You can transfer the design/pattern on a paper to a wood surface using Transfer paper or Carbon paper. You can also transfer a design onto the wood surface by using ‘Retracing the Back’ and ‘Rubbing the Back’ methods. Retracing the Back is the most common method of transferring the design from paper to wood.
If you transfer a design to a wood surface properly, the work is half-done in my opinion. There are various methods of transferring a design onto the wood.
In this article, we shall discuss the various ways to transfer a design onto the wood surface. I will also discuss the pros and cons of each of them.
Can you transfer printed paper to wood?
Yes, you can transfer designs on printed paper to wood. There are techniques to transfer printed designs onto wood for crafting purposes.
You need Freezing paper/Wax paper to transfer a design onto a wood surface. You can use these techniques to transfer lettering and designs/patterns.
You can also use regular printed paper(~20lb. paper) to transfer designs onto a wood surface. It needs to be thin because you’ll rub the paper off once the design sticks to the wood surface.
Find a light-colored wood to work on, the light-colored background helps your design stand out.
What kind of paper do you use to transfer photos to wood?
You can use Transfer paper, Wax paper, or even Regular paper to transfer photos/designs to a wood surface.
Transfer paper is also known as Freezer paper or Graphite paper. As the name denotes the paper is coated with erasable Graphite powder.
You can print designs darkly using Freezer paper, at least that’s what I’ve experienced, compared to Waxed paper.
You need an ink-jet printer for waxed paper too. Cut the wax paper so that it’s the same as the printer paper, attach the wax paper to printer paper.
Do remember that if the process involves laying the printed paper face-down, make sure you print a mirror-inverted image.
By doing this, you’ll get the right design onto the wood surface instead of a horizontally-inverted one.
How to transfer a pattern from paper to wood for wood burning
There are four common methods of transferring a design from paper to wood. Let’s discuss each of those in detail.
Retracing The Back
Retracing the Back is the most common way to transfer a pattern from paper to wood for crafting purposes.
This method is better for simple/less-detailed designs. This method is preferred by many due to the fact that you only need a chalk pencil and a Stylus/Ball-point pen.
- Chalk or Pencil
- Stylus or Ballpoint Pen
- Place the printed paper face-down on the piece of wood.
- Take a piece of chalk and trace the pattern on the wood surface. The paper should stay face-down all the while.
- You can use a dark pencil for this purpose too.
- Check the wood surface and if the pattern hasn’t transferred properly, retrace the design again using a Stylus.
- Be careful while you do this as you might intercept the previous pattern.
This method is the easiest alternative to the Transfer paper method.
Transfer paper/Wax paper
You can use Transfer paper to blot the design onto the wood surface, but you need an ink-jet printer to print on the transfer paper.
Transfer paper is quite thin and thus only an ink-jet printer can print the design on this paper. This also makes this process affordable in my opinion.
So, let’s look at the supplies you need for this method.
- Transfer paper
- Soft grip stylus
- Measuring tape
Follow the below instructions to transfer designs onto a wood surface using Transfer paper.
- Measure the wooden piece and cut the Transfer paper accordingly. Place the Transfer paper between the wood surface and the printed paper.
- Now, gently trace the pattern using a Stylus. Do this in one go if you want to imprint the design properly.
- You can erase the extra tracing if you want, be careful while you do this.
- If you do it right you’d have traced the design onto the wood in a light-grey color.
- You might need to try a couple of times to get the design right. The supplies are all affordable so it’s worth it.
You can use Carbon paper to transfer a design from printed paper onto a wood surface.
Carbon paper was originally meant to be used in Typewriters to double the efficiency of typewriters. Carbon paper copied the text from the printed paper onto the next one, decreasing the burden of the typist.
This is the same idea behind this technique we’re about to discuss. You trace out the design on the wood surface using Carbon paper. So, let’s look at the supplies you need for this method.
- Carbon Paper
- Ruler or Measuring Tape
- Cut out a piece of Carbon paper that’s similar in size to the pattern you want to imprint. Place it between the printed paper and the wood.
- Gently trace out the design on the wood using a Stylus. Do this carefully but do it at one go for the best results.
- Only trace the design which you want to imprint on the piece of wood.
- The drawback to this method is that you can’t erase it as you can with Transfer paper.
- The pattern you blotted will be darker than using Transfer paper. You can remove the design using a sanding pen if you desire.
Rubbing The Back
‘Rubbing the Back’ is one of the easiest transfer methods. It is beginner-friendly and you can transfer simple designs easily using this method.
Print your pattern on paper using an ink-jet printer. The drawback is that the imprint won’t last long, it’ll fade away if you don’t work on the project quickly.
You could blow the pattern off with some air, so carve/burn the design quickly. Let’s look at the tools you need.
- Chalk or Pencil
- Stylus or Ballpoint Pen
- Place the printed paper upside down so the printed side faces the wood surface.
- Take a piece of chalk or pencil and rub it on the surface of the paper. To reaffirm, you’re rubbing chalk on the page that isn’t printed.
- Gently dust the excess chalk powder/graphite powder and turn the paper so it coincides with the design.
- Re-trace the design using a Stylus, making sure that you’re tracing the exact same pattern as on the printed paper.
How do you heat transfer paper to wood?
You can use t-shirt transfer paper to transfer a pattern from paper to wood. Let’s see what you need and how to do this.
- Inkjet printer
- T-shirt transfer paper
- Thin cloth or pillowcase
- Clean, smooth, unfinished wood surface
- Print the mirror-reversed image onto the t-shirt transfer paper in the ink-jet paper.
- Keep the printed paper aside for 5-10 minutes.
- Place it on the surface of the wood so that the printed side touches the wood surface. Cover this with a piece of thin cloth.
- Set the Iron machine to the highest and place it in a section of the paper for 15 seconds. Press it down firmly.
- Keep doing this with every section of the paper and let the whole setup cool for 10 minutes.
- Make sure you Ironed the entire image before flipping the paper over. Check to make sure the pattern is transferred properly.
Happy Crafting 🙂