If the project and pattern that you have chosen is very large you might wish to use newspaper as your tracing media. The printer’s ink used in newspaper production will create tracing lines on the wood. Use a page with densely packed typeset such as the Classified Ad section. As with other tracing media, place the newspaper underneath the pattern and copy the lines using an ink pen.
The print from the page will be transferred to the wood. This form of tracing leaves a broken line or dashed line effect since the ink will only appear where there was printing on the newspaper. Once the tracing is complete use a pencil the connect the dashed lines on the wood surface. Newspaper tracing is very effective for extra large projects since it allows you to position the entire pattern and do the tracing all in one step.
Tracing on Painted Wood Surfaces
If you are a wood painter, newspaper will become your favorite means of transferring a pattern. As a wood painter you are often working on a primed and painted surface, not unfinished wood. Carbon paper used on enamel or acrylic colors often leave a line that is difficult to cover, the blue/black ink can bleed into your decoration. Soft pencil leaves an easy tracing line to cover, however it often ‘smears’ around the outside of the tracing where your hand has rubbed against the pattern during the copying, creating extra work to remove the smears. Newspaper will leave a soft, easy to cover line, and has much less smearing than does soft pencil.
The greatest tip to tracing with any media on painted wood is to allow the base coat paint to thoroughly dry. Acrylic latex paints require at least twenty four hours after the final coat and enamel based paints can require up to three days. An easy way to check if the base coat is dry is to put the back of your hand to the surface or touch the piece to your cheek. If the surface feels ‘cool’ or ‘cold’ then it is still damp.
This is especially important with enamel based paints. These types of color are made with a base of turpentine, lacquer thinner, or mineral spirits. All of these ‘floats’ evaporate as the paint dry. If they are still present when you trace, the ‘float’ will loosen the tracing media in both carbon paper and newspaper causing thick, uncontrolled transfer lines.