When you’re creating special works of calligraphy, it can be a good idea to do a rough draft first to make sure you’ve got your design, spacing – and spelling – correct.
But then once you’ve got the rough draft ready, how do you transfer designs to your good copy?
If your paper is thin enough, the best solution is to use a light table.
But what if your surface is too thick for light to shine through?
Well, then you use a transfer sheet.
The kind of transfer sheet you use depends on the project. If the paper or surface is light, then a graphite transfer sheet can be used. (Click here for instructions on making your own Graphite Paper.)
If you’re working with a darker surface then you may need a white or lighter color transfer paper.
It would probably be a good idea to test out your transfer paper on a bit of the good paper. Draw a line or two through the transfer paper, and then check to see if the line can be easily erased later on the good paper when your calligraphy/art is finished.
Lay your good paper on a smooth surface, then cover with the transfer/graphite paper. Then carefully position your rough draft over the transfer paper.
To make sure the papers don’t move on you in the process, it’s a good idea to connect them in some way. If the edges are all even, and they won’t get in your way, you could use paper clips.
But my favorite is to use strips of post-it tape on both the transfer paper and the rough draft. I usually only put that at the top or along one side – but with enough strips to make sure it will hold well. That way you can lift the bottom or the other side edge now and again to make sure the design is transferring as needed, and that you haven’t missed something. If the paper is slippery or perhaps rather large, then I’ll sometimes add a strip or two on the bottom or opposite side just to make sure nothing moves. It’s easy enough to peel those strips back to check on things.
Then use a sharp pencil or ballpoint pen to transfer the design. Take care not to press too hard or you run the risk of creating slight grooves in the good paper and that could cause some problems.
I’ve used this method frequently when I’ve needed to do calligraphy on picture matting or other thick papers that wouldn’t work on a light table.