How To Transfer a Pattern from Paper to Wood? 3 Easy Methods

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Written by Jared Watson

Jarred Watson is a pyrographer with 10+ years experience and has worked with brands like BOSCH & FORD. He is always looking to learn and share his passion of wood burning with others.

Pyrography, also known as wood-burning art, is a form of free-hand painting that entails adding burn marks to wooden items by carefully applying heat or electricity using a heated tool like a poker. You don’t need costly tools to create some beautiful wood carvings that can be functional yet decorative. Making your own signage might also help you save money. Here, we will learn about how to transfer a pattern from paper to wood which is fundamentally the first step towards wood burning.  

Methods To Transfer a Pattern to Wood from Paper

There are 3  ways on how you can transfer a pattern from paper to wood. I have explained about them followed by a simple step-by-step tutorial:

1. Pencil method

The pencil method is one of the low-cost and simple ways to burn patterns on wood. Although it can take some time, the results are worthwhile. It essentially required a graphite pencil which is used to draw the outlines. 

TIP: If you don’t have a carbon paper then it’s going to be important that you choose a really high grade pencil that’s dark.

Things you will need: Graphite or charcoal pencil, regular or tracing paper, wood burning tool, wooden frame, tape.


  1. After creating your design on the paper, have it printed in a size that is at least half or one inch smaller than the wooden surface.

  2. Lay the pencil on its side and lightly scribble all over the paper’s reverse side.

  3. Place the paper on the wooden surface, cover the back with a graphite or charcoal pencil, and then sketch the design outline using the pencil.

  4. You will receive the design’s transferred image on a hardwood surface.

2. Tracing method

Tracing method is the easiest and most budget-friendly as it requires only a few tools. As the word suggests, it involves tracing down the boundary of the pattern you wish to burn on wood. 

Things you’ll need: Thin paper, carbon or graphite paper, wood burning tool, sharp pencil or fine point pen, tape, wood base.


  1. Print the pattern you wish to create on the thin paper on the wooden frame.

  2. Place the design on top of carbon or graphite paper and attach it to the wood.

  3. Outline the pattern with a fine-tipped pen or a sharp pencil.

  4. Lift the paper gently in between this process to see if you were successful in accurately transferring the pattern to the wood through the carbon paper.

  5. Once you are done with the tracing, you will get the design’s impression on the wooden surface.

3. Paper Cut-Out Transfer Method

This is another very easy and convenient method of transferring a design from paper to wood. The best part of this method is that it enables you to accurately create or transfer the wood’s design without making a mess. 

Things you will need: Plastic paper, scissors, pencil, wooden surface


  1. Begin with creating your design on the plastic paper sheets. Cut it out using a scissor.

  2. Place the paper cut-out over the wooden surface and start drawing the outlines of the image onto the wood using a pencil. The paper cuttings make it easier for you to transfer the design to the wood.

  3. You can even tape the cuttings on the wood to make it convenient for you to draw the outlines.

  4. Once you have traced the outlines, these templates can be easily removed from the wood.

  5. You can use separate paper cuttings to create your favorite design all over the wood.

Precautionary Measures

While transferring the pattern from paper to wood, one must bear in mind specific precautionary steps to get the best outcome from this project. These steps include:

  • Make sure to use sharp pencils, preferably the ones that help to create better and dark images on paper.

  • If you are using graphite transfer paper, use the wax-free ones. You can make your own graphite paper using a darker 4B pencil.

  • Use a thin paper to create the design. It also allows proper transferring of the image on the wood.


So, those were the top three ways on how to transfer a pattern from paper to wood for wood burning. Always keep in mind that practice will help you improve your ability. It will save you time and enable you to accurately trace the design on the wood surface from the paper. When executing this art form for the first time, beginners might not get it right for the first time. Take things slowly and keep practicing until you are happy with the outcomes.

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