tracing paper text transfer

A few months back I showed you how I did a photo transfer on wood for some bride and groom signs I made for one of my March weddings (here and here…I’m still working on moving photos so please excuse that those posts have NO PICTURES!). I don’t think it was anyone’s fault that it didn’t turn out great and was kind of a pain in the…you know. Like I said before I think it had more to do with the fact that the surface I was transferring to was old roughed up wood that we had literally pulled out of a barn. It was awesome and gorgeous old wood, don’t get me wrong, but it was far from smooth. So when I needed to make some more signs for one of my June brides- I immediately thought I would give that process another go, but the more I thought about it…it was just definitely too much trouble and I kept thinking- there’s gotta be a better way (ala this scence from Friends…anyone?). That’s where this came in…

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

It wasn’t quite as cheap, but it was easy- I made four signs (double the amount of signs I made last time) in under an hour. Plus that included white washing and drilling holes in my boards before I started- that and waiting for my paint to dry actually took up about the first half of that hour. I also spent a little time printing some test text out to make sure I got the right size text that I wanted for each board. The text was large so I just taped my sheets together if it took up more than a page. Here are two of the signs with the text placed for sizing and location.

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

Then I took a sheet of the graphite paper (which is essentially just tracing paper) and cut it out approximately the same size as my text.

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

Make sure you tape your text sheet to the tracing paper- I just rolled up some tape on the back and then pressed it down.

arrows for tape

Then I put both the text and tracing paper (which were then securely attached to each other) and taped them exactly where I wanted them to be on the board. These two steps are crucial- you don’t want your paper shifting on you while you are trying to trace.

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

Then I started tracing- I used a black pen, but you could probably make it easier on yourself if you use a sharp colored pencil or a red pen so you can see your progress. All you are doing is going over the outline of each letter as hard as you can- this is pressing the graphite off of the tracing paper and onto your board beneath…so the more pressure you can muster the easier the next step will be.

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

After tracing each letter carefully, I pulled both papers back, crossed my fingers, and voila!

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

It wasn’t perfect, but I could clearly see the outline well enough to start filling in with my sharpie.

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

For these particular signs I wanted a black printed distressed look, but you could easily paint in the lines with a different color for a completely different look. Sharpie was fast, clean, and easy. I’m sure painting would take longer, but the payoff would probably be really awesome.

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

Here’s my sign all filled in with Sharpie- it looked a little too perfect and black for the distressed look I was going for so I waited for it to completely dry and ran some sandpaper over it. But this technique made for completely clean and perfect looking lines. As long as you can trace lines, you can do this.

graphite paper sign printing | Jennifer Laura Design

To finish them off, I added some lace through each hole in the corner to make a handle. My bride had four of her house party girls walk down the aisle right before her carrying these, they were completely adorable and turned out great. I will definitely be making more signs like this in the future.

Credits: crappy photography is all my own :)

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