View Full Version : transferring a pattern

10-05-2009, 03:38 PM
So I was thinking, I use the regular tracing and vellum paper to transfer patterns for tooling, but I know there must be a better way, The paper always soaks up the moisture out of the leather and get soggy, and you can't see through it clearly. So I was thinking about the old projector film that teachers use to use before the age of computers. I was thinking you can run it through a laser copier/printer and boom you've got a pattern that is perfect forever. So I went over to Staples and they have it, about $50 bucks a pack though. So has anyone else thought of this and does it work as good as I think it would, or am I going to have to spend 50 to find out? Let me know....

Thanks Brandon

Steven Morrison
10-05-2009, 04:53 PM
I assume you're talking about the over-head projector. I've always used the plastic transfer film from Tandy. What is the thickness difference between that in the projector sheets? If it doesn't allow you to push into it, it won't leave a very well defined imprint.

On the other hand, I'm told places like Kinkos can print onto a clear plastic that can be used for this purpose. It might be the same stuff. This way you can have them print one sheet and test it out.
Let me know how it works out.


10-05-2009, 08:49 PM
Hey Brandon,

Hidecrafters sells vellum that you can run through your printer and if your ginger enough with it you can use it 3-4 times before it breaks down due to your stylus and soaking up water from the leather. For the most part I use the tracing film from Tandy but if I'm going to do some work with some real fine lines then I use the vellum.


10-06-2009, 07:53 AM
Good suggestion.

I have been using Vellum for close to 10 years, and it is so much nicer to work with than is tracing film. I draw all of my own carving patterns, and in the past, I was drawing them on tracing film. And, by the time that I had finished the pattern, with the many erasures that I would and will do, the tracing film had become a gray mess, one where you had to look closely for the lines. Imagine the result when you scan this and then try to reproduce it on paper, for a pattern pak. Ugh.

A drafting supply company that I was buying the mylar film from suggested that I try their drafting vellum, a 100 percent cotton rag content paper. They would sell it to me by the roll, a roll being 36 inches in width and 20 yards in length. The price was not bad, but did not have the convenience of working with 8 1/2 by 11 sheets. Then, I found my current supplier, through their local store, United Art and Education, where they sell artist supplies as well as school materials and the like.

In stock, I found they offered the vellum in sheets measuring 8 1/2 by 11, in packages of 100 sheets. They also sell it in sheet size of 18 by 24 inches, in packages of 10 sheets or 100 sheets. In addition, they offer it by the roll, with the width of 18 inch by 5 yards, or 36 inch by 5 yards. Plus, sheets of 24 by 36 inches are available.

This company does mail order, and here is their web address

for the Vellum page, type vellum in their seach box. It will bring up the items offered.

I believe that you will find their prices to be friendly, as the 100 sheet package of 8 1/2 by 11 sheets is priced at $18.50.

Another thing that I have found is that they carry an excellent selection of brushes that I find suitable for the detail dye work that I sometimes will do.

Not a sales person for this company, just a satisfied customer.

Troy West
10-06-2009, 08:17 AM
I also use vellum. I like the sheets from Hidecrafters but I also get it from Hobby Lobby in large sheets and Walmart. After drawing my pattern I spray the back of it with a product called "workable fixative". I get this at Hobby Lobby. This seals out the moisture it would absorb from the leather and allows you to use it many times.

It was good to see you at Wichita Falls Brandon.


KW Ranch
10-06-2009, 01:46 PM
Hi Ron and Troy,
I have a question for ya both since I have never used vellum. Is it somewhat transparent so you can trace a pattern or is it like a piece of paper and cant really see through it? Ive been using the tracing film and am looking for a better way.

10-06-2009, 04:27 PM
Hello Will and others,

The vellum is much on the same order as the tracing film, being slight opague. But, being a thinner material, when I am doing a flank billet or a belt, and need to move my pattern to continue transferring, I will usually stop my tracing with a flower, which then makes it easier for me to match the pattern to that flower and continue my tracing.

It most certainly works better for the tracing of intricate, ornate designs where you have lines running close to each other as you do with the Sheridan style and similar patterns.

One other thing, when I trace, I use the same pencils that I draw the patterns with, those being Sanford artists 6H drawing pencils. And the Vellum also reacts a little like the tracing film does, as it will develop the same type of grooving as does the mylar film.

I will have to try the affixative that Troy mentioned to better waterproof my paper.

And, one more thing, if you print your patterns on the vellum using an ink jet printer, and you are wanting to do a 'mirror image' of your design, do not, repeat, Do Not lay the ink side on your leather, for the ink will run and will most definitely ruin your leather. For 'mirror images' change the pattern to a mirror image using your photo program, and then print it. Don't ask me how I know this. LOL

10-06-2009, 07:13 PM
Ronn instead of making a reverse image of your pattern for the opposite side take a piece of plastic food wrap and cover your other side piece than lay your tracing pattern on upside down and go over it with your stylus. the pencil or ink lines will be on the wrap and will your pattern will be transferred. Saves making the extra copies. Greg

ken nelson
10-06-2009, 08:13 PM
I wish I had thought of that. GREAT TIP, THANK YU. Ken

10-06-2009, 09:01 PM
You guys are a wealth of information!, No wonder its called ask the Pro's over here.....

Al Gould
12-04-2009, 03:35 PM
Hi all,
Experience with me my first reply on-line. I have finally found the on switch!
With regard to pattern transfer, if you draw your patterns on paper whether brand, initial of floral, spray the back of the paper with indoor/outdoor spray can of clear urethane. Let dry thoruoughly, transfer your pattern without the soggy paper and pattern is ready for multiple uses.

Al Gould

12-05-2009, 02:02 PM
Hi Al...glad to see you here!

I guess I'm a dinosaur and need to move into this century and try the vellum paper everyone is talking about...I'm still using the tracing film that Tandy sells, LOL!


12-05-2009, 02:42 PM
where would one find this "vellum Paper" I have never heard of it other than on these sites.

Thanks for the input
Tim Worley

12-05-2009, 10:02 PM

I buy my Vellum from a local store of United Art and Education, a business that is located in Ohio and has a few scattered stores. They carry a good selection of sizes, both dimension and number of sheets per package.
They have a website, http://www.unitednow.com.
Just type vellum in the seach

A package of 100 sheets of the 8 1/2 by 11 size is $18.50.

Hide Crafter still carries it, but not sure of their price.

Other Art Supply or Drafting supply stores will carry it also.

I have not been coating it, and I can, if I let the sheets dry after use, get about 6 uses out of a pattern.

Clint Haverty
12-24-2009, 11:04 PM
When I'm tooling some thing that I need an x-act reverse copy of, like a rear housing or the other side of a seat jocky, I go to Kinkos and take my large sheets of velium with me ,which I get at Office Depot,and I have them reverse the image and I have it. 93 cents. Troy,I like the spray. I'm doing some boot tops ,I'll try it on these patterns. Thanks all, Merry Christmas , Clint Haverty

12-25-2009, 02:11 PM
is this vellum water proof ?

Brewer's Saddle Shop
12-25-2009, 08:14 PM
I usually lay out a pattern on paper.I then trace it to leather,On the other side I tap it off .
Generally I don't use it again,so I don't save the pattern.

Clint Haverty
12-26-2009, 10:31 PM
I usually lay out a pattern on paper.I then trace it to leather,On the other side I tap it off .
Generally I don't use it again,so I don't save the pattern.

Hello Steve, I'll draw the design on the leather,adjust every thing as needed,cut it ,than go to Kinko's or Office Depot and have them copy and mirror copy another and away I go. I used to tap off on skirting ,but I got to doing this and like it alittle better on tight patterns.The only problem with this is,normaly I take Liz,my wife with me and ,bingo, $30.93 supper .So that copy got pricey.It's really neat seeing how everyone doe's their deal. Thanks everyone and Happy New Year Clint Haverty

12-27-2009, 02:22 PM
Does anyone know if the fixative that Troy is talking about will work on the Tandy tracing film? The reason I ask is because I sometimes use a fine sharpie on my tracing film. With all my erasures sometimes my pencil sketching is a little hard to follow thru all the smudging. It would be nice to seal the film once I was happy with the pattern.

I think one of the reasons I have been happy with the tracing film is because it does allow me to erase and re-draw. I do that a LOT! And then when I'm finished I come back and make a lot of little changes and tweaking to get the pattern the way I want it. But when I'm finished I have a good reusable pattern. I have discovered that there are a couple of different thicknesses of tracing film. The thicker is not very good because it is too stiff to allow for fine detail. The thinner film is fine for small detail....at least for as fine as I will ever use.

Greg's idea of using plastic wrap to protect the leather is outstanding! However if you are just transferring with pencil, which I do a lot, then it is all removed when I clean with oxalic acid and it hasn't been a big problem for me. Where I will definitely use that is when I use the sharpie and want to flip the pattern over...thanks Greg, good tip!


Troy West
12-27-2009, 04:21 PM
First of all let me say welcome to the forum Clint Haverty. Glad you found us.

Bob, I do a lot of erasing myself, and have the same problem of tweaking and retweaking and erasing and re-erasing so what you are saying is a common problem. I guess you could say we have a tweaking problem. I don't know if the fixative will work on the film but I dont know why it wouldnt either. Should work fine.

12-27-2009, 07:38 PM
Thanks Troy....I'm going to pick up some the next time I'm in the hobbby shop....it's certainly worth a try!


kevin johnson
12-29-2009, 12:15 AM
In a bind, cheap aresole hairspray, given time to dry, will also do an ok job of sealing the pencil marked side of transfer paper. The hairspray also works good in a potato gun, discharged over a lighter or keeping a southeastern Oklahoman mullet in sweet shape.