I'm an artist new to wood burning (pyrographics) and I just finished a female nude on pine plywood.I would like to add a finish to the figure (not the background) as a subtle emphasis. But I don't want the color to change and want very little - if any - shine. I would love to make it look like skin in fact... almost soft, silky... Since it's wall art, I wont need much protection qualities.

After about 100 blogs, I think I should look at a water white matte finish? Is there a more suitable finish?

I would love some more help/ input. Keep in mind I virtually know nothing :)

female nude by DayDreamDrawer

  • 3
    Only real way to know what's pleasing to your eye is to do a number of tests on similar scrap pieces. Nice art, btw. Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 0:49
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    Agree about testing on scraps. Do a quick doodle on some small pieces of the same plywood and see which finish works best for you. This way you can see what the finish looks like for both the plywood and the burn marks of the art itself. Pine especially is prone to blotching, so you might need to experiment quite a bit before finding what you like.
    – Eli Iser
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 2:01
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    As with protective finishes over canvas and paper works, a matte finish may tend to obscure some detail due to the flattening agents. Skin isn't completely matte either... Note that almost any finish will darken the wood a bit as if it had been dampened; that's another reason to test on scrap before finishing the important piece. As others have said, nice work, especially for someone new to the medium!
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


After about 100 blogs, I think I should look at a water white matt finish?

Yes. That's the ideal thing for what you're looking for I think. Specifically, a waterbased varnish or "waterbased finish" (these are often the same basic thing despite the name difference).

I would recommend you apply it by roller instead of by brush, much easier to get consistently even results over a large flat area.

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