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In this post: Make signs, crafts and art easily with the pencil transfer method! Perfect for large and small scale projects. Easy enough that anyone can do it!

Have you ever wondered how to make large scale art or signs? Well I’ve got a really simple method that I’ve been using for years. Several of my tutorials mention it and describe it. But after several requests on how to make large scale (or even smaller scale) art, I thought I’d give it its own dedicated post so I could easily point people to how it’s done. Introducing the pencil transfer method!

The Pencil Transfer Method

the pencil transfer method - make any size art you like

The pencil transfer method is really very simple.

Pretty much anyone can do it.


  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Something to trace (computer print out, etc.)
  • Something to trace onto (paper, wood board, canvas, etc.)


1. Create something to copy – purchased digital art, a word or phrase printed from the computer, etc.  (Please pay attention to copyright laws and terms of use agreements when downloading fonts and art from the internet.)


2. Using the side of a pencil rub all over the back side of the image.


3. Now turn the page over, place on your wood, canvas or paper and trace the outline of image. This will leave a penciled outline!



4. Then just fill in with paint, marker, etc. And voila…your very own art!


See didn’t I tell you that was easy?

Here are a few projects on which I’ve used this method:


Special Date Stenciled Sign


DIY Hand-Lettered Canvas

west wall of kitchen

Vintage Bakery Sign 

aka design you are my sunshine

Vintage You Are My Sunshine Sign

Have you ever tried the pencil transfer method yourself? What would you like to make with this method next?

shannon photo and sig oct 2022

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  1. So, I see you have several sheets you taped together. Did you print it a certain way or just created your phrase and picked your font and font size and printed it so it would be several pages?

    1. I created the file full size (in the case of the canvas sign shown I made it 24′” x 24″) and then when I went to print I selected full size and my printer gave me the option to tile it out as you see it. See if your printer gives you that option. 🙂

    2. Otherwise you’d have to print a letter per sheet of paper and match it up. Still doable. 🙂

  2. I’ve used this method and I adore it. I usually use a charcoal pencil, I didn’t realize regular pencil lead would work! Good to know!
    I love your singing sign, would you mind sharing what font this is?
    New to your blog and ❤️❤️❤️❤️’ing it!

  3. How did you determine the font size to use to get the 24×24 finish size….sorry if that’s a dumb question…

    1. You create a custom sized document in whatever program you’re using and then size the font to fill the document. 🙂 Not a dumb question if you’ve never done it before!

  4. I’ve always wanted to know how to do this! Thanks so much for the easy step by step tutorial. I’ll definitely be trying it for my next project. Hope you’re having a great day, Coco

    1. Hi Tina, I’m sorry but if it’s a font we use for creating our art prints, we don’t share the font!

  5. it looks like you painted straight on the canvas, what kind of paint did you use that it didn’t need to be primed?

    1. I’m not exactly a professional artist and I like the look of canvas so I didn’t prime or use a paint that took the place of primer. If you are going for a professional look I’d suggest looking for a canvas primer first. Sorry – I know not much help.

  6. Hi Shannon,
    I used to find transparencies with beautiful, inspirational quotes on them and I could attach them to bottles, repurposed books. Do you by any chance carry them or know yourself where to find them. I used to see them at Michaels, Joannes…