How to use carbon transfer paper

When I first discovered carbon transfer paper, I was in heaven!! I loved that I could create things on one piece of paper over and over until I had the design I wanted and then I could transfer my design to another piece of fresh clean paper! (or even wood) Have you ever thought about how amazing that is? Carbon transfer paper is AWESOME!!!

stack of carbon transfer paper

I am going to show you how simple and magical it is to use carbon transfer paper on your craft projects.


About Carbon transfer paper

Carbon transfer paper has 2 sides. One side (top side) usually has a matte finish or a whitish/lighter side. The other side (bottom side) is usually black and shiny. The top side has a papery feel to it while the bottom side has a smooth kind of tacky side. The bottom side has the carbon on it which gives it this feel and if you scrape it or touch it too roughly, the black will rub off onto you. The bottom side is what I call the “magic” side!!!

Decide the placement of your design

You want to decide the placement of your design on your project. I do this by placing my pattern on my project and standing back to look at it. If you like the placement, use one had to hold the pattern in place while lifting up the corner. Use your other hand to carefully place the carbon transfer paper underneath the pattern. Repeat this with the other side of your pattern and a second piece of transfer paper. make sure the transfer paper is overlapping slightly. Once you have this in place it’s time to move on to the exciting “magic” part!

Using carbon transfer paper to transfer your pattern to your project

I love this part!….well, I guess the next part is my absolute most favorite, but this is the step that makes the next step AWESOME!

tracing pattern using carbon transfer paper

Now that your pattern is in place, use your pen or pencil to trace over your paper pattern. The harder you press the darker the line will be under your transfer paper. I like to trace a little near the edge and carefully lift up the corner of the transfer paper to check and make sure the image is transferring. If you don’t see anything, make sure you have the shiny side of the transfer paper against your project surface and try again. You can also try pressing more firmly to get a darker line.

a visual of different pressure results when using carbon transfer paper

I like to use a pen or pencil so that I can visually see where I have traced and where I haven’t. (Some people will just use a stick or something to trace with so it doesn’t mess up the original pattern) When you have traced the entire pattern, it’s time to see your results!

Pull off your pattern and transfer paper!! See the image on the project! It’s like magic right?! I love it! Look closely at your transferred image and touch up any parts with a light pencil line. Now you are ready to finish your project!

The end result of the pattern on the wood project after using carbon transfer paper

I hope you have found using carbon transfer paper as fun and magical as I do! It’s really quite easy and can be kind of addicting too. Have fun finishing up your project and I’d love to see how you used your carbon transfer paper. If you want to make the sign in the example, here is the tutorial:
How to make a reclaimed pallet wood HOME sign

Craft on my friend!


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