How to Transfer Painting Patterns

How to transfer painting patterns easily. You will learn a simple method to trace a pattern to your painting surface. Some call these traceables.

It is so easy to transfer painting patterns and so helpful. When you are just starting to paint it is comforting to have a traceable pattern to work from. Especially if you can’t draw well, like me. Having a pattern can give you the confidence that your design will be in scale and let you focus on applying paint.

Lily painting pattern with Orange Lily painting, text overlay, How to Transfer Painting Patterns, Pamela Groppe Art

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Tap here for a full list of my most used painting supplies I use every time I paint.

Secure pattern to surface

When you transfer painting patterns you want to make sure you keep the pattern lined up. Using painters tape secure the pattern to the surface. Create a hinge point along one side so you can lift the pattern and lay it back down in the same location. You will want to check your work from time to time.

painting surface with pattern totransfer painting patterns

Next, lay your graphite paper on surface beneath the pattern. I have a smaller piece here but you can use what size you have.

Note: There is a method where you color the back of the pattern with a pencil or piece of chalk instead of using the graphite paper. To me that is too time consuming and the chalk leaves a huge mess. This is faster, simpler and cost effective. Graphite paper is inexpensive and easy to acquire.

painting canvas with graphite and pattern, transfer painting patterns

Transfer painting design

After you have it all laid out, use your pen or stylus to draw over top the main lines you wish to transfer. If you have newer graphite paper you will want to use a light touch. If you graphite paper is well used like the one I am using you will need to press firmer.

tracing over pattern to transfer painting pattern

Check your lines

Before you go very far be sure to check your work by lifting the pattern and graphite.. See if your lines are transferring to your satisfaction. On a light surface like what I am working on here you want faint lines.

Oranges, yellows and many reds are not opaque and dark transfer lines with show through the paint.

I am pointing to my lines in the photo. You can barely make them out but I can see them well enough in person.

Lighten lines if needed

If you get some lines darker than intended you can erase them. The one eraser I have found that gets graphite off the best is Magic Rub Eraser. I am not referring to the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The actual eraser I am speaking of is linked below in the supply list so you can see one.

erase dark lines when you transfer painting patterns

You are ready to paint

Now grab your brushes and paint. You are ready to get started on your new art work!

Find how to Paint an Orange Lily here

Please enjoy and share!

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  1. Thank you……love the transfer lesson. Will come in very handy now that I know it is not as difficult as it seemed!!

  2. Thank you so much for the transfer lesson. I’ve done this but didn’t know that the magic eraser got rid of the graphite lines. Do you mean the mr clean magic erasers? I’ve used the graphite erasers and they don’t work. So this will make it easier when I make mistakes. Look forward to your lessons.

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