View Full Version : Pattern transfer

Phillip Bogle
10-29-2008, 6:32 AM
I was reading some notes and links on transferring patterns for carving and wood burning. There were recommendations about laser printer and ironing. I have very little time to trace every pattern. Does anyone have any leads on where I can get some speed pattern transfer methods?

Darryl Hansen
10-29-2008, 7:39 AM
If you use a laser (not ink jet) you can rub the pattern with xylonel(sp??) and it will transfer the pattern to the wood. You can also get a carbon like paper from a craft store and trace the pattern with a pencil. I know the tracing is labor intensive but you may not have access to a laser printer.

Phillip Bogle
10-29-2008, 11:19 AM
I have a laser printer and a photo copier. Thanks for the tip on the fluid. Someone had posted a you tube link that demonstrated the fluid transfer method. Tracing is the part I am trying to avoid.

If anyone has anymore info I am willing to listen.
Thanks again!

randall rosenthal
10-29-2008, 11:28 AM
darryl....where would one get some xylonel to try this?

Phillip Bogle
10-29-2008, 4:35 PM
I just saw a you tube demo that used Acetone. Hardware or paint store. Apparently The acetone loosens the laser toner and puts it on the wood. I saw a demo of a hot iron doing something of the same thing. I want to do some wood burning so I am reluctant to try the Acetone. Though acetone has little effect on wood carving.

randall rosenthal
10-29-2008, 8:06 PM
well....i got a gallon of acetone in the shop....ill give it a try.....thanks

Mike Henderson
10-29-2008, 8:17 PM
Of course, one thing you can do is make a copy of your design (to the right size), glue it to the wood, and carve through the paper. The only disadvantage is the paper that's sometimes left on the "finished" work. You have to spend time cleaning it up.


[Oops, you were talking about wood burning and not carving. Sorry.]

Phillip Bogle
10-30-2008, 12:33 AM
Actually I was talking about both carving and burning. I had heard about the glued on paper, but the clean up was hard on detail work or fine lines.

Thanks for the ideas.

Vic Castello
10-30-2008, 7:21 PM
I've had great results with stencil film that I purchase from Treeline products:


You just run it through your copy machine, peel off the tranparent self adhesive mylar, position it where you want it on the wood, and press it in place. Takes 5 or 10 minutes, and you are ready to carve. I just started on a clock I am doing using this film. Here are some pics below showing how it works:

randall rosenthal
10-30-2008, 7:40 PM
vic....im a little confused ...does the mylar stay on the wood or does it just leave an image?

Vic Castello
10-30-2008, 8:09 PM

It's clear, it sticks right onto the wood, and I leave it there. Then, I usually color over the parts that I want to carve first. Then, I color over what I want to carve next. If you look closely at the pic on the right, you can see where I used a red pencil to color over the sections I want to take out first. Some folks don't need to color like this, but I find it a BIG help in avoiding mistakes.

Sometimes, after I initially carve around a certain element...say a flower, I'll use an x-axto knife to cut and peel a part of the pattern off of the wood for future use during the detail phase. I just stick it back on the origininal backing until I'm ready to use it again. It may not stick on as well as the first time, but well enough for me to do what I need to later.

Anyway...to me, it beats trying to retrace something over a bumpy surface using carbon paper.

randall rosenthal
10-31-2008, 10:29 AM
thanks vic....

Hal Taylor
12-08-2008, 10:34 PM
I'm not a usual reader of this forum, and just happened to get on (I'm a woodturner). I transfer laser (or photocopy) patterns with either a heat transfer pen or with xylenol. You can get xylenol at Lowe's in the paint dept. Do use caution as it's not a "good" solvent.

Wayne Cannon
12-09-2008, 2:28 AM
Google ' "ink jet" transfer ' and you will get a number of hits for pattern transfer papers that work with ink jet printers, such as the following:

Phillip Bogle
12-09-2008, 12:38 PM
I saw a tool in Woodcrafter catalog that was like a woodburner or soldering iron. Well being the "Rube Goldberg" thinker that I am - I printed out a pattern from my laser fax (on 20# bond) in mirror format. I had a nicely sanded piece of basswood waiting and a hot iron (for clothing type) set on linen (the hottest). No steam and you must be careful to hold the piece still until you lift, but it was a perfect transfer to the wood. One pass with the iron sort of "tacks" the print in place, but be careful if you lift or move the pattern then re iron you will double image. It was easy to sand off and start over when required. I haven't woodburned it yet, but the pattern has no effect on carving. I mention this process since laser copies are easy to get and this is a big time saver.

I am hoping that others try this, I woul like to know if anyone else has the same success.

Phil B.

Bart Sharp
12-16-2008, 3:52 PM
I had always used the iron method before with laser-printed patterns. It worked fine but seemed a little tedious. No matter how hot the iron was it seemed like I had to rub pretty hard over every inch of the pattern to get good transfer. For larger patterns that was kind of a pain.

On my latest project I used acetone like someone else suggested. The transfer was every bit as good (if not better) compared to ironing, and it took a small fraction of the time. Just lay the pattern face-down on the wood and rub firmly over the back with a rag damp with acetone. Bob's your uncle, pattern transferred.

Philip Berman
01-07-2009, 5:45 PM
if you print out a design with a laser printer (or a photocopier), you can then transfer the design by running a hot iron over the back side of the design, just like a transfer sheet. Of course, the design will come out backwards, but most printers will let you reverse the image prior to printing.