How to transfer curved patterns onto wood

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How to transfer curved patterns onto wood
Decorating wood surfaces adds a final touch to any handcrafted or restored piece. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Decorating wood surfaces adds a final touch to any handcrafted or restored piece. For wood carvers, the final patterning is the best part. Whether the intention is to paint, burn or carve the curved design, the task offers a creative reward for the artist.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pattern
  • Pencil
  • Tracing paper
  • Pen
  • Wood
  • Tape
  • Sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Print off your design from the computer or select a curved pattern from your wood carving pattern book. Never try to hand sketch a curved pattern or template as it takes too long and the results are often inaccurate. When dealing with intricate designs, it's always good to go with a black and white line (no shading) pattern.

  2. 2

    Trace the pattern onto a sheet of tracing paper using a sharp pencil or fine pen. A strong light nearby makes this takes easier. Find tracing paper at your local arts and craft supplier.

  3. 3

    Turn the tracing paper with the curved pattern over and begin to rub the flat side of your pencil over the entire back of the pattern. Be sure to cover the entire surface with a thick coating of lead or graphite. An alternative is to cover the back surface with pen ink although this is messier.

  4. 4

    Position the pattern right side up on the wood where you would like your final design to be. Be sure to have the lead coated side touching the wood. If you chose to use ink in Step 3, dampen the surface of the wood to help the ink adhere.

  5. 5

    Go over the pattern again pressing your pencil or pen hard into the tracing paper. Be sure to keep the paper steady as you do this. You may wish to use a little masking tape to keep the paper in place as you trace.

  6. 6

    Remove the tracing paper carefully from the wood making sure to lift off rather than drag the paper across the surface of the wood. Any dragging will smudge the final design, especially if using ink as your imprint medium.

  7. 7

    Check that the curved pattern is exactly as you want it before making the design permanent. If you are unhappy with the final product, use a piece of sand paper to remove the design and repeat Steps 1 through 6.

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