Oh... we know you can imagine the possibilities. Giving a hunk of hardwood that classic "branded" Western look. Creating an original poster or piece of wall art with a natural woodgrain background. A sidewalk sign or marquee for a local store or event.
There are plenty of reasons you'd want to make a wooden sign with a burnt design. Here's how to do it: Giritberen, a maker and visual arts graduate from Istanbul, Turkey, came up with this technique to create a large scale wooden sign stenciled with a blow torch. The lines are crisp and the results look amazing.
See all that black type on the OSB front? That's burned in there and varnished over. Nice, right?
The process involves cutting a large stencil from Forex, a PVC-based sign material. If you have access to a CNC machine or laser cutter at a local community workspace, that's one way to go, or you can contact a local signmaker. Do note that you're burning plastic here, which is quite toxic, so you'll need to take extra steps and precautions.
Of course, you could also use 1/8" plywood or MDF as a stencil material, either having it cut or trying it yourself with a jigsaw or coping saw. This should work just fine for simple shapes, and still produce awesome results.
Check out the full process at Instructables: Stencil for Wood Burning