Hey my beautiful experimenters! For the last few weeks, we’ve been discussing the ins and outs of using watercolors on wood to enhance your wood burnings. We’ve discussed the differences between types of watercolors, the way shimmer can add to your piece and the best ways to seal them all in for longevity. Through these I’ve walked you through little designs like mushrooms, aliens, flowers and even how to use the natural grain of the wood to create a design. For the last few blog posts, we’re continuing to push the creative flow in each of you!
Before we really get into the nitty gritty, let me remind you all who I am. My name is Ashley B and I am the creator of Firecrafted Serenity, a fire burning business where I offer customization and colorization of my pyrography art pieces. In doing such a business over the years, I’ve noticed the lack of information in some regards in this community and wanted to be able to help fill in the gap. Here is where I have the opportunity to share that knowledge of wealth with you all!
Now that you all remember who I am, let’s get to it! Instead of doing a full how to or review, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the after process. We’ve discussed adding various different colors or sealants to your piece as final stage but what happens if you add *too* much color? What if the glitter goes where you don’t want it? What if everything ends up covering your wood burned design more than you hoped? And in the end, you just don’t feel happy with the piece in front of you - have no fear!! It can and will be saved by you!!
While I firmly believe in the process, I do realize how tricky it can be to get the visual from your head to wood. So over the years of experimenting and trusting that process, I’ve noted different ways to fix an “oopsie” and different ways to salvage works that didn’t turn out how I wanted at first. If you remember from a few posts ago, when we did the adorable hippo pieces I mentioned having to go back over the burned lines carefully as I was messy with my watercolor. Because the color went over my burned lines, it made it harder to read and didn’t pop in the way I wanted. Re-tracing your lines is always a possibility just use caution! Make sure your color is dried 100% all the way through before attempting - if it is wet, it won’t burn properly and will cause a lot of extra smoke. look below and you can see a before and after of my re-tracing of the lines!
And the after!
I do it very slowly, using care to not over burn past my original line. I also do it at a lower temperature, letting my tool heat up fully before starting. Doing it slowly makes sure it stays at a proper low temperature. High heat could be an issue with the watercolor so it’s better to start out low and see if higher heat is needed! You can always add more color after retracing the lines if you decide it is needed. For this piece, tracing the lines and sealing it up had it looking exactly how I wanted!
For other pieces, the burned lines themselves were not my issue. If I am taking care and adding color carefully, my lines stay dark and glitter free! However, sometimes if I do not sand my piece and prep it for color well enough the color can “escape” or run past where I wanted it. For instances like this, there are two options. The first option may not always apply if it is a dark color bleeding into a light color but if it is possible to just add a little more of the original color on top once all is dry, you can minimize bleeding. Sometimes I’ll opt to just blend them in and create an ombre or a new shade of color. I trust the process ;) but as stated before, you do not have to follow along or do what I do! Just do what feels right for you and your art.
If you look at this set of pictures below, you can see where I had color bleed past my original line.
The before, notice the orange going over the line
The after, notice how I blended the orange and yellow colors past the original lines into a bigger sun circle. This wasn't the intended original way but it turned out looking better than I pictured in my head - happy accidents only, just as Bob Ross told us!
Sometimes, we find ourselves in a bigger pickle however and realize we cannot cover the oopsie up! It happens to the best of us - a cat or kid knocks something over, our hand cramps and we miss the intended spot or we just change our mind later! Whatever the reason is, there are a few things you can do to minimize the oopsie!
If the oopsie is involving matte or not highly glittery watercolor, acetone can remove it on a sanded wooden surface! If you use anything to prep your surface, this method may remove that so take caution! If you do not have acetone, rubbing alcohol or isopropyl can also work - just be careful and do a small spot test before doing the whole thing!
If the oopsie is large or dark, the best method is honestly to sand it carefully off! This has saved me a few times when I was first learning watercolor on wood and it still comes in handy when things do not stay where I want them. Take precautions when sanding as it can easily undo all of your hard work of your sand too much! I use a fine sanding paper (or sometimes a piece if it’s a very small part I’m touching up) and carefully edge it over the part I am trying to fix. It may not always undo it 100% but it will make it so you can cover it up easily!
If the oopsie is involving chunky glitter, the best method to fix it is to let it dry fully and then scrape off as much chunky glitter as possible. Fine glitter may not scrape off like the chunky glitter does but it will remove the excess! If this doesn’t fully remove it all, a small dab of rubbing alcohol or even a light sanding after can take care of the rest! Water does also spread the color out as well as the fine glitter so one could opt to just lighten it naturally with water and let it dry in between rounds until it is how you want it.
Looking below to the final set of photos, you can see some before and after shots of some tips listed above.
As you can see above, I didn’t like the color for the piece (it’s a gorgeous color!!) and decided I wanted to remove it altogether. Because it is matte, acetone is my friend here.
And the after! Color is gone and the piece has to dry now before I want to add water and color again. A little bit of fine glitter is still there but since I am using other glitter watercolors, I didn’t care. This is to ensure all alcohol has dissipated before I add anything that’ll make it mix into my color and change the effect. Cross contamination of acetone/alcohol and watercolor is a no go!
As you can see, I accidentally used a little silver/blue where I meant to use pink, oops! But have no fear, sanding will help here!
After sanding! As good as new and all pinked up! If the blue hadn’t come off fully, I would’ve added some purple or darker pop of color to cover up my happy mistake. There’s always a way!
There is always a way to “save” the piece so think outside the box, try a few things and wow yourself with the final outcome! So get experimenting lovelies and let’s see what you create this week!