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:
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:
- Blank wood sign or piece of wood – I built a 9″x9″ wood sign (using this DIY Sign tutorial with different size cuts*), you can buy similar pre-made, blank wood signs here
- Printed Design
- Paint Marker or Permanent Marker**
- Masking tape
**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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
And that’s it! A very simple and easy way how to transfer letters onto wood! Here is the final result:
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!
Want to save this tutorial for later? Pin it here:
More From the DIY Wood Sign Series: