Have you ever thought that a dark canvas would be a perfect background for your original needlepoint? Then you think this through. The difficulties of tracing your design onto that dark canvas is more than enough to make you rethink your plan.
I know I’ve turned to light canvas and a dark background thread to avoid this problem.
It works but it isn’t the best solution. Far better is to use dark canvas, but how do you see your dark lines to trace and how do you get your traced design to show up?
You’ll need two specialized tools to do this.
First you will need access to a light box. They are raised with a translucent acrylic top. It lets the light through, but tempers it so you can look down on it. A light bulb is underneath; that’s why it’s raised.
You can find them in art stores, craft stores, and sometimes at photography stores. You can also make your own. I bought mine from Amazon. The small inexpensive ones for hobby use are under $30.
Put your design on the box and tape it down. Put the canvas on top and turn on the light. You’ll be able to see the design. Align your canvas and tape it.
Now it’s time to trace your design. For this your will need an opaque white pen. There are several companies that make these. Before you use it, test it overnight. You’ll need some small scraps of dark canvas for this. Three is best. Mark a small square on each piece of canvas.
First check to make sure the mark is actually opaque. That takes care of one test patch.
Allow the other patches to dry. After about 30 minutes, wet one patch and blot it with your hand or a colored rag. If no ink comes off, you are good to go.
If paint did come off, wait overnight and repeat the test with the last patch. If there is no paint, you’re good to go. If there is paint, this pen is not suitable for needlepoint.
Once you have a pen that will work, trace your design.
You have what looks like the negative of a line drawn canvas and you are ready to stitch.
By the way, the white pen I currently use is Paint Marker from Centropen.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
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