How to Make an Improvised Carbon Paper

Written by ashley kurz
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How to Make an Improvised Carbon Paper
Carbon paper was popular before modern photocopiers. (copy machine image by Mat Hayward from

When you need to make a duplicate of a design, drawing or handwritten text, carbon paper can be used to make a copy. You can write or draw on one sheet of paper and have an exact copy on another sheet of paper. If you do not have carbon paper, you can make your own improvised version of carbon paper. Homemade carbon paper can work just as well as store-bought carbon paper and all you need is a piece of charcoal and a sheet of paper.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Copy paper
  • Charcoal

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  1. 1

    Lay your copy paper on a flat smooth surface. This will prevent gaps in your charcoal marking.

  2. 2

    Mark the entire surface of the copy paper with your charcoal. Cover the whole page on one side.

  3. 3

    Lay a fresh sheet of paper on a flat surface and lay the charcoal side of your marked paper onto the fresh sheet and place another fresh sheet of paper over that one.

  4. 4

    Write or draw onto the top sheet of paper.

  5. 5

    Remove the top sheet of paper and the charcoal marked page to reveal the copied image or writing on the bottom sheet of paper.

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