When I made my red upcycled desk a two years ago, I gave it a travel theme (I heart travel!). I put vintage posters of places I’d been on the front. Then I wanted to paint the words “TRAVEL DESK” above the posters, but I worried that if I did it freehand, I’d mess it up. So instead of just winging it, I printed out the words in the font of my choosing and transferred an outline of each letter directly onto my desk. I used just the print-out, a pencil, a pen, and some painter’s tape! Let me show you how the Pencil Image Transfer Method works so you can use it for your projects, too!
Pencil Image Transfer Method Materials
- A sheet of regular paper (not card stock, not cardboard) printed with the image you want to transfer. The reverse side of your paper should be free of ink.
- A #2 pencil (do not use a mechanical pencil).
- Some sort of pen with a nice, hard tip.
- Painter’s tape or other appropriately removable tape
Pencil Image Transfer Method Step-by-Step Tutorial
Step 1: Create your image and print it onto plain paper. Your image should be exactly as you want it to appear, including the same size. If your image is larger than your paper, print it out in “tile” mode and tape the sheets together to form the entire image. You can see I did this in my “TRAVEL DESK” printout pictured below
Step 2: Using your number two pencil, mark up the reverse side of your printout. I like to put my pencil on a slight angle to get more graphite onto the paper faster. Make sure you have a heavy layer of graphite everywhere your image appears on the front side (hold it up to the light to see). You may need to go over it more than once.
Step 3: Turn the paper back over and tape it onto the surface you want it to transfer. Be sure to get it centered and straightened before you tape it.
Step 4: Pressing down hard with the tip of the pen, trace your image. In my case, I traced around the outside of each letter. If your image is more intricate, go around all of the important details. I pressed hard and went over each letter twice. Your goal is to transfer the graphite on the reverse site right onto your surface by the simple act of pressure.
Step 6: Ink or paint over your transferred image as appropriate! In my case, I simply wanted the letters to be outlined in black, so I used a black Sharpie.
Pencil Image Transfer Method for Mugs
I’ve also used the pencil image transfer for getting my designs onto ceramic mugs. It works the same way! Here are some photos so you can see:
Here is my printed image taped to my mug, ready for me to trace. (I’ve already heavily pencilled the reverse side.)
The image is transferred to the mug! It’s not dark, but if you click the image you can see it better. Dark enough to see!
And then I went over my transferred image with my paint Sharpie. It looks hand-drawn, which I wanted, but all nice and straight. If I had actually done this freehand (without the pencil image transfer method), it would not nearly look so nice. Trust me!