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[How2] Transferring Design to Wax

Speaking of transferring designs from paper, does anyone know of
a good way to transfer an intricate design from paper onto wax
for carving? I’ve been taught to use a sharp point and press the
design into the wax with a “dotted line” through the paper, but
with a very intricate design, I end up with a wax model so full
of pin pricks that it is indecipherable…

Mark L Milanich

HI! to transfer a design, purchase carbon paper. The one I use
is real thin like tracing paper with carbon on one side, put it
down on wax, drawing on top and use a old ball point pen that
doesn’t have any ink left. Trace, and there you have it. Pat

Hi Mark,

I don’t know if my method will help with your situation, but
something I do at times is to pierce the design as true as
possible on very thin metal. Then I bend the metal to conform
to my pre-shaped wax and scribe the design through the piercings.
Works great for such stuff as laying out celtic knotwork on
rings. Also, you get to keep your template for another piece.


Dear Mark Milanich, Marking on wax can be made easy by smearing
a little white gouache direct from the tube onto the wax surface.
You can also use a white acrylic the same way and it is a little
more resistant to wearing off than the gouache. When it’s dry you
can draw or trace directly onto it. Kind regards, Rex from Oz

In order to transfer my designs to wax I use a CAD/CAM system.
A bit more pricey than carbon paper and sticking pinholes all
over the place, but infinately better results. Especially when
detail is a requirement.


Try using transfer paper, found at art stores, to trace your
design straight onto the carving wax. I prefer the green (HARD)
carving wax to the others and when used in conjunction with the
white transfer paper ( it comes in different colored inks ) it
shows up really nice and legible. I also use the transfer paper
to transfer designs to metal by first laying a coat of dykem blue
down and then transferring my design using the transfer paper.
Good luck, Peter Slone