How To Make Transfer Paper

Did you know you can make your own transfer paper with stuff you probably already have?

This is the best way to make transfer paper for next to nothing. Avoid buying expensive transfer paper by making it yourself. The best part, besides being almost free and super easy to do, is this transfer paper can be made any size. You’re not limited to the predefined small rolls of transfer paper that they sell at art stores.

Transfer paper is excellent for transferring your artwork from paper to canvas or paper to anything really. Make all of your drawing mistakes on scrap paper first and then successfully transfer your design to your artwork’s final destination. This can be a wall, panel, canvas…anything you can think of.

I start all of my oil paintings by transferring over my composition from drawing paper. After years of experimenting I would not do it any other way. Enjoy this free tutorial and please leave a comment below. Happy transferring!!!

Don’t forget to check out all of my favorite tested and approved art materials at



How To Make Transfer Paper: Transcript

Hi, this is John from, transfer paper is fantastic for transferring a drawing onto a canvas however, store-bought transfer paper tends to be expensive and it’s even sometimes difficult to find.

Today I’m going to show you how you can make your own transfer paper.

To Make our homemade transfer paper we’ll need a sheet of tracing paper, we’ll need a dark pencil, some solvent and something to spread around the solvent.  Paper towels will work, I’ve chosen a cotton ball here.

I’ve tried this with many solvents, my favorite is rubber cement thinner because it seems to evaporate a lot quicker than the other solvents.

So the first thing we’re going to do here is lay down a whole bunch of graphite pencil.  I’m using an 8B pencil.

Now I just have to spread around the graphite evenly with my rubber cement thinner.  You might want to do this outside or in a garage, there’s quite a bit of fumes given off right now…

I think that’s okay for now.  That’s it! My transfer paper is all done.  I can use this now to transfer a drawing onto one of my canvases.

What I like about making my own transfer paper is I can make it any size I want.  Don’t forget to check out my website, where I reveal all my favorite tools and materials that I use in my artwork.  Thanks for watching.



  1. What do you do when you want to put a drawaing on a t shirt?

    1. John Morfis says:

      I have never worked on t-shirts, sorry.

  2. Hi! What other solvent can I use apart from the one you used, cause I can’t find one where I live

    1. John Morfis says:

      I tried a bunch eons ago and the more dangerous and the more toxic it seems the better the results. There’s acetone, lacquer thinner, etc… Honestly, why not just buy a roll of transfer paper? It’s a good investment and very reusable.

  3. Laura Moyer says:

    Is there anyway to make the transfer paper to make permanent markings? I’m tracing my sewing patterns for clothes onto tissue paper and need the transfer paper to make permanent markings onto the tissue paper for me.

    1. John Morfis says:

      This is a drawing and painting website. I have no clue about sewing.

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