It’s that time of year again when our school is preparing to be host the annual auction dinner which is a huge fundraiser for the school. During the auction each class has a project that is created and then auctioned off during the live auction. If you remember I did a project last year with my daughter’s class. Well this year I am leading my son’s class project and we will be using a wood burning pen to transfer the kids designs onto outdoor cedar planters.
I found these two cedar planters at Lowe’s and realized the slats on the sides would be perfect for the kids to add their names and a design. And in order to make it easier on myself I decided to have the kids draw and write their designs on pieces of paper and then I would transfer them onto the planters with carbon paper. This project can be done by anyone of varying skill levels from beginner to advanced. And another bonus is that you don’t need any major power tools.
Supplies Needed for Wood Burning Pen Outdoor Planters
The slats on the planters were roughly 3″ x 11″ and so I cut normal printer paper into 3″ strips for the kids to draw their designs and names. I went into the classroom and gave them each a paper and the instructions to write their names and draw something that represents “nature” to them. All of the designs were cute and unique!
Once I had all the kids’ drawings I used the carbon transfer paper as the bottom layer and their drawing over top to trace over their design. The transfer paper bundle I bought came with these stylus type pencils so that is what I used to trace over their designs as it helped to get some of the fine details transferred easily.
There are 26 kids in the class so I decided to do three kids names on each side of the planters with two sides having four names. After their handwritten words were traced I took the wood burning pens and traced over the initial tracing. The wood burning pens I bought came as a pack of two and each had a spare pen tip so that you could have a more fine point if needed. When first using the wood burning pen you will need to prime the pen tip to get the liquid to flow to the pen tip. This is done by pushing down on the pen until you see the liquid soak into the tip.
When I was done with the wood burning pens I used a heat gun to activate the pen ink and give the design a wood burned look. This wood burning pen is a handy little tool to have for big or small projects. If after burning the wood there were areas that seemed to be missing the burning I would re-apply the pen and then burn the wood again. I had to do this on several of the names to make them stand out.
When using a heat gun there are certain safety precautions that should be followed. One is not getting the heat gun too close to the wood so that the wood doesn’t catch fire. In addition the heat gun can get very hot so make sure not to touch the end and when you are done using it set it on a surface that is not easily flammable.
After I was done I applied on a clear wood sealant with a foam brush so that the designs won’t fade or warp. Because the designs are only on the surface and not burned into the wood the wood burned look can warp off over time.
Once the planters were finished and a couple days before the auction happened I had purchased two large planter pots with a variety of flowers to sit inside the planters when they are on display with the rest of the class projects.
This project is ideal for a school auction project because the kids won’t have to use wood burning pen or a heat gun and it creates a unique and functional piece of art. It is also a great project for a weekend woodworker who likes to experiment with different wood projects.