The Perfect Gift: Etched Wooden Spoons

November 18, 2013

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

It’s getting to be that time of year again: handmade gift-making season! This year, we thought it would be fun to try a new creative tool, a dremel (or you could call it a wood burner), a heated tool used for etching and drawing on wooden surfaces. For the next three days, I’ll be sharing cool and easy projects using this one tool (find the second project here).

First up, mixing spoons! Inspired by this project, I thought it would be interesting to see what super simple designs — dots, plaids and hatched arrows — looked like on the spoons. And they turned out so great, I thought they’d make a gorgeous gift!

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Since I had never tried one before, I found it fascinating to work with the etcher — it’s a whole different way to alter an object. And you guys are lucky, because after my experience with these projects I can offer some advice. As a warning, it does get crazy hot and can 1) burn skin, 2) burn a whole through clothing and 3) make burn marks on anything it comes into contact with. Only two of these items are inspired by personal experience and I’m embarrassed enough not to tell you which two. : ) So please be careful!

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

That said, don’t be intimidated. It was actually really easy to work with. Just be careful, and when you aren’t actively using it, rest it on a surface that won’t burn. And of course, make sure to unplug it when you are finished.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Also, there is a good chance that when you finish, you will smell like what I imagine Smoky the Bear smells like — burned wood. So crack a window, turn on a fan and pretend you’re enjoying a bonfire. The result is well worth it.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Plug in the Dremel and let’s get going!

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

- Wooden spoons. I bought a cheap-o pack from the store and ordered a little nicer set online for about a dollar each.
Etching tool. I know. A 20 dollar investment, but it gets great reviews and I think I’ll be able to use it ton. You could even share it among your crafty friends.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Heat up the etching tool and get to burning. Any design will do.

The best part of it is, you can doodle anywhere you want! Unlike with paint (which isn’t typically food safe), the design can continue onto the the parts of the utensil that will come in contact with food. Draw on the handle. Draw on the head. Draw on the whole thing! Dots, lines, hatch marks. The sky is the limit.

There isn’t much to direct here, and no templates needed. It’s that simple. You can use my designs as a reference, or free hand a design from your imagination. If you are more comfortable, you can trace a design or use a pencil to sketch on the spoon what you intend to do first. Then put the tool to the wood and make it come true.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

If you want, make a little symbol, like an artist’s signature, somewhere on the spoon (I used my signature heart), because it’s a piece of art! Then tie them up with a ribbon and the gift is ready.

——–

THIS WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- A house warming gift.
- A birthday gift for a baker.
- A Mother’s Day gift topper.
- Party favors for a kitchen-themed party or shower.

P.S. — Like to make gifts? Check out our Perfect Gift series.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janet November 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

Wow — very cool! Great gifts!

Reply

2 Birdy and Bambi November 18, 2013 at 11:01 am

Wow, what an amazing idea… I am searching for something special for my mum to give it to her for christmas… This sounds so nice! I will try it out!

Love from Germany and the fatcatconnection

Ps: meet Bambis army of fortune:
http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2013/11/weekend-reviewmy-army-of-fortune.html

Reply

3 Bambi November 18, 2013 at 11:27 am

This really is the perfect gift!!!

Love from Germany and a little weekend review:
http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2013/11/weekend-reviewmy-army-of-fortune.html

Bambi

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4 Ceci Bean November 18, 2013 at 11:42 am

You kind of read my mind with this project, only it came out even cuter than I envisioned!

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5 Beth C. November 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm

One more tip for folks unfamiliar with using a wood burning tool – once the design is burned in, chances are great that it won’t come out again. You can *try* to use a razor blade, but sanding won’t cut it…the burn tends to go down much further than most people suspect. I have an Etsy shop selling wood burned items, and this is spoken from my own experience ;) So try to have at least a basic idea of what you want *before* you start burning!

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6 Morgane November 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Ton blog est vraiment très, très sympa! J’aime beaucoup ce que tu fais et ça me donne plein d’idées! Merci beaucoup!

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7 blumenbabe November 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

here’s to a clever & creative christmas!
i’m off to locally source a “lötkolben” here in munich…
hope my house is still standing on the 25th ;-)

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8 Kim November 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for the creative gift idea!

Does anyone have other craft ideas for other uses for the dremel?

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9 Erica November 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I have a dremel! Woohoo!

This is seriously my favorite thing ever. Totally doing it. Thanks!

simplyonelove.com

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10 Lindsey Johnson November 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I could not love this more. I am doing it! I had a wood burning kit when I was a kid and LOVED it. Time to get one for my grown-up self! This is seriously my favorite DIY yet!

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11 Lizzie November 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm

We made these for the grandparents a couple years ago. I traced the outline of a spoon onto paper, my daughter decorated it, and then I transferred her drawing onto the spoons with the dremel. They turned out cute.

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12 Amy December 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Thank you for a great idea! I’m just buying the supplies for my kids to make these for the grandma’s for Christmas. Wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to make it safe and turn out well, but this seals the deal!

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13 Rebecca November 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I love this! I was about to buy a wood burning kit the other day and didn’t. Now I;m going back to get one! You did a great job.

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14 Jen November 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm

For the first time in my life I am seriously thinking about purchasing a dremel; an instrument whose name I was never aware of before now.

