Tracing Paper: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re a creative person, then you know the importance of tracing paper. This versatile tool can help you with everything from drawing to drafting. But if you’re new to tracing paper, you may not be sure what to look for when purchasing it. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about tracing paper, including what type to buy and how to use tracing paper for drawing. We’ll also review some popular brands and offer some tips for getting the most out of your tracing paper!

What Is Tracing Paper?

Tracing paper is a translucent paper that can be used for drawing and drafting. You literally can see through the paper. It’s often called vellum because it shares some characteristics with animal skin parchment. Tracing paper is made of thin, lightweight material and has a smooth surface. This makes it perfect for transferring designs or sketches to a heavier sheet of paper or canvas.

Tracing paper is used for tracing drawings and designs. It can be placed over existing artwork or sketches to create a new copy, or it can be used as a template for drawing in detail.

Tracing paper typically has a lightweight feel and is easy to fold. It can be found in both rolls and pads, and it comes in a variety of colors including white, yellow, pink, blue, and green.

What Type of Tracing Paper to Buy?

There are three main types of tracing paper: vellum, bond, and paper.

Vellum

Vellum is the thinnest type of tracing paper and is ideal for detailed drawings or for transferring images to a heavier sheet of paper. It has a smooth surface and can be easily folded. It also has a high transparency level, so it’s perfect for seeing through to the original image.

Bond

Bond is thicker than vellum and is better suited for drafting and pattern making. It is less expensive than vellum, but it doesn’t have the same level of clarity or smoothness. It’s less transparent than vellum but still allows you to see the original image underneath.

Paper

Paper is the thickest type of tracing paper and is best used for creating large-scale drawings or patterns. It isn’t as transparent as vellum or bond, but it’s more durable and can be used with a variety of mediums.

When choosing a type of tracing paper, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using it for. If you need paper that is thin and transparent, then vellum is the best option. If you need a paper that is thicker and less transparent, then bond or paper are better options.

The Uses Of Tracing Paper

Tracing paper can be used in a variety of ways depending on your needs. Here are some common applications:

To Trace an Existing Image Or Drawing

Place the tracing paper over the image and use a pencil to trace the outline. This will create a new copy of the image that you can then work on top of.

To Create Detailed Drawings

If you’re an artist or designer, then you’ll love the versatility of tracing paper! It can be used for a variety of purposes, including drawing, drafting, pattern making, and choosing colors. The thinness and transparency of the paper make it perfect for detailed work.

As a Template

Tracing paper can also be used as a template for detailed drawings or sketches. Place the tracing paper over your canvas or sketchbook and draw in detail using a fine-pointed pen or pencil. The transparency of the paper ensures that your lines will be accurate and precise.

To Make Patterns

Tracing paper is often used by sewers and fashion designers to create patterns. The fabric or material is placed on top of the tracing paper, and then markings are made to indicate where the cuts and stitches should go. This is a great way to avoid wasting fabric on botched designs!

For Transferring Images

Another use for tracing paper is transferring images to a different medium. For example, you can place a piece of tracing paper over a printed image and trace it onto canvas to create a painting. This is a great way to create replicas of your favorite photos or artwork.

For Choosing Colors

When choosing colors for a project, many people use tracing paper to test out different combinations. This is done by painting or coloring directly onto the tracing paper until you find a color scheme that you like.

For Drafting

Tracing paper can also be used for drafting. This involves creating a scale drawing of the original image on tracing paper and then copying it onto a new surface.

To Protect Your Work

Tracing paper can also be used as a protective layer between your artwork and other materials. For example, if you’re working on a project that involves using paint or markers, you can place a sheet of tracing paper over the top to prevent your work from smudging.

There are many ways to use tracing paper, and no matter what your needs are, you’re sure to find a use for it!

How to Use Tracing Paper?

Tracing paper can be used in a variety of ways, but the most common application is to create a copy of an existing drawing or design. Here’s how to do it:

Step One

Place the tracing paper over the artwork you want to copy. Make sure that it’s centered and in line with the edges of the original.

Step Two

Use a pencil or pen to trace over the image on the tracing paper. Be careful not to press too hard, as this will cause indentations in the paper.

Step Three

Remove the tracing paper from the original and admire your new copy!

