed a bit pricey when I first bought it, I soon realized it was one of the best investments I have ever made. It works with a huge variety of materials, is very strong and very precise, and it seems like I use it every day for something or another. Really, maybe the best arts and crafts tool I’ve ever bought, and almost certainly the most useful.

Cricut Explore 3

Cricut Explore 3 Arts and Crafts Cutting Machine

DIY Machine Compatible with Matless Cutting Cricut Smart Materials | Make Custom Vinyl Decals, Custom HTV Iron On T Shirts, and Intricate Paper Projects Fast


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You can also get the Cricut Explore 3, which is the same full-sized machine but not quite as strong, and which works on a smaller range of materials (it won’t handle the sheerest and most delicate, or the thickest – like heavy leather or wood). Still, it is a fantastically handy and useful tool which works great with plastic, vinyl, paper and the like, and is wonderful for making stencils.

So, for making stencils at home – for wood burning, painting or drawing, or for any other purpose – the Cricut cutting machines offer a simple, precise and highly professional process, and make it almost absurdly easy. And, if you’re like me, you will find literally countless other uses and inspirations with your new Cricut.

Thanks so much for reading this article – A Pyrocrafter’s Guide to Popular Wood Burning Stencils. I really hope it has helped you to better understand the use of stencils in wood burning. And please make sure to check out our website – Art Side of Life – for more helpful tutorials, buyers guides, informational articles and lots of other resources for all kinds of crafting and all kinds of crafters!

Other articles in the Craft Tools series:

Hi, I am Marian (pronounced |mar·e·ahn|). I am a crafter, tech & business manager, and the founder of Art Side of Life™. I've been doing all kinds of crafts since I was a kid, testing different tools and supplies. I love the process of creating something out of nothing and through the articles on our website I want to contribute to your creative journey.

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