How to Use Scroll Saw Patterns

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Scroll saw patterns use intricate designs for versatile cutting.
Scroll saw patterns use intricate designs for versatile cutting. (Image: souvenirs image by Svetlana Tikhonova from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Scroll saw patterns are available in a variety of forms for transfer to wood. Some are made for gluing onto the wood and left in place for the saw to cut around. Other patterns designed for scroll saws are transferred to the wood surface with the use of colored carbon paper. Another simple way to transfer scroll saw patterns is to make cardboard cutouts of the shapes to lay on top of wood and trace around the perimeters. Any of these methods will make the patterns clearly visible to the scroll saw operator.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine sand paper
  • Tack cloth
  • Low tack adhesive spray
  • Masking tape
  • Colored carbon paper
  • Ball point pen or dull point pencil
  • Trace paper
  • Stick glue
  • Thin cardboard or card stock
  • Scissors

Make a copy of the original pattern before using any method of transfer to the wood. Use copies of scroll saw patterns for all transfer methods. Make an additional copy of the original for a second transfer, or as a back up if the first copy gets torn in the woodwork shop.

Sand the side of the wood the pattern will be transferred onto with fine sand paper. Remove all wood particles by rubbing tack cloth over the sanded surface and all other sides of the wood.

Stick a copy of the pattern onto the wood by spraying the wood surface with a low tack adhesive. Stretch the paper to avoid wrinkles as you lay the pattern copy on the wood surface. Cut out the pattern design with a scroll saw, and peel the paper off after the sawing is completed. Use fine sand paper to remove any remaining adhesive.

Transfer a pattern with colored carbon paper by tracing over it. Lay the carbon paper over the clean wood surface. Lay the pattern on top and tape the sides of the carbon and pattern papers to the edge of the wood with masking tape. Trace the design with a dull pencil point, or ball point pen using moderately firm pressure. Carefully trace the entire design without moving the papers. Remove the tape and papers, and the design is ready for sawing.

Make cardboard cutouts of patterns for scroll saws by laying trace paper over the copied pattern and tracing the design. Blot a small amount of stick glue in the middle of the design on the backside of the trace paper. Lay the traced design over a piece of card stock, or thin cardboard from a cereal box and press down on the glued spot. Cut through the trace paper and card stock with scissors in the shape of the traced design. Peel the trace paper off, lay the cardboard cut-out over the wood surface and trace around the cardboard edges with a pencil. Cut along the pencil marks with a scroll saw.

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