How to trace and transfer an image

tracing a pictureWe’ve started making Christmas cards. Youngest wanted to draw a dachshund wearing a Christmas hat. First few attempts frustrated him, so he asked if I’d print one out for him. No. Try tracing and transferring it.

This was new to him. I explained that when I was his age, we didn’t have printers or scanners. This was one way we could copy an image. A look of amazement from him. A moment of feeling old for me.


Time to pull out the tracing paper.

transferring traced image on to cardI chose an image from one of my favourite children’s books. I showed him how to use white tack to temporarily fix a piece of tracing paper over the image. Using a soft pencil, we traced around the image. Adding all the lines that we wanted to transfer.

result of transferring traced image on to cardThen, turning the tracing paper over, so the pencil marks are face down, we positioned the image on a card. I showed him how to go over the lines again with the pencil, until all the lines were darker. I explained that only the lines, he had traced from the book, would be transferred.

And then the magic part. Carefully removing the tracing paper and the white tack, he could see the image was transferred to the card.

transferred traced image on cardJust for fun, we coloured the image in, using watercolour pencils and glitter. We changed the shorts into trousers, seeing as it’s too cold. Brr.

Of course, now we have the image, he can use the image again and again*. By flipping it over, he can trace the boy so he’s looking the other way.

transferring traced image on to Christmas card homemadeNow he knows how to do this, I’m pretty sure I’m off the hook when it comes to scanning an image. He’s already copied another image. Not a daschund, but I’m sure that will be next.

*Obviously he will not try and pass the image off as his own. Just using it for family Christmas cards. 


12 thoughts on “How to trace and transfer an image

  • Sunday 15 November, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I so used to do this type of tracing as a kid….and the toilet paper (which was like tracing paper!) that we would use at school!

    • Sunday 15 November, 2015 at 10:17 am

      It was a staple at school. Not sure they still use the trace and transfer method at schools (- or the tracing paper toilet roll!), judging to my children’s reactions when I showed them. Technology has moved it on. Still think its a great method for getting just the image you want, in some cases.

  • Sunday 15 November, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I still do this all the time! I wouldn’t have a clue how to scan an image, we have a scanner, so this is much quicker for me!

    • Sunday 15 November, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      I think for some activities, this works better than scanning. It’s given me a solution to one of my Christmas present projects that I have on my list to make. Hope to share soon.

  • Sunday 15 November, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Oh no, do children not know about this anymore?! I feel old, this is how we used to transfer images too. I will have to show my kids how to do it when they’re a little older too. Your little figure is great, love the glittery hat!
    Thanks so much for linking up to. #HowtoSunday 🙂 x

    • Sunday 15 November, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      I know. It didn’t occur to me that they wouldn’t know how to do it. I’m sure I must have shown them how to do it in the past. But hey ho! They now know. Might see if I can sneak it into one of my craft sessions at school.

    • Wednesday 18 November, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Absolutely. It does make a fun activity.

  • Tuesday 17 November, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Oh, this takes me back! You’re right, we’re so used to copying and scanning, but the old ways are so effective and more fun

    • Wednesday 18 November, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      If nothing else, least they’ll have another way of transferring images. Pretty good in a power cut too!

  • Tuesday 17 November, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Ha ha.. now I’ll have to check that my pair actually know how to do this and I’m not just assuming they do!!!!

    • Wednesday 18 November, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      I’m beginning to wonder what else I’ve assumed they know, too. There was life before computers!

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