Today I wanted to go over my exact process when doing a custom wood burning order.
I have done so many custom wood burnings over the years and love to do them occasionally when I have time. It is a lot of work, but it is very rewarding in the end and can create lifelong customers.
Creating custom wood burnings can be very time-consuming, from talking to the customer about their idea, to sketching, revisions, wood burning, sealing, etc.
In this post, I go over my process of creating custom wood burnings for customers. Let’s get into it!
My Custom Wood Burning Process
Below is a detailed process of how I engage with customers for custom wood burning orders. I do this all over email.
Ask For Their Ideas
Usually, when people contact me for custom wood burning art, they give a brief idea of what they are looking for. Most times I ask for a quick description of their ideas and how large the sign/piece they want.
One thing I want to note is I don’t take all custom order requests. If it’s a project I’m not comfortable doing or something I won’t enjoy creating, I don’t do it.
Though this is a job to me and pays my bills, I also want to enjoy doing it. So I usually stick to doing what I love. And most times people are looking for work that I already do (such as my sunflowers and nature themes).
Give Them Estimates
Before I even do ANYTHING, I give them an estimate for the price after they give me their ideas. This is usually a range because I won’t know more of a definite price until I do the sketch and pick out the wood slice.
I like to give them a price range pretty quickly in this whole process because if they back out because of the price then I won’t have wasted any time working. Time is extremely precious as an artist and it’s especially precious when doing custom orders.
At this time I usually give them a time frame too. For example: “This custom piece should take around 2 weeks before shipment.” It’s just nice to be clear and upfront about everything really early on in the conversation.
Pick Out The Wood Slice
After they agree to the price estimate and the time it will take to complete, I then pick out several wood slice options for them to choose from. I take a picture of the options, number them, and let them pick their favorite.
Once they pick out the wood piece, I then move on to the sketch. Since all wood slices are so different, it helps when I have the wood slice in front of me to create the sketch around. Sometimes you have to work around knots, grain, or unique shapes.
Do The Sketch
This is how I do my sketches for wood burning art: I take a photo of the wood slice, add any text onto the picture on the computer (if they want words on it) then print the photo. Then I do a pencil sketch for details.
I prefer to do sketches on the photo of the wood slice because it gives a better idea of the finished piece vs me just sending over a sketch on a white background.
After my sketch is complete, I email them a photo of it and the final price of everything including shipping. When I complete a sketch, I get a good idea of how long everything will take me so I’m comfortable at this point at narrowing down to a final price.
Have Them Purchase
Once the sketch and price are approved via email, I send them a custom listing to purchase. I never start the wood burning without payment, and I encourage others to do this as well to protect your time.
Many times before I have heard of artists doing the entire custom piece and then never getting payment beforehand. The customer either ghosted them or communication was lacking and they didn’t want to pay that much in the end.
Having them purchase before you get started ensures you won’t be wasting your time. Plus it also shows the customer is serious and appreciates you and your craft.
Start Wood Burning
Once I get the email notification that the custom listing was purchased, I send them an email thanking them and letting them know I’m getting to work!
In this email, I also remind them of a time frame and let them know when they should be hearing from me soon.
My working process usually takes days and days of work, depending on the design. But wood burning is a very tedious craft and takes many hours to complete. I always make sure this is reflected in my price.
Once the wood burning is complete (yay!) I take a picture of the finished piece and send it over to the customer for final approval. My message usually includes that I had fun making it and I hope they love it but to let me know what they think. I also include that once they let me know I’ll get it straight to the post office and they should get it within a couple business days.
All my custom signs are shipped with Priority Mail so it’s super quick. Coasters are usually first class unless it’s a bulk coaster order.
I don’t believe I’ve ever had a customer ask for changes at this point. I really try to be thorough with my sketches and descriptions early on so they know what to expect. Wood Burning art is also a very tricky medium to change once it’s done so my advice is to be upfront and clear on what they will be getting.
You can also send updates throughout the process but I never do that as I like to just send over the beautiful final piece in the end. 🙂
If you are sealing the wood burning, you probably want to save this step till the end because once it’s sealed no changes can be made.
Custom Pyrography Orders
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t take on custom orders all the time because of my busy schedule (especially now as a new mom) but I really enjoyed all the ones I’ve done over the years. I have done custom wood burned signs, coasters, cake toppers, and more!
Wood burning art is a great medium and many people are usually fascinated by the fact you can draw beautifully with fire.
I would also love it if you checked out my original wood burned pieces for sale as well!
Thanks so much for reading and let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.