How to Use a Scorch Marker with 7 Simple Steps

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to use a scorch marker

A Scorch Marker is a fantastic tool that allows creative individuals to express their ingenious ideas on wood and other surfaces. We won’t deny that home decorations with burnt wood markings are definitely an added touch to the house’s interior!

However, Scorch Marker projects will be successful with a heat source, either from a heat gun, cigar lighter, or other materials.

Thus, knowing how to use a Scorch Marker is essential as it keeps you safe while practicing creativity outside the pen-and-paper setting.

7 Simple Steps to Use a Scorch Marker

Before giving in to the excitement of doing the steps while reading this article, it is best to familiarize the entire method first to avoid being preoccupied and ending up hurting yourself!

Without further ado, here are the things you need to prepare:

  • Scorch Marker
  • Wood for Scorch Marker
  • Sandpaper – It’s recommended to use 500-grit sandpaper for most wood pieces and 1000-grit sandpaper for softer ones, including bamboo and pine.
  • Soft rug
  • Pencil
  • Heat-resistant surface
  • Heat gun

Step #1: Sketch out your drawing!


With any type of pencil, draw out the lettering or figure you want to be engraved on your wood. You may also look into Scorch Marker stencils if you like following a ready-made design!

You can skip this step and use the Scorch Marker directly on the wood.

However, following this part of the method makes it easier to trace the drawing or markings with a Scorch Marker with minimum erasures or mistakes!

Mistakes you make with a Scorch Marker can be rubbed off with sandpaper! So, draw your creative heart away!

Step #2: Select the right sandpaper grit!

Sandpaper often differs according to the type of grit, and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to this. But you should always remember that the sandpaper grit goes finer as the number indication increases.

You have to examine the state and shape of your wood to know which sandpaper type you should get. For Scorch Marker projects, starting from the 150-grit and gradually going up to 500-grit is also a technique you can follow.

For softer wood pieces, you should go with a 1000-grit sandpaper.

Step #3: Sand the piece of wood with sandpaper!

The first step requires using your chosen wood, sandpaper, soft bristle brush, and a soft rag. This step is essential so the Scorch Marker can give you the outcome you expect.

Then, use sandpaper for your medium to smoothen the wood’s surface where you want the markings to be. Observing the surface of the wood, the direction of your sanding must match where the wood grain is directed– make sure not to sand inversely.

After sanding, use a soft rag to wipe out the wood particles left from the sanding.

Step #4: Set up your Scorch Marker!


Before you use the Scorch Marker, set it up by shaking the pen for at least half a minute. This will make your Scorch Marker work magnificently as the ink inside will be stirred well.

You may also prepare your Scorch Marker by putting the marker’s nib on a piece of wood or paper and exerting a little force to allow the tip of the marker to be hydrated with ink.

Step #5: Trace the drawing with a Scorch Marker!

Following the guide you made with a pencil, use the prepped Scorch Marker to trace the lines and figures on the wood.

Applying a single layer of ink would be ample to achieve burnt markings on the wood. It is best to start with a controlled amount of ink on a small wood area and assess the result by applying heat using the heat gun.

Then, build on it if a little more ink should be added or reduce the amount if you believe less should be applied.

A burning pen for wood, such as the Scorch Marker, offers two types of nibs to render a good effect– the brush and bullet tips.

Use them as you wish to create beautiful markings!

Step #6: Preheat the heat gun!


You should know that a Scorch Marker is a chemical wood burning pen that reacts with a certain amount of hotness. Since Scorch Markers are heat sensitive markers, you should preheat your heat source to reach at least 1,500 watts.

To do so, turn your heat gun on and set it at the hottest setting for about one minute and 30 seconds.

Preheating it will make the burning process faster as the chemical in the Scorch Marker will immediately respond to the heat applied.

Step #7: Start applying heat to the wood!


Heat must be applied when you use a wood burning pen so the markings will appear visible– use wood burning tool for this step. Be sure to place the medium on top of a heat-resistant surface so you will not damage your work desk.

When using a heat gun, ensure that you will not be heating the same area for a long time and keep it a few inches away from the surface. Instead, glide back and forth on the wood to render an excellent outcome!

Scorch Marker Alternative


If you seem to have difficulties in purchasing a Scorch Marker, look for a Scorch Marker alternative you can make at home.

Ammonium Chloride reacts to heat the same way Scorch Markers do. So, you may do these steps to develop your own homemade scorch marker alternative!

  • Dissolve one tablespoon of Ammonium Chloride into a half cup of warm water by stirring.
  • Sketch the markings or figures that you want to be burnt on the wood surface.
  • Using a paintbrush, trace the figure with a small amount of the Ammonium Chloride and water solution.
  • Use a heat gun to apply heat to the markings.

Heat Source Alternatives

If you do not have a heat gun, you may also use these heat sources as alternative options to a heat gun for Scorch Marker art projects:

  • Toaster oven
  • Direct flame
  • Small cooking torch
  • Propane torch
  • Broiler
  • Butane torch
  • Cigar lighter
  • Heat press
  • Magnifying glass and sunlight

Frequently Asked Questions


What is scorch markers?

A scorch Marker is a pyrography marker. This means it can create beautiful markings on pieces of wood with burnt effects. This pen is available in local stores that offer materials for arts and crafts!

You can also explore the Scorch Marker Hobby Lobby. Amazingly, some stores make it more trouble-free for artists as they offer the Scorch Marker kit, which already has everything except for the heat source!

Can you use a hair dryer with a scorch marker?

Although hair dryers may be conveniently available at your house, the heat it provides might need to be hotter. For Scorch Markers to work, the heat applied to the material must be at least 1,500 watts, and most hair dryers provide less.

But do not be discouraged, as there are many heat sources you could choose from to render Scorch Marker artworks– such as a toaster oven or lighter.

Even the traditional use of a magnifying glass and natural sunlight can work well.

How do you use scorch marker without bleeding?

Following the steps in this article will help prevent the bleeding of your Scorch Marker work.

Always remember to smoothen the surface of the wood properly, not leaving any existing marks. Also, preparing the Scorch Marker before using it will greatly aid the avoidance of bleeding.

What materials can you use scorch marker on?

Scorch Marker is a versatile pyrography marker as it can work on many different art media. Of course, wood is the most popular, but it also works on kraft papers, cardstock, or even denim!

But apparently, Scorch Markers do not work on painted wood as burning them can cause adverse effects on your health– this goes the same for coated or finished wood.


Creating home decorations with burnt wood drawings or figures easily serves as evidence of the ever-growing innovation that the art industry offers us. But easy does not immediately and necessarily equate to safety!

Therefore, it is crucial to learn the fundamental steps of using certain art materials, like the Scorch Marker, as some require additional hazardous items to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

So, we hope this guide on how to use a Scorch Marker was able to keep you safe and creative!

Other guides you can refer to:

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