These are adorable.

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15 Delia November 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I adore this Amy! I actually have an etcher that I never use, so this is going right on my to make list for Christmas!

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16 megwrites November 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm

These are super cute! I love this idea. I’ve never even heard of this type of etching before, but now I really want to try it.

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17 Heidi November 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm

My husband makes little faces on my clothes pegs with his wood burner. They are so fun to look at when hanging out the wash.

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18 Dale November 19, 2013 at 4:29 am

What a fun idea,
thank you
(she says glancing furtively around the house looking for more things to burn….)

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19 Alice November 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm

These are so cute, thanks for this awesome tutorial! We’re a shaving company called Dorco and we provide quality razor systems, disposables, and cartridges for 30-70% less than leading brands. Check out our prices for yourself by Googling us! Thanks again for this great tutorial!

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20 Jennifer November 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Wow, I have been making these for a few years and it is great stress relief! Yours are awesome!

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21 Bree November 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Love it! I will have to go get my wood burner out. :)

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22 meg November 19, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Super cute!

A few questions–Are you at all concerned about bacteria/ick getting stuck in the grooves? How do you clean yours? Does burning them make them more prone to splitting when washed (ie, more opportunity for water to get inside)?

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23 Flor November 21, 2013 at 12:32 am

Love it, going out tomorrow and getting a dremel!! I would like to though, how different was the cheapo set compared to the more expensive ones? Did they both work out the same?
Thank you!

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24 Amanda November 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Do you think this would work on bamboo utensils? Or would the burning have a different effect?

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25 Sarah November 22, 2013 at 8:13 am

These are perfect! I need to get an etcher ASAP.

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26 Merissa November 22, 2013 at 10:35 am

I think you mean, “burn a HOLE through clothing”.

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27 Beth November 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

I love these! Great idea!

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28 K November 22, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Just a heads up for anyone looking to buy this tool – Dremel is a brand name, not a tool name. If you go to a home depot and ask for a Dremel, they will likely take you to the rotary tools, the tool most closely associated with the Dremel name. This is a woodburning tool.

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29 Amanda Keeys November 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

That is a really cute idea! Thanks for sharing. Hmm.. I need to buy up a stash of wooden spoons now.

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30 Alexis @ Persia Lou November 26, 2013 at 12:23 am

Great gift idea! I love the little heart on the ends of the spoons.

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31 Наталья November 26, 2013 at 9:52 am

Thanks to your article, I found the idea to decorate the kitchen spatula. Burn taught me in school. It was so much fun! I came up with snowflakes and Christmas trees for ornament. All the same New Year comes. My congratulations to the future of the holiday!

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32 Julia December 7, 2013 at 9:34 am

Love them so much, I added you to a DIY gift idea round-up! Love your blog, always. Check it out in the link below.

http://www.baker-builder.com/homemade-gift-ideas/

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33 I Love Gifting December 12, 2013 at 7:00 am

What an awesome gift idea. Love how the spoons look. I can think of a several more things to etch now:-)

http://ilovegifting.me/2013/12/11/christmas-gifts-for-teens/

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34 Mary December 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Just finished sketching our some Native American designs and thought what a unique idea to give as gifts this year to our seniors. Thanks for sharing.

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35 stephchadevlin December 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Amy –

these were my best gifts! some years, i over do it, but these were perfect – fun to make, including a piece of me (my time), and useful kitchen items. everyone loved them. my family was asking if they could use them, or if they were just for show…as if i made something so nice it was for display only. thank you for the idea. it’s been fun making the utensils and even more fun giving them out!

-stephanie

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36 amy c December 26, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I’m so glad you like them Stephanie! I love knowing about your makings, makes me feel so good! Have a wonderful new year!

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37 Amy December 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

I made these for grandparents for Christmas this year – and thought I’d report here how it went.

I followed the links in the tutorial and bought the same spoon set and dremel tool as recommended.

I have 3 kids, ages 3, 5, and 8. I had each kid draw a design directly onto the spoon/spatula with pencil. Then I went over it with the dremel. I thought we would be able to wash off the extra pencil marks, but couldn’t. A white eraser did the trick (regular pink pencil eraser seemed to leave marks and residue).

I traced exactly what they drew and wrote on the spoons with the burning tool, 3-yr-old-scribbles and all.

3 grandmas = 3 sets of 3 utensils.

They were a HIT! and a bonus, my 8 yr old even decorated one of the extras just for me. :-)

This is a perfect, handmade, DIY gift for kids to make!

I am wondering, though, if the “burn” smell will fade?

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38 Pedant February 20, 2014 at 10:37 am

Very cute! One suggestion for this post — don’t call the woodburning tool a Dremel. It’s just a Dremel-brand tool. When the word “Dremel” is used alone or as a verb, it refers to a rotary cutting/polishing tool. Looking at the comments, it seems the misnomer has caused confusion.

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39 Kylie June 3, 2014 at 12:35 am

Hi,
Do you sell these?

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40 Shabnam June 3, 2014 at 6:01 am

hmmm. as many have mentioned, Dremel is a brand name for tools, esp rotary tools. BUT, if you have a soldering iron, it will do as well. Or a knife heated over the stove… you get the idea.

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