You can also use tracing paper as a template for detailed drawings or sketches. Simply place the tracing paper over your canvas or sketchbook and draw in detail using a fine-pointed pen or pencil. Tracing paper is also great for transferring images to a different medium. For example, you can place a piece of tracing paper over a printed image and trace it onto canvas to create a painting.

What Are the Benefits of Using Tracing Paper?

There are a number of benefits to using tracing paper:

Ease of Use

Tracing paper is very easy to use. All you need is a pencil or pen and something to trace onto. It can also be easily erased if mistakes are made.

It is also very lightweight and easy to fold, so it’s perfect for carrying around with you. It can also be stored in a small space, making it great for use in the studio or at home.

Versatility

Tracing paper can be used for a variety of purposes, including drawing, drafting, pattern making, and choosing colors.

The smooth surface of tracing paper makes it perfect for detailed drawings and sketches. The ink or pencil strokes will be clearly visible, making it easy to produce accurate results.

Transparency

Tracing paper is very transparent, which allows you to see the original image underneath. This is helpful for transferring sketches or drawings and for checking the accuracy of your work. You can see the original artwork or sketch underneath it. This makes it easy to line everything up correctly and avoid mistakes.

Durability

Unlike regular paper, tracing paper can be used with a variety of mediums without tearing or crumbling. This makes it a great choice for artists and designers who need a durable surface to work on.

What Are the Disadvantages of Tracing Paper?

There are a few disadvantages to using tracing paper:

Ink Smudging

One downside of the transparency of tracing paper is that it can easily smudge. This is especially true when working with ink or markers.

Limited Use

Tracing paper is not suitable for all projects. Its thinness and lack of durability make it unsuitable for some applications, such as painting or sculpting.

Bleed Through

Another downside of tracing paper is that the ink or pencil strokes can be seen on the other side of the sheet. This can be a problem if you’re trying to keep your work hidden from others.

What Types of Materials Can You Use to Trace?

There are a variety of materials that can be used with tracing paper, including fabric, wood, metal, glass, and more. As long as the surface is smooth and flat, you can use tracing paper to create a copy. Be sure to test out different surfaces to see what works best for you!

What Tools Can You Use For a Successful Image Transfer?

There are a variety of tools that can be used for transferring images, drawings, and patterns. Here are some of the most common ones:

Lightbox

A lightbox is a helpful tool for tracing images or drawings. It consists of a box with a translucent surface that allows you to see the image underneath. This is great for detailed work or projects that require accuracy.

Grid Paper

Grid paper is another useful tool for transferring images and drawings. It has a series of evenly spaced lines running across it, which makes it easy to measure and mark out your project.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is handy for measuring distances on your drawing or pattern. This ensures that everything is accurate before you start cutting or stitching.

Pencil

A pencil is the most basic tool for tracing and drawing. It’s perfect for making small adjustments or fine details.

Eraser

An eraser is necessary for removing mistakes and unwanted marks from your project.

What Things to Consider Before Buying Tracing Paper

When choosing tracing paper, there are a few things to consider:

Transparency

The transparency of the paper is an important factor to consider. Some papers are more transparent than others, which allows you to see the original image underneath. This is helpful for transferring sketches or drawings and for checking the accuracy of your work.

Vellum is the thickest and most durable type, while transparent is the thinnest and least durable. Translucent is a good middle ground between the two.

Hardness

The hardness of the paper is another important consideration. Some papers are more difficult to erase than others, and some can be used with a variety of mediums without tearing or crumbling.

Weight

The weight of tracing paper also varies from brand to brand. Heavier papers are better for detailed drawings or projects that require a lot of erasing, while lighter papers are better for more delicate work.

Size

Tracing paper comes in a variety of different sizes, so be sure to choose one that will be suitable for your project. Some papers are large enough to cover an entire drawing or project, while others are smaller and only meant for individual sketches.

Versatility

The versatility of the paper is also important to consider. Some papers are better for certain tasks than others. For example, vellum is great for tracing images and drawings, while the transparent paper is perfect for drafting and pattern making.

Durability

Tracing paper is often used with different mediums, such as ink, paint, or pencil. It’s important to choose a paper that is durable and can withstand these types of materials. Some papers are more prone to tearing or crumbling than others.

