7 Shou Sugi Ban DIY Projects 2020 [With Videos!]


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List Shou Sugi Ban, Yakisugi & Charred Wood Project Ideas 2020 [Updated]

Whether the project is big or small, shou sugi ban will create a unique and resistant finish! Sten CC BY-SA

Shou sugi ban, or yakisugi (焼杉), is a Japanese process of burning wood to make it more durable and aesthetically pleasing.

While shou sugi ban is traditionally used as siding on residential and commercial buildings, it can be applied to smaller projects that you can make at home, including decorations, ornaments, signs, bowls and even furniture!

Even the newest of hobbyists can make shou sugi ban items that are beautiful and functional with minimal tools and costs. These types of DIY shoun sugi ban projects would make great gift ideas for loved ones or just as  something unique to spice up your living space.

Included here are seven shou sugi ban projects that are suitable for any enthusiast, from small candle holders and coasters, to larger projects, such as shu sugi ban tables. Check them out below!


What Tools Do I Need for These Projects?

1) Wood

Any type of wood works for most of the projects listed below. The woodworkers in the tutorials use easy to find, affordable wood in standard dimensions. A few of them require specific wood such as elm, cedar, and pine. Cedar is the traditional wood used for shou sugi ban, so when in doubt, cedar is a solid choice.

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2) Propane torch

A propane torch is needed for burning wood. Any size works, but a hand torch is sufficient for the projects included here.

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3) Wire brush

A wire brush is needed to remove excess char from the wood after burning.

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4) Sandpaper

Some projects require sandpapering before applying stains and sealants. It is a good idea to have 220 grit sandpaper for shou sugi ban projects.#

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5) Color stains

Depending on your preference, some of the artists in the video tutorials finish their pieces with colored stains/dyes. These come in a range of colors.

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6) Sealant

Brush on sealant is used in most of the tutorials listed here, but spray on clear coat is also fine.

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7) Gloves

Heat resistant gloves and rubber gloves are helpful when using propane torches, stains, and sealants.


8) Woodworking tools (lathes, saws, chisels,  etc.)

Depending on your skill level and interest in woodworking, certain power tools are helpful when making the projects listed below. Specific tools are shown in each video.


9) Paint Brush

Apply your stains and sealants with a paint brush of your choosing.


10) Wood glue

A few of the projects below use wood glue for assembly.


11) House numbers

The house number sign of course requires house numbers to complete the project. You can find these at home improvement stores and online retailers (link above). They come in a range of colors, sizes, materials, and styles.


12) Wood clamps

Wood clamps are needed for assembling the planter box included below.


13) Nylon Brush

A nylon brush is used for the shou sugi ban table project because it is less harsh than a wire brush.


14) Linseed Oil and Danish Oil

These oils are used to seal the shou sugi ban table. They are a more natural alternative to other clear coats.


List of 7 Shou Sugi Ban & Charred Wood Project Ideas

1) House Number Sign

Begin by cutting a 1×3 board into lengths that fit on a piece of 8×24 inch plywood. Burn the pieces with a propane torch. To create a variegated effect, pass over the wood several times to make it darker and use only one pass to leave some lighter areas.

Apply wood glue to the plywood board and nail the smaller wood pieces to the plywood. Trim off the excess and attach burned trim around the perimeter of the sign using the same gluing and nailing method.

Seal your project with an outdoor, matte clear coat to protect it from the elements. Attach numbers to the sign according to the instructions provided and hardware to hang your sign.


2) Coasters

Starting with a standard 2×4, burn the end of it with your propane torch. Then, cut the burned end off to create a square coaster. Repeat this process until you have the desired amount of coasters. Brush away excess soot with a wire brush and sand the coasters to prepare for the finishing steps.

Depending on your personal preference, apply colored stain or simply seal your work with a brush on oil finish.


3) Planter

Begin with four pieces of pine to form a rectangular box. The measurements can be customized to fit your needs. Glue the pieces together with wood glue or a primer. Use wood clamps to hold the pieces together as they dry.

Let the pieces dry for at least 30 minutes before moving on with the process. Begin burning the planter box with a high flame. Burn until the wood begins to crack and peel. Then, scrub away excess soot with a wire brush to reveal the actual finish of the wood.

Finish with a brush on sealant of your choice, and your planter box is complete!


4) Candle Holders

Cut a scrap piece of cedar down to 2 ½ inches and cut holes for tea light candles using a hole saw. Burn the piece with a propane torch until the desired effect is reached.

Dust away excess soot, sand the piece, and finish with a stain and clear coat of your choice.


5) Wooden Bowl

Start with a piece of elm and work it into the shape of a bowl using woodworking tools that you have on hand. Burn the wood, remove excess soot, and apply a layer of wood dye in a color of your choosing.

Hollow out the bowl and lightly burn the inside. Apply more wood dye to create a bold look and clear coat to seal the bowl.


6) Moon Spirit Garden Decor

This is a more advanced project aimed at woodworkers with experience in carving who would like to try shou sugi ban on pieces they may have already made. Start with a carving of your own design or one similar to the moon spirit shown in the tutorial.

Make sure there is not a lot of detail in your design or it may be burned away. Spray water on areas of the piece that you do not want to get burned too much. Do a deep burn and then brush away the char.

Use a colored stain to add depth and warmth to the piece. Then seal with a clear coat of your choice.


7) Shou Sugi Ban Table

This project can be made using an existing table, or you can make your own table and then apply the shou sugi ban technique. Burn the table using a deep burn to get an alligator finish, which looks crackled.

Use a nylon brush to avoid scoring the table too much and brush away the char from all surfaces. Hose off the table and apply linseed oil and Danish oil to seal the table.

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