Saral Transfer Paper

I recently decided to try my hand at a whole cloth quilt project. Yes, I know it means diverging from my single-minded attempt to complete or make progress on many of the projects on the 26 Projects list. In order not to completely lose my mind and have fun, I diverged on to this project, because it requires me to engage in the entire process of quiltmaking from idea through design to stitching and finishing.

One of the challenges I came upon very soon after starting was transferring my design on to the fabric. This is always a problem for me as I am pretty lazy when it comes to quilting and I have never found a completely satisfactory way to transfer original quilting designs.  I didn’t have a quilting stencil, because this was my own design. I didn’t want to do a free hand drawing on the fabric and I have never been comfortable with the wash away pens, so I was at a loss.

Saral Transfer Paper
Saral Transfer Paper

Quickly, though, a vague memory of Saral Transfer Paper leaped into my head. I think I learned about in the dark ages of my quilting career.

Saral Transfer Paper is described on the company products page as: “Saral® Transfer Paper is wax free transfer paper (also known as graphite paper or tracing paper) made for general and specialized use, which allows you to transfer your design from a sketch, pattern, template or free hand to any surface. It makes clean, crisp tracings that can be erased and painted over. It’s great for tole painting, fabric painting, fine arts and watercolor painting, quilting, dress making, commercial and graphic arts, architecture, wood working, ceramics, stained glass, metal working and it’s acid-free for scrapbooking.

The website goes on to describe the advantages and different uses: “ Saral Transfer Paper is wax free so it gives the advantage of erasing like pencil with no smear or smudge. It can be inked or painted over with no skipping or bleeding. The transfer lines can be sponged, washed out or brushed off of fabric, and a hot iron will not set them as will other tracing or transfer papers made for fabrics. Saral is economical and can be used again and again.

Saral Comes In 5 Colors

Graphite: The all-purpose tracing medium. Excellent for illustration board and all drawing papers, wood, fabrics, canvas and metal.

Red: Excellent for ceramics and china painting. The lines will fire out. Shows up equally well on light or dark surfaces and mixtures of the two, such as photographs and photostats. May be used on acetate overlays, plastics and enamel.

Blue: Non-photographic. It’s not necessary to clean off Saral blue when work goes before the platemaking camera. Ideal for key lines, mechanicals, paste-ups. For Tole Painters, it leaves a bright, easy to see transfer line.

Yellow and White: For tracings on dark surfaces. Excellent on dark fabrics, dark wood, metal, as well as dark painting surfaces. Tole painters find white especially useful. Yellow is best for work on clear or stained glass.

Saral is Certified Non-Toxic
All Saral transfer papers conform to ASTMD-4236 and are certified by The Art & Creative Materials Institute as non-toxic, so they are suitable for use by children, as well as adults.

I have used it before, so I went in hunt for it and was fortunate to find a flat pack of 5 8.5″x11″ sheets at Joann. I also ordered a roll, as is shown in the image, from Amazon. It is an old fashioned feeling product, but it works amazingly well.

My pattern is about 2.5″x3″ feet, so I stood at my cutting table and drew over my pattern through the Saral Yellow onto my fabric. I can easily sew over the lines and they brush off when I don’t need them any more. I use a Sewline pencil to darken any lines that may have gotten too light. I am really pleased with how this product works, because I was able to trace right over the original lines of my pattern.

Also, I only used one 8.5″x11″ sheet to transfer the entire pattern., so the website’s claims of economy seem to hold up to scrutiny.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

3 thoughts on “Saral Transfer Paper”

  1. I learned about Saral transfer paper in a reverse applique class (Dan Rouse, in Berkeley). It’s fabulous stuff! Thanks for reminding me about it…I’ve been trying to figure out how to do my wholecloth pattern transfer, too!

  2. I’m wondering how it’ll hold up as I quilt and turn and quilt and turn and rub against the fabric, and roll up the fabric and quilt and turn, etc., etc. Probably better than other methods, I’m guessing. Have you had any trouble with it rubbing off before you wanted it to? I’ve been thinking about this same problem.

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