Price

Tracing paper can vary in price, depending on the brand and thickness. It’s important to find a paper that is affordable and fits your needs.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing tracing paper, so be sure to take into account the things that are most important to you. With so many options available, there is sure to be a perfect tracing paper for everyone!

What Is the Best Tracing Paper For Artists?

If you’re an artist, then you know the importance of having a good tracing paper. Not all tracing papers are created equal, so it’s important to do your research before purchasing one.

There are many different types of tracing paper available on the market, so it really depends on your needs. Some papers are better for detailed drawings while others are smoother and easier to erase mistakes.

Strathmore 300 Series Tracing Pad

Strathmore 300 Series Tracing Pad

Strathmore 300 Series Tracing Pad is a great option for artists. It’s made of high-quality thick tracing paper that is both smooth and erasable. It’s great for sketching and tracing photographs, as well as preliminary drawings and overlays. The paper is also thick enough to withstand multiple mediums, such as ink, pencil, and charcoal.

Unpacking and First Impressions

The pad is well-packaged with a nice, sturdy cardboard cover that feels like it will last a long time. The pages inside have very good transparency.

The tracing pad is available in 9 x 12 inch size and includes 50 sheets of tracing paper.

Performance

The tracing paper is of good quality, and it gets the job done. This is a nice, thick, durable product but sheer enough for tracing. It also doesn’t rip easily so it can hold repeated uses.

We think Strathmore 300 Series Tracing Pad is great for detail work. The paper is smooth and has a good texture, which makes it easy to erase mistakes without damaging the surface of the paper.

The tracing pad performs well when used with a variety of drawing materials. It takes both pencil and pen well without any smudging or bleeding through the other side.

Pros and Cons
Smooth and erasable surface
Sturdy cardboard cover
Durable paper
A little tough to remove a sheet without ripping the corner
Sometimes arrives with wrinkled pages

Verdict

We highly recommend the Strathmore 300 Series Tracing Pad for artists of all levels. It’s a great option for both beginners and experienced artists alike. It’s affordable, high-quality, and performs well with a variety of mediums.

How to Use Tracing Paper On Canvas

Tracing paper is a great way to transfer a design or image onto a canvas. By placing the tracing paper over the canvas and then penciling in the desired design, you can easily create a copy of the image that can be traced with paint. Be sure to use a light hand when drawing on the tracing paper, as too much pressure may cause the ink or graphite to seep through and show up on your canvas. Additionally, make sure to use a sharpened pencil for clearer lines.

Using Tracing Paper On Canvas Step By Step Tutorial

Step One: Use the Chalk

Use chalk to draw over the back side of the tracing paper.

Step Two: Place Tracing Paper

Place your tracing paper over your canvas. Make sure the paper is lying flat and that there are no creases in it. If needed, tape the corners of the tracing paper down so that it doesn’t move around while you’re working. This will help to keep the paper from slipping as you work.

Step Three: Place the Sketch

Place your sketch over the tracing paper.

Step Four: Trace With a Pencil

Next, select a pencil or pen that will show up well on the sketch. Use a light hand and sharpened pencil to draw in the desired design. Be sure not to press too hard, as this may cause ink or graphite to transfer onto your canvas. Be careful not to go outside of the lines, as this can cause your painting to look messy.

Step Five: Remove the Sketch and the Tracing Paper

Once you have finished drawing, carefully remove the sketch and the tracing paper from the canvas. You should now see a faint outline of your design on the surface of the canvas. If any of the design has transferred, simply erase it with a tissue or cloth. Once your design is complete, you can begin painting it using various colors and techniques!

How to Use Tracing Paper For Watercolor Painting

Watercolorists often use tracing paper to transfer their drawings onto a new sheet of paper. This is a great way to preserve your work and also create multiple copies without having to re-draw the image.

By drawing on the tracing paper, you can create a translucent image that can be placed over your painting surface. All you need is a few pieces of tracing paper, some watercolors, and an idea of what you want to create.

Using Tracing Paper For Watercolor Painting Step By Step Tutorial

Here are some tips on how to use tracing paper for watercolor painting:

Step One: Trace Your Image

To use tracing paper for watercolor painting, start by sketching out your desired image onto the tracing paper. Place the tracing paper over your sketch and use a pencil to trace the outline of each element.

