How to Use Graphite Transfer Paper on Wood

Written by elle smith
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How to Use Graphite Transfer Paper on Wood
Woodworkers can create precision tracing with graphite paper. (planing a table top image by leemarusa from

Woodworkers and hobbyists who like to carve detailed images on wood may enjoy using graphite paper to trace and transfer their pattern. Graphite paper can transfer images cleaner than carbon paper, and because it is erasable, the design can be revised and retraced repeatedly in case of an error. Graphite paper often comes in rolls, much like a waxed paper container, with a serrated edge to cleanly tear sheets as needed from the roll.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Graphite transfer sheets or roll
  • Pen or pencil
  • Tape
  • Wood

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  1. 1

    Choose the pattern or design you wish to transfer to the wood. Match the size of the wood to the pattern to ensure that it will all fit when transferred.

  2. 2

    Position one piece of graphite paper on the wood on which you will be transferring your image. Tape the paper to the wood. Ensure that the darker side of the graphite transfer paper is facing down, touching the wood. Use a sheet large enough to cover the piece of wood you're using, and ensure that it is also large enough to accommodate your design.

  3. 3

    Place the design pattern on top of the piece of graphite transfer paper. Place the design right side up, so that you can see it. Tape the pattern onto the graphite paper so it will not move when you begin to trace it.

  4. 4

    Follow the lines of your design with a pencil or pen, applying light pressure to ensure the graphite transfer paper is in good contact with the wood, but transfer with the lightest line you can see so you can revise any lines if necessary. Trace every line you wish to transfer and inspect your design sheet before you are finished.

  5. 5

    Lift the tape on your design sheet and remove it as well as the graphite paper to reveal the transferred design on the wood.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid smudges by wiping a new sheet of transfer paper first with a tissue to remove excess graphite dust before you begin.
  • Use a light touch when handling the paper to avoid smudges.

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