Yes, you read that right. Gunpowder wood-burning!
I was first introduced to this technique by my friend Kat G. last year when she submitted it for a class at the All Things Silhouette Conference. Once I told my husband about it we started looking into it a little bit more and found there are many gunpowder wood-burning artists out there. It is so fascinating to watch. While I am no artist that can hand draw things, especially with gunpowder, I can use my Silhouette to create a stencil to wood-burn with.
I was cruising on Pinterest one night and showed my husband a design and he suggested we do the wood-burning with gunpowder again. I added this to my growing list of Cameo Pro projects. Since the Pro can cut up to 24″ wide, the 17″ wood round was no problem for this design.
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Supplies needed for this project:
17″ wood round – Home Depot or other hardware store
Cameo Pro Silhouette machine – smaller machines could do it in smaller stencil sections
Accurate 4350 Smokeless Gunpowder from Midway USA – slow burning is better
Oracal 651 24″ vinyl
Oracal Transfer Tape
Wipe on Polyurethane
Fonts and design to create your project:
Elegance font by Silhouette – Design #255706
Wine Tasting by Deborah Stine – Design #57438
The first thing I did was take a photo of the wood blank I would be using, or one similar and then open that photo in the Silhouette software. This allows me to use the photo of the blank to design on and create a “mock-up” of the design so I know what it might look like.
Keep in mind that photo file can come in quite large, depending on the size of the image. I then used the Scale option in the top Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) to scale the image down to a size I could see next to my design mat.
Next, I drew a circle to 17″ using the Draw Ellipse tool on the left side. Hold the Shift key down when drawing and it will create a perfect circle. The Transform Panel – Scale Tab can also be used after it is drawn in order to get the exact dimensions as well.
I have increased the line thickness so you can see the red cut line of the 17″ circle drawn.
I then scaled the wood round image to fill the 17″ circle by using the corner bounding boxes.
Select both the photo image and the circle drawn and then using the Modify > Crop tool, I could eliminate the excess around the wood round image.
Now, I have the image to use when creating my design.
I add things to my design page and move things around, test out different fonts, and usually create quite the creative “mess” on my working file. Keep in mind the more data you add to the file, the larger it is, so make sure that you save your file often.
Do your files look like that?
I love the ability to be able to create and move things and test what I think is going to work. This file took me several weeks of back and forth with font styles and designs to get it how I liked it.
And then I sent the full design through the Cameo Pro to cut. It is awesome to be able to cut this stencil decal all in one solid piece. While you could still accomplish this with a smaller Silhouette machine, it would have to be done in pieces and then hand placed.
With large decals I find that that hinge method works great for applying the decal as you can keep it held in place with painter’s tape so it will not move while you secure it down.
Here is a quick video to show the hinge method
Next, I taped off the edges. I found that making the decal slightly smaller than the wood round helped me to align the design so it was easier to center. Then taping off the edges of the wood round ensured that it didn’t get burned in places outside of the decal.
And then comes the fun part! Applying the gun powder & burning!
Now, first let’s talk a little bit about safety.
I know that doesn’t sound very fun, but it is necessary.
Safety precautions: fire extinguisher, safety goggles, no wind, long lighter, safe area outside away from buildings, vehicles, and children
While the gun powder does not burn for too long, it is an explosive.
You should have seen the UPS guy drop the package at our house and run – lol!
Now that that’s out of the way…..
Spread the gun powder out on the design and do small sections at a time. The extra time it takes to do it in small areas will be well worth it. We also burned each area twice to get a good solid fill with the burning.
We found out with our first large round that trying to do it all at once just lead to the vinyl melting into the wood and made it difficult to remove. Here is a photo of our first attempt, which I will later sand down and use for something else.
With a little more time and controlling the burning a little bit more, we ended up with a successful 17″ round burned with the design. Check it out here:
After all the burning is done, remove the adhesive vinyl. I did not let it sit too long because I did not want the adhesive to set up.
Finish off the wood round as desired. I used an oak stain on top and then a coat of wipe on polyurethane.
And I love how it turned out! Perfect for my dining room wine décor!
I love all the possibilities that are available when using the Silhouette machine!
The possibilities are endless!
What do you think? Something you would try or does it get the creative juices flowing?
Comment below or on my Facebook group.
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Silhouette Secrets with EllyMae.
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6 thoughts on “Wood-burning with Gunpowder & Silhouette”
Love this idea, but you have to be licenced to keep gunpowder (or even purchase it) in the UK!
Really?! I’m interesting. Hunting is big in the US so it’s pretty readily available.
Can you make a vinyl stencil with a cricut machine? Does it have to be special vinyl? How do you keep it from melting?
I did not test Cricut vinyl. I used regular Oracal 651. It is a very fast burn so it doesn’t melt. If you put too much Gunpowder on a single spot, it can melt the vinyl.