How to Make a Branding Iron

How to Make a Branding Iron

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Branding irons offer you a unique way to personalize everything from steak to leather crafts to wood. When you learn to make a branding iron, you not only create your own personal imprint, but you will also be able to recreate it, as store-bought branding irons will wear out eventually and continually buying replacements adds up.

Items you will need

  • Wire coat hanger

  • Tin snips

  • Permanent marker

  • 2 small vise grips

  • Pattern

  • (2) 4"x1"x1/2" pieces of bass wood

  • 2 wood screws

  • Phillips head screwdriver

Cut your wire coat hanger near the hook and straighten the wire out by hand as much as possible.

Place a mark 12 inches in from one end of the coat hanger. This section you will not bend because it will become your handle.

This drawing of a camel becomes a shape you can use as a continuous line drawing.

Create your pattern. Remember that the brand will follow a continuous line to recreate your design. Most designs consist of outlines of shapes (cows, outlines of states) or a person's initials (with the letters connected as if they were written in script). A good way to understand this is to think of cookie cutters--those shapes are continuous line drawings. You will want to be able to follow your design with your wire without making any cuts to it.

Pick a point in your drawing where your continuous line will start. Lay your wire down on the table with the starting point of your design crossing the wire where the portion you marked off as the handle ends.

Make a mark on the wire where your first bend needs to be and the second.

Place one pair of vice grips on the wire just before the first bend mark and one just after. Grab both sets of vice grips and bend the wire. Move the vice grips to before and after the second mark and bend the wire again.

Lay your wire down again on your pattern and check the bend that you made. If they follow the pattern, continue marking and bending until you have recreated the pattern in the wire. If you do not like a bend, simply reattach the vise grips and straighten out the bend and try again.

Attach one pair of vise grips at the base of the straight part of the wire that will become your handle and one just before where your pattern begins in the wire. Bend the handle part so it rises from the pattern in a 90 degree angle.

Bend (with the vice grips) a small hook in the very end of the wire that will form your handle. Place your two block of wood, one on either side of the wire and push them up so they are stopped by the hook. Screw the two blocks together with your wood screws.


  • Do not use a wire coat hanger brand to brand food; use an aluminum metal to form any kind of brand intended for steaks or other meats as it will be considered sterile enough for food use.


  • Use oven mitts when handling a brand even if you have added a wooden handle; metal conducts heat exceptionally well and you run the risk of severe burns without adequate protection for your hands.
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