Generally, I decorate only one side of the paddle and leave the natural grain to show on the other side. This one has some funky figured grain as well as a hint of heartwood on the right edge. The fact that I had oiled this paddle rather than sealing with varnish was a plus as well because one can add pyrography burnings to an oiled surface but not a varnished one without chemically stripping it first.
To get a nice clean centre line, a metal straight-edge was clamped to the paddle and the line burned with a high temperature flow point. This would eventually be marked off in one inch intervals to serve as the height gauge.
Clamped edge; Center line burned
As a bit of an extra addition, I scanned my little one's hands and feet and used Photoshop to convert the image to get a black and white photocopy effect.
Original scanned feet; Photoshopped version
These were then used as templates and burned onto the blade area so now we have a nice visual record of his pudgy extremities. Sort of wished we had done this at birth but better late than never. Here are some closeup shots of the blade and the paddle as it stands now...
Handprints & Footprints at 4 1/2 months
Blade with his birth weight; The Whole Paddle ready for years of growth