DIY Pyrography Race Bib Display Tutorial

Woodburning, organizing, and showing off? What else could you want to do on a Saturday night?

Junk drawer overflowing with bibs and medals from races past? Ours was too. Even worse, I think we may have lost a few in the discord that is the junk drawer. I have seen bib holders on Etsy that are beautiful, but nothing that has been too personal to me. I needed to make my own, with my own words/colors/glitter! Meandering around Michaels craft store for a di

fferent project, I found inspiration in the form of a new craft I have never tried, pyrography! For less than fifty bucks I came out of the store with all the supplies needed, and a new tool to use on future projects. The results came out fantastic! Follow our tutorial below and feel free to download the PDF’s (sole mates, couples text, and hero logos) and print the ones we used if you are inclined.

Supplies needed:

  1. Pyrography toolkit (it is basically a soldering iron with a bunch of different tips)
  2. Graphite transfer paper (or you can go old school: cover the back of your design with lead pencil)
  3. Pen for tracing
  4. Wood board (balsa wood is best-a soft wood is recommended for beginners), sanded (if bought at Michaels or a craft store it should be ready to go). The one pictured is a balsa wood measuring x
  5. A pattern/type that you want to trace printed out (here are the ones we used: sole mates, couples text and hero logos)
  6. Hooks for hanging bib
  7. Hooks/knobs for hanging medals/swim caps (a little larger to accommodate the ribbons)
  8. Mounting sawtooth hangers/frame screws for the back of the wood to hang on the wall when done
  9. Have a wrench nearby for switching out the tips so you don’t have to wait until the whole iron cools (not required though)
  10. For any mistakes, have a piece of sandpaper nearby to erase any small nicks.
  11. You can also get a light colored stain or watercolors to add color/stain later.
  12. Optional, but recommended by Boss Bettys:
    1. a cocktail
    2. a best friend to help keep your spirit up during the wee hours of crafting

Let’s get our pyro on!

  1. Gather supplies
  2. Turn iron on, picking the appropriate setting for your wood
  3. Once heated, flip over your wood and do some practice strokes, getting the feel for your iron and how it reacts to the wood. We learned a steady, but firm hand is best. We played around with the different tips to figure out which one would be best for each area of our project. Alex liked the nubby one for her piece, allowing for the round type. I used the hard edged and calligraphy tool since I had lots of strait lines and thinner areas. Don’t rush this step! Figuring out how to use this tool will really pay off with your finished project.
  4. Once ready, position the your pattern over your graphite paper, taping it down if you are worried about slipping and moving the paper
  5. Trace away, but don’t worry about filling in anything. Just worry about the outlines
  6. Start pyrographing, focusing on outlines first, then filling them in if you want to. Alex liked her lines filled in, I liked mine with that branded look so I forewent the extra step.
  7. At this point, with your burn complete, you can stain the wood, or even add watercolor. Alex liked hers raw, I wanted a little more of an antique look so I stained mine.
  8. Flip your board over and install the hanging hooks
  9. Flip it over again and mark on the bottom of your board equal distances where you want your ribbon/swim caps hung. We found that three looked best on ours and screw the hooks in (with the nice soft balsa wood, we had no trouble doing this by hand). Alex liked hers to hang right off the bottom, I liked mine about an inch up. This is totally up to you and your taste!
  10. Grabbing a bib for reference, mark where you want the bib hooks and screw them in.
  11. Hang that bad boy up and organize that junk drawer. Be sure to put it in a visible part of your house so anyone that visits you knows how boss you are

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