Be sure to use light strokes, so that the image will be delicate and easy to see through. Leave plenty of space around the edges for the eventual border. Once you have the basic shape transferred, start adding in details with additional pencil lines.

Step Two: Trace On the Other Side

Reverse the tracing paper and trace the outline on the other side. This will create a mirror image of your drawing.

Step Three: Place Tracing Paper On Watercolor Paper

Once you’re happy with your sketch, place the tracing paper over your watercolor paper and secure it in place with some painter’s tape or clips.

Step Four: Transfer the Lines

Use a sharp pencil or another pointed tool to trace around the edges of the image. This will create a faint outline on your painting surface. Remember: because this is watercolor we’re working with, these lines will eventually be washed away, so don’t worry about making them too perfect.

Step Five: Remove the Tracing Paper

Remove the tracing paper from your painting surface. You should now see a faint outline of your original sketch underneath.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Tracing Paper?

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your tracing paper:

  • To create a transfer copy of an image, place the tracing paper over the image and use a ballpoint pen to trace the outline. Be careful not to press too hard or you may damage the original image. To get cleaner lines, use a sharpened pencil or pen when tracing onto the tracing paper.
  • If you’re using tracing paper for drafting or pattern making, be sure to use a ruler and other precision tools to ensure accuracy.
  • If you’re using tracing paper for multiple purposes (like transferring and drawing), make sure to keep all of your materials organized. This will help to prevent any confusion while you’re working.
  • When choosing colors, always test them out on tracing paper first. This will help you to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you start painting or coloring on the final project.
  • If you’re using bond tracing paper, try spraying it with a temporary adhesive spray before drawing on it. This will help keep the pencil lines from smudging.
  • When finished, always wash your hands thoroughly before coming in contact with any of your artwork. This will help to keep the colors from running or smearing.
  • Store your tracing paper away from direct sunlight or moisture in a plastic sleeve or folder to protect it from tears and smudges.

By following these tips, you can use tracing paper to create beautiful and delicate paintings!

People Also Ask

Which type of tracing paper is best for me?
Can I use parchment paper instead of tracing paper?
Can I use regular printer paper?
What kind of pencil should I use?
Can I use the same tracing paper on multiple canvases?
How to trace without tracing paper?
Can you paint on tracing paper?

Conclusion

Tracing paper is a helpful tool for artists, designers, and anyone who wants to improve their drawing skills. With its versatility and transparency, it’s easy to see why this simple product has become so popular over the years. So, the next time you’re working on a project, be sure to give tracing paper a try! Have fun experimenting with this handy tool!

Leave a Comment

Which type of tracing paper is best for me?
There are many different types of tracing paper available on the market, so it's important to choose the one that best suits your needs. Some papers are better for detailed drawings while others are more suited for drafting or pattern making. Be sure to read reviews and compare prices before making a purchase.
Can I use parchment paper instead of tracing paper?
Parchment paper is a good alternative to tracing paper, especially if you're working with oils or other types of paints. It's less translucent than tracing paper, but will still allow you to see the image underneath.
Can I use regular printer paper?
In most cases, no - regular printer paper is not thin or transparent enough to be used for watercolor painting. However, there are some specially-made "transparency" papers that can work in a pinch.
What kind of pencil should I use?
A light-colored pencil is best for tracing onto tracing paper. This will make the lines easier to see and avoid any confusion when it comes time to start painting.
Can I use the same tracing paper on multiple canvases?
It's generally recommended that you use a new sheet of tracing paper for each painting project. This will help to avoid any unwanted smudges or color transfers between canvases. However, if you're only using the tracing paper for transferring an image, it's safe to reuse it multiple times. Just be sure to clean off any pencil lines or other residue before starting a new project.
How to trace without tracing paper?
In some cases, it's possible to trace an image without using tracing paper. One way to do this is by placing the image directly onto your painting surface and then carefully rubbing a pencil or other pointed object over the top. Be careful not to press too hard, or you may damage the original image. Another method is to use a photocopy of the image instead of the original. This will create a less-faint copy that can be easier to see while you're tracing.
Can you paint on tracing paper?
Yes, you can paint on tracing paper - but be aware that the colors may not always be consistent. It's also important to note that because tracing paper is so thin and delicate, it can easily tear or smudge. For these reasons, it's generally recommended that you use a separate sheet of tracing paper for each painting project.