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How to Use Tracing Paper

how to use tracing paper

Tracing paper is a valuable tool for designers. Its name is pretty much self-explanatory, as this type of paper is semi-transparent. It is often used to create how-to illustrations, visual breakdowns of how something works, or draw things.

There are many different ways tracing paper can be used in design workflows, and this article will cover some of the most popular techniques.

How to Use Tracing Paper Step by Step

Tracing paper is a great way to transfer designs and patterns from one surface to another. Furthermore, we can use it for sewing, quilting, and other crafts. Here is how to use tracing paper step by step:

Step One: Cut a piece of tracing paper larger than the design or pattern you intend to use.

Step Two: Lay your cutting mat down on top of your work surface and place another sheet of tracing paper over it. This step will make transferring the design onto fabric smooth.

Step Three: Place your original design/pattern underneath the tracing paper, so they are both aligned with each other. Ensure there is an even amount of space between them for easy transfer.

Step Four: Trace around the entire shape using a pencil. Be careful not to press too hard as this can damage how well you can see through it later when sewing, etc.

  • If necessary, repeat step four until every detail has been transferred properly from one surface to another
  • Be sure to leave as much space as you can around the edges of your tracing paper to allow for sewing

Step Five: Remove both pieces of tracing paper and cut out shapes carefully, leaving a small amount of wiggle room around the shape’s edge.

In case you use multiple layers, stack them up on top of each other and cut through all at once (be sure not to use too much pressure, or else they will become misaligned).

Step Six: Using an iron transfer pencil, begin transferring your designs onto fabric by placing the tip directly over where it needs to be sewn/printed, etc.

For this step to work properly, ensure something underneath your design to avoid damage from being pressed down upon with such force.

Place how much pressure you need onto the transfer pencil and hold for a few seconds until the design has been transferred.


  • If you want to use tracing paper for how-to illustrations, this project might need more than one sheet of tracing paper
  • A good way to manage multiple sheets while working is by laying them flat next to each other and connecting them with tape. That way, you can easily move them around as needed and avoid any unwanted wrinkles. Happy tracing!

Tracing paper is an easy and inexpensive way to make your custom patterns. The key to successful tracing is knowing what the result looks like. If you are not familiar with this technique, it might be best for you to start by looking at some examples of artwork that have been traced before.

Now that your tracing paper skills are up to scratch, start creating some beautiful pieces. Remember to always take care when using sharp objects around small children.

Other Frequently Asked Quesitons

how to use tracing paper step by step

Can you Use Tracing Paper for Tattoos?

It is possible to use tracing paper for tattoos.

This can be a good option if you are looking for a less permanent tattoo or if you are not sure about the design you want.

Tracing paper can also help make sure that your tattoo’s placement is correct before getting it permanently inked. Make sure to speak with your tattoo artist about using tracing paper, as they may have their preferences for how this is done.

When using tracing paper for tattoos, keep in mind that it will not last as long as a traditional tattoo. And it may fade over time.

Additionally, there is a higher risk of infection when tracing paper since it is not specifically for tattoos. If you decide to go this route, be sure to take all necessary precautions to keep your tattoo safe and healthy.

Is Transfer Paper the Same as Tracing Paper?

Transfer paper and tracing paper are both types of paper that can be used for crafts. They are both thin papers that can be easily transferred or traced onto other surfaces. However, there are a few key differences between the two paper types.

  • Tracing paper is typically lighter weight than transfer paper, and it also has a slightly sheer quality to it. This makes it ideal for transferring images or designs onto other surfaces because you can clearly see what you are tracing
  • Transfer paper is a heavier weight than tracing paper, and it does not have the sheer quality. Thus, it is ideal for transferring text or small images because it won’t get smudged as easily as tracing paper might
  • Neither type of paper is typically used for writing on with pens or pencils. They can be smeared easily, and the text will not look neat as a result
  • However, both types of paper are ideal for use with paints and markers and other art supplies that do not smear as easily


With these resources in hand, you will have a better idea of how complex your image can be and which direction should go where on the paper.

Once you feel confident about your design, grab a piece of tracing paper large enough for all parts of the drawing or painting and get started! Tracing is an easy way to make personalized art without having any artistic talent yourself.

You don’t need fancy materials or expensive classes-just grab some tracing paper and create something beautiful today!

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