How to transfer design to metal

Trying to find a way to transfer design to metal which is accurate
that the design stays in place. I watched a video of a guy engraving
and the image he had on the surface was really great. Once he was
finished he wiped it down with a solvent I think to remove it. we
have always just stuck paper to the surface which poses several

Trying to find a way to transfer design to metal which is accurate
that the design stays in place. I watched a video of a guy
engraving and the image he had on the surface was really great.
Once he was finished he wiped it down with a solvent I think to
remove it. we have always just stuck paper to the surface which
poses several issues. 

I’m not sure if this would work on metal or if it does, if the
accuracy is up to par with your needs, but blue Bic ballpoint ink is
soluble in Mennen Speedstick.

Draw your design on paper using a Bic pen, smear Speedstick (the
green stuff) on your metal, place the design on the metal and
carefully rub.

Paf Dvorak

I learned this from the engraving master Jason Machiafava (J. Fava
Engraving). If you have access to, or can acquire, a toner (not ink
jet or laser) printer/copier, make a print of your design. Position
your design on your piece, print side down, and with a cotton ball
soaked in pure acetone carefully soak the paper. Peel the paper off
carefully and your design will have transferred onto your metal and
will stay. To remove when you are done (or if you goofed on these
steps) the acetone will remove the ink.

Have fun!
Donna W
Huntsville, AL

Research spirit based engineers blue.

There are a couple of decent ways of transferring a layout.

You’ll get the most accurate lines by using marking blue and a
scribe, but you can’t use that method if you want to trace through
an existing design on paper. Marking blue - Wikipedia

If you cover the piece with a white coat you can rub graphite or
conte crayon on the back of your sketch and with a fine, polished
point trace through the paper. Don’t use carbon paper between your
sketch and the metal, it shifts easily and tends to give a thicker
line than using graphite or crayon on the back of the sketch. If
you’re not going to handle the piece that much Chinese White works
well. If your hands sweat you can rub the piece with a white grease
pencil. That’s also good for laying out a pave pattern on a wax. Coat
with white grease pencil and then lay out the stones with a sharp
black pencil.

You could also try bluing the piece with marking blue and rubbing
white or silver conte crayon on the back of your sketch for tracing.

Elliot Nesterman

Paf- I love it. Your speed stick trick was used for decades by old
time tattoo artists.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

(Trying to find a way to transfer design to metal which is accurate
that the design stays in place. Zak, this is my own invention and it
works great but it’s not right for every application. Best is to
drawyour design on tracing paper in ink, but you can also print it.
Put a drop of white glue-Elmer’s- on the metal. Dip your finger in
water and thin the glue like heavy cream, and spread it all over.
Lay down the paper, let it just dry, and then cut through with an
Xacto knife. Soak it a bit and the paper will lift off and there’s
your design on the metal. John

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Most of my work is measured by ruler and eye. When I do want to cut
or file to a specific location, I cover the vicinity with sharpie
ink and then scribe through the ink with the sharp end of a compass
or similar object. I have not used it to transfer a complicated
layout. Rob

Rob Meixner - Jewelry

About using toner and acetone to transfer a photocopy image.

Sometime in the 70’s, Eastman Kodak was using this method to
transfer designs to copper clad circuit board for etching. I think
the resist was ordinary toner, not something special.

Al Balmer

I only do my drawings to exact scale on vellum paper in pencil. then
using agood quality of clear packing tape I simply stick the tape
onto the vellum and lift the drawing off the paper. Well most of the
pencil lead comes off which is good as I Can always then go back over
it to lift another exact design or turn over the vellum and trace on
the back side and lift it off if I want a reverse for a pr of
earrings. then I simply stick the tape to the metaland saw or carve
away until my heart is happy. Sometimes I do take a scalpel and cut
thru the tape to leave a scratched design on the metal if I know one
of my processes might destroy the tape beforeI finish.

I can also with the vellum trace photo copies which comes in very
handy if Idraw say a pendant and want smaller earrings to match.
simply reduce the pendant on the scanner trace and I am done. exact
match every time.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Almost any essential oil, like peppermint or lavender oil, will work
to release the toner from a photocopy. Also, Citrasolve liquid (the
orange stuff) works beautifully.

Linda Kaye-Moses

Hi Just wondering

why not scan a hand drawn design into a computer and print onto a

Then stick the label to the metal. You also have an electronic copy
for future use.

all the best

Hi all

when I am filing a ring shank’s ends to fit in a bezel I colour the
ends with a sharpie.

This way I can see how evenly I am filing the curves to fit the

all the best

I’ve always made a copy of my drawing, rough cut around the drawing
copy with scissors, applied contact cement onto the back of the copy
image, then applied contact cement to the metal where I want the have
the image. Let the contact cement dry for a couple of minutes (Note
when testing for dryness, the cement will still feel tacky but not
come off on your finger), then carefully position the paper onto the
metal. If placement on the metal is critical I have placed the copy
on the metal then used a small piece of tape to fold over one end of
the metal/copy sandwich. To contact cement open it up like a book,
then when the cement is tacky shut the book. Press firmly and there
you have it. I can drill, and saw through the paper, file with it in
place. For cleanup peal the paper off the metal when complete. The
cement rubs off the metal with your fingertip. I’ve not tried to
engrave with it in position.

Cheers, Kelly

I use this to do acid etchings.

Print your design with a laser printer on glossy (inkjet or
magazine) paper or PnP paper, Clean your metal with steel wool and
denatured alcohol, and lay your design on top of it. Wrap it in
aluminum foil and run it through a laminator for about 2 minutes.

If you used glossy paper, unwrap it and let it sit in water fro 15

Carefully rub off the paper. The toner will have adhered to the

PnP paper will roll right off.

I do a lot of designing with a computer, Particularly, Adobe
Illustrator for getting exact scales on a 2 dimensional surface. The
Label idea sounds good but better is some Elmer’s glue or something
similar to glue the printed image down. Works better because the
glued label is thick and will move from sawing heat and handling.
Plain old copy paper seems to work best, but I’m open to a better

I use full sheet label paper available at any office supply store
and print or draw my design onto it and peel and stick it onto my
metal. Soak and wipe off the paper when I’m done.’

Sam Patania, Tucson

I never got PNP or the toner transfer methods to work very well so
for my etchings I use photosensitive ImagOn film. I laminate the film
on with a window squeegee, print the image on transparent film and
expose it with a halogen lamp. The developing solution is the pool
chemical Ph-Up. I’ve etched line widths down to 1/300 of an inch(2
pixels wide on my printer).