What Materials Can I Brand with a Branding Iron

by Lucy Maddox

While branding irons are well known among woodworkers to sign their wood creations, branding irons can be used on many materials, including wood, paper, cardboard, leather, food, cork or even plastic.

Here we unpack the most popular materials you can brand with a branding iron, as well as some ideas to inspire you. We also answer some common questions such as whether it is safe to use any branding iron on food, or whether it is a good idea to use a branding iron on finished wood.

Gearheart creates the best branding irons in the USA and has hundreds of happy customers. Order your custom branding iron today!

5 Popular Materials You Can Brand with a Branding Iron

Even though you can leave your mark on virtually any material with a branding iron, except for metal and glass, we’re going to cover the 5 most common materials you can brand:

  • Wood
  • Leather
  • Food
  • Paper
  • Cardboard


It’s no secret that branding irons are most commonly used to brand wood. You can brand any type of wood you like, including hard woods and soft woods. Remember though that the darker the wood, the harder it will be to read the mark.

Branding iron logo on light wood

What about finished wood? Can I use a branding iron on finished wood? We recommend that brands are not applied to wood that has been clear coated or painted. Non-polyurethane stains can be branded over if they are dry, but in general it's best to brand unfinished wood. Lacquer and polyurethane are likely to burn, bubble, and scorch, which makes the branded mark look ugly.

Whether you are handcrafting a wooden table or have just purchased a candle with a wooden lid from a boutique store that you’d like to personalize for your own home, or for a gift, adding a signature or image can add that unique touch you’re after.

Check out our branding irons for wood

Candle with wooden lid

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While traditional leatherwork often utilizes a cold stamp and mallet, you can get equally good results with an electric branding iron using the “hot stamping” technique. Leather hot stamping is ideal if you’re stamping a large quantity of items or when you’re going to be using the same design.

What leather items can you brand? Anything from custom leather key rings to purses or coasters.

Leather coasters with logo


Using an electric branding iron to mark your leather coaster set will create a real talking point in your home as you can personalize your set however you like and create something that no one else will have in their home.


Just as a painter would sign their painting, or an author would sign their book, if you have created a truly masterclass meal, maybe you fancy signing it too! The good news is, you can. You may wonder if it is safe to use a metal branding iron on food, and the answer is yes, as long as you use a food safe material such as aluminum. Aluminum is easy to clean, prevents odor and flavor transfer. Learn more about the difference between brass and aluminum branding irons.

Use a branding iron to mark your food items, from meat to bread to fruit, and serve your guests a meal they’ll never forget.

Orange skin with custom logo

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Can you use a branding iron on paper? Yes! You can definitely brand paper! Whether letterheads or brown paper bags, branding stationary, especially for your business, can really help set you apart. Adding character, texture and style to your paper goods will make you stand out as someone who values quality and goes the extra mile.

Brown paper bags marked with a branding iron

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If you have a large quantity of paper to brand, consider an electric branding iron as this is more convenient when branding the same design repeatedly. Once you plug a branding iron in and let it warm up, you’re good to brand for as long as you need.


And just as you can use a branding iron on paper, you can also leave your logo, signature or message on cardboard. Check out the customized boxes from CyclusMoto below:

Cardboard boxes marked with a branding iron

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Some other popular cardboard items to brand include business cards and wedding invitations. In fact, custom branding irons are becoming popular among future husbands and wives when planning their wedding because they are highly versatile and allow you to customize different items and, as you now know, different materials!

Get more ideas for your logo here.

Feeling inspired?

So there you have it! If you are keen to get creative and make some truly unique items using different materials, then we hope this article has helped inspire you.

We’d love to see your awesome items, all branded up using a custom branding iron of your own design – so please share your pics and tag us on Facebook and Instagram.

Why blend in when you can stand out? At Gearheart we encourage everyone to leave their mark using our high-quality branding irons. Order your custom branding iron today!