How to Trace a Picture Without Tracing Paper

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Whether you are a graphic designer, an artist or a home crafter who makes sketches of her designs, there is an easy way to duplicate your designs without using tracing paper. Tracing paper can be expensive and it can become a hassle to keep a supply of it on hand. All that you really need to transfer an image onto a clean sheet of paper is a pencil and a good source of light.

Create a drawing of your own or find an existing one that you wish to duplicate. For the easiest transfer, the image should be on a plain (ideally white) background.

Shade the back of the paper on which the image was drawn or printed using a pencil or a piece of drawing charcoal. You do not need to press down hard with the pencil or charcoal, but apply a thick, even layer of graphite or charcoal that completely covers the area of the image you wish to transfer.

Lay the image on top of a sheet of clean paper with the image facing up and the graphite or charcoal making contact with the new paper.

Trace the image using a pencil or pen, pressing down firmly. For the best results, use a pencil or pen with a thick, blunt tip. A sharp point may tear the paper instead of merely transferring the design. As you trace, lift up a corner of the paper to check that the image is being transferred properly.

Lift away the top sheet of paper to expose the traced image on the new sheet. Go over the outlines with a pencil, pen, or maker to make the image more permanent and use an erasure to remove any graphite or charcoal smudges.

Draw a picture or select an image you wish to duplicate. The background colour does not matter as long as the outline of the image is clearly discernible.

Lay a piece of thin, ideally white, paper over top of the image you wish to transfer.

Lay both sheets of paper onto a light-up tracing table or against a glass window. With the tracing table turned on or when the sun is shining through the window, you should be able to see outline of the image through the top sheet of paper.

Trace the outline of the image onto the clean sheet of white paper using a pencil or pen, and then add colour or other details as you desire.

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