So…what is the easiest and fastest method you use to apply a pattern to your board?
My approach to pattern application has always been the same. I want the easiest and fastest way to get the pattern on the wood! Full stop!! That’s it! To explain why I’ve found this to be true, I’m going to show you other pattern transfer methods along with the Pattern Transfer Tool so you can decide for yourself.
THE PATTERN TRANSFER TOOL:
12 minutes to trace squiggly lines without any shading or… 1 minute for a perfect pattern using the Pattern Transfer Tool. Hands down the best way to apply patterns to your carvings.
Hands down the best way to apply patterns to your chip carvings are by heat transfer with the Pattern Transfer Tool
Our Community Also Had A Few Ideas…
No one way is the right way and however, you find your way to apply patterns to your chip carvings is your business!
“An easier way is to just apply to spray adhesive to the back of the pattern and carve right through the applied pattern.”
And from David regarding a similar method…
“Best method…..print pattern…..spray release adhesive on back of pattern…..apply to basswood/etc…..chip carve pattern…..remove pattern/paper using WD40…..wipe clean/dry. ” David
“Sorry, but haven’t use the transfer tool for some time…..as my work had involved a pre-painted project with the pattern attached using release adhesive and the carving the pattern to expose the actual color of the base, and sometimes then applying an overspray color.
THE DRAWING METHOD: DRAWING A PATTERN DIRECTLY ON THE WOOD
When I first started chip carving in 1985, pre-computer days, everything had to be hand-drawn. I’d studied some drafting in school so I knew how to use a t-square, compass, french curves, and other drafting tools needed to draw practice patterns, rosettes, borders, and other designs. Even with years of experience under my belt, I probably spent more time drawing than I did carving.
One sizable challenge when it came to drawing borders around a box or a frame, was being able to get it centered so the ends and corners fell in the place they should be.
I’d start in the center and work out but making it balance correctly took some math and trial and error. Sometimes more error than trial 🙂 Just thinking about this brings back to mind all of the many changes I’d have to make on my patterns to get them just the way I wanted.
Drawing the letters required some artistic skill and a smooth hand. Each curve had to be reproduced one after another. Sometimes I’d use a metal washer if it was the right size. Other times it was a french curve or template. If I didn’t like drawing, I never would have learned how to chip carve.
AND remember that every hand-drawn pattern was one and done! To use a similar pattern again means re-drawing it from scratch.
All this to say, if you enjoy hand-drawing your patterns, by all means, keep doing it. I won’t insist that you stop doing something that brings you pleasure. If you’re not familiar with drawing and drafting and would rather spend more time carving than drawing, then this pattern application is definitely not for you.
THE TRACING METHOD
Another method of pattern application that I used for a while was sliding a piece of carbon paper under the pattern and tracing over each line. Later it became better to use graphite transfer paper because the leftover pattern lines could be removed easier than carbon paper lines.
When I was applying the pattern for this month’s new project, 3-Candle Holder Display, I broke out the graphite transfer paper to show you this process and compared it to using the Pattern Transfer Tool. Here’s a short video with the results…
For you, part of the joy in carving may come from the process and the detail. However, if you want a smooth, and reliable method, we highly recommend picking up the Pattern Transfer Tool.
Have any other methods for applying your pattern? Be sure to mention it in the comments below.
Disapointed in the results of transfering patterns using the Pattern Transfer Tool! Transfered patterns came out partially done leaving blank areas and areas where the pattern was not visible enough to use. Changed to Pyro Paper with some improvement. I obtained best results using a regular hot dry iron and copy setting at the darkest. I appears to me that the heat base area is to small to transfer a sustained heat source to the material even after being plugged in for better than 25 minutes. Would like to know if anyone else has experienced the same results?
I too am having a hard time transferring patterns with the heat transfer tool. My hand and wrist end up hurting so much that I have to take breaks even with a small 4×4 pattern. How is Marty doing it so quickly with great results. I can’t see transferring this way over and over. Think I’ll try my cloths iron and dark print setting like Vic.
Marty, what is your secret?
There are really only two things that could be causing transfer problems.
1. The pattern transfer tool is not hot enough. After heating up for 10 minutes it should be hot enough to burn the wood (try it on a piece of scrap).
When hot, move slowly across the pattern to transfer the toner to the wood.
Be sure the tip on the PTT is screwed on tightly.
2. The pattern is not printed with toner (photocopy of laser printer). Heat melts toner and transfers it to the wood.
A pattern printed with ink will not work. Take an ink jet print to the photocopy center and make a toner copy of it. Then it will transfer.
If you continue to have problems, please contact me and I’ll help.
It took me a few tries to get decent results with the pattern transfer tool. The trick appears to let it heat up as recommended for 5-8 minutes. Then run the tool slowly in multiple passes; very slowly. I am, however, unhappy with the way the laser printer toner soaks into the wood a little bit, requiring more aggressive sanding than is necessary with a light-pencil-applied pattern. I plan to try out the graphite paper and glue-on approaches next.