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How to Transfer Letters onto Wood

how to transfer letters onto wood sign

I’ve been meaning to post this tutorial for how to transfer letters onto wood for a long time! Before I ever learned how to use vinyl for transferring my designs onto wood (which I used to make this DIY wood sign), I used a super easy pencil tracing method all the time. 

Here is one of my favorite signs from my wedding, our honey favors sign, where I used this easy pencil tracing method for how to transfer letters to wood:

transfer letters to wood sign

For this tutorial on how to transfer a pattern from paper to wood, I decided I wanted to make a mini, wood framed sign that will eventually be part of a gallery wall I am planning.

*Note: you can see a step by step video tutorial on how to trace onto wood here on my YouTube channel!

Note, this post contains some affiliate links. For more information see my disclosures here.

How to Transfer Letters onto Wood with a Pencil:

 

Supplies Needed:

*For more details on DIY wood sign making, check out my post on how to paint wood signs and how to frame wood signs.

**Make sure to use a fine point tip if your design is small like mine or medium/large tip if you have a larger design

1. Print out the design on paper

Print out your design at the appropriate size needed for your wood. Then, cut the excess white paper off around your design.

I used this 8″ x 10″ Home Sweet Home printable which is available in the shop and it was a perfect fit after I cut off the excess white paper!

P.S. Sorry for the dark photos, I did this project at night!

How to easily transfer a design onto wood

2. Shade over the design showing through the back of the paper with a pencil

Turn your paper over so the printed out design is facing down.

Then, use a regular pencil and heavily shade over the outline of the design showing through the back. Note, if your ink is fresh like mine was, put a scrap piece of paper underneath so no ink transfers onto your work surface.

Also, you can use chalk on the back instead of a pencil if your wood surface is really dark.

Shade over the design showing through the back of the paper with a pencil

Shade over the design showing through the back of the paper with a pencil for how to transfer a drawing onto wood

3. Trace over the design with the paper on top of wood

Flip your design back over and secure it into place on top of your wood using masking tape.

Then, start tracing over the design with your pencil, heavily pressing down the pencil as you trace.

Trace over the design with the paper on top of wood

Trace over the design with the paper on top of wood for how to trace onto wood

 

4. Remove the paper from the wood to reveal the letters transfer

Now the magic part for how to trace onto wood! Remove your paper and the outline of your design has been transferred onto your wood!

how to transfer a drawing onto wood

5. Complete the letters transfer to wood with a marker or paint marker

Complete the transfer by tracing over the pencil outline with a paint marker, permanent marker, or even a paint brush and paint (although a paint brush may be harder to trace). 

I used a black Sharpie fine point marker. If your design is small like mine, make sure to use a fine tip marker, but if it’s a larger design, a medium or large tip marker would work better.

markers to use for how to transfer a pattern from paper to wood

Complete the transfer letters to wood with a marker or paint marker

And that’s it! A very simple and easy way how to transfer letters onto wood! Here is the final result:

How to easily transfer a design onto wood

Do you have any good, easy tracing methods you like to use for how to transfer a pattern from paper to wood?! Feel free to share in the comments!

If you use this method to transfer onto wood, please share it with me on social media @angelamariemade or #angelamariemade!

You can also share your sign project in our DIY wood signs Facebook group, be sure to join! It’s a great place to learn more about sign making and share your DIY wood sign projects and ask any questions you may have!

Follow along on InstagramFacebook and YouTube for my latest projects, fun updates, and sneak peeks!

Want to save this tutorial for later? Pin it here:

How to transfer letters onto wood with a pencil

how to easily transfer a design onto wood

How to Transfer Letters to Wood

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Easy tutorial on how to transfer a design onto wood. Make DIY wood signs with this simple pencil tracing method!

Instructions

  1. Print out your design at the appropriate size needed for your wood. Then, cut the excess white paper off around your design.
  2. Turn your paper over so the printed out design is facing down. Then, use a regular pencil and heavily shade over the outline of the design showing through the back.
  3. Flip your design back over and secure it into place on top of your wood using masking tape. Then, start tracing over the design with your pencil, heavily pressing down the pencil as you trace.
  4. Remove your paper and the outline of your design has been transferred onto your wood.
  5. Complete the transfer by tracing over the pencil outline with a paint marker, permanent marker, or even a paint brush and paint.

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Nicole

Tuesday 26th of November 2019

Easier to print out your design, flip it over, color over the entire page with chalk (for light woods I use a non staining colored chalk), tape the design where you want it, trace with pencil. When you remove the paper it looks similar to what you did with the pencil. Trace over it with your pen, marker, paint, etc. after it dries you can wipe the excess chalk off with a damp towel.

Angela Marie Made

Sunday 1st of December 2019

Thanks for the tips!

Heather Evans

Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

I am wanting to transfer a detailed recipe onto wood. Would you recommend this method for that as well or a different method?

Angela Marie Made

Wednesday 24th of July 2019

Sure this would work especially if the recipe lettering isn't too small. If it's smaller and more intricate, you could do a wax paper transfer.

Tammy G. Trail

Wednesday 13th of February 2019

Thank you for this tutorial. I was looking for a way to transfer an outline onto wood for carving with a dremel tool and I think this will work out good..

Angela Marie Made

Thursday 14th of February 2019

You're welcome Tammy!

Sue Anderson

Monday 24th of December 2018

Thank you this was great, loved the follow-up conversations too, we can all add as we try.

Angela Marie Made

Thursday 27th of December 2018

Thanks Sue!

Olivia

Monday 19th of November 2018

Oh my goodness! This is what I've been searching for!! Thank you!!!

Angela Marie Made

Monday 19th of November 2018

You're welcome!

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