Fake Wood-burning

Genuine woodburning pictures take a lot of skill, but look good. You can get similar results more easily.


These pictures were selling for $30 for the smallest – upward. OK, it won’t make you filthy rich, but a large picture could be closer to $100. As my workmate used to say “It’s better than a slap in the face with a wet fish.” And to an old-age pensioner, it could be worthwhile.

Genuine Pyrography=Pokerwork=Woodburning Craft

Originally this form of art was created with a red-hot poker. You had to keep putting the poker back in the fire to heat. You make black lines on wood by burning it. If you have enough skill, you can burn the wood just enough to create various shades of brown.

I tried it forty years ago with my electric soldering iron. It worked, but I’m not artistic, and it took too long to create mediocre results.

At that time my soldering iron cost several weeks wages. Our local hardware shop now offers a wood burning kit with a whole range of different tips. You can use a fine point to make lines or a broad tip that is cross-hatched to shade, for example. It only costs $30, so if you are artistic – have a go.

Fake Pokerwork

I was truly impressed with the pictures shown above. I asked how long it took to burn them. The artist explained that they were done with black ink. Many people stop liking a picture if the artist is not who they think it is. They reject a fake. If I like a picture, I don’t care who made it or how. I like those pictures.

My ideas for Fakery

The ultimate tool for the non-artist is the camera. If I can remember which is my artistic finger, I can use it to press the shutter release. Voila! Art!

Half a century ago I had the “brilliant” idea of chopping a photo into equilateral triangles, rearranging them at random, and looking for a gullible idiot who would buy my pictures at high prices as great art. I mentioned it to an artist friend who said: “You’re too late – it’s been done already.”

However, everything old is new again, so if you would like to buy some brilliant modern art made by the upcoming artist Ian McAllister, bidding starts at $50,000. If you buy soon enough, you might get one of my triangle pictures before the price rises to fifty million dollars.

I made a very beautiful oil painting many years ago. I took a very beautiful photograph and projected it. Then I daubed oil paints in all the colored patches and ended up with a reasonable copy of the photograph. I was an artist…

How I would Make Fake Pokerwork

Note: There are no picture frames, just wood panels.

  • Seek 6-ply wood with attractive grain that is cheaper than wide planks of wood.
  • Find attractive photos on the web.
  • Convert the photo to a sketch. If you don’t have Photoshop, make a black and white photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of your photo. That should leave no shades of gray. Only some pictures will still look good after you brutalize them. Then scan your last photocopy into your computer.
  • Now project the scan onto your wood, and adjust the distance to get the right size. In Photoshop you can adjust the size of the picture, but it is usually easy to adjust the distance instead.
  • Now ink in the black lines. You are an artist…

If you are a retired salesman or another kind of confidence trickster, start your plans to get the money rolling in.

Oh – if you like the pictures, why not make some for yourself? If you hate them, why not give one to your grandchildren?
You are looking at my last post about the “have a go day” fête.

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