What is a tracing paper

GWS2.de: The portal for handicraft instructions and paper

A type of paper such as tracing paper, which is also known as transparent creative paper, is a must for hobbyists. This paper is the first choice, especially if you want to illuminate your handicrafts with daylight or candlelight. I would like to explain to you what tracing paper is, how it is best used and what you should pay attention to when buying.

Regardless of whether in white or bright colors, the specialty of tracing paper is a transparent paper layer that is generated mechanically. The starting material for this is long-fiber softwoods. The wood is squeezed and ground until the fiber surface has expanded to the maximum. Another effect of this treatment is that the fibers become matted with one another, creating a transparent surface.

  • The Lignin, which is responsible for paper aging and browning, is used in the manufacture of tracing paper by chlorine-free bleaching removed.
  • The spread, matted and transparent fiber pulp is embossed with a rubber roller. This work step also gives the tracing paper this optical one Surface structurewhich is similar to a Watermark looks like.
  • For colored paper, the pulp is now colored using a wide variety of color pigments.
  • As is well known, transparent creative paper is very smooth and can be hardly describe. So that it can be written on at all, in the last step before drying, a size press moves over the paper and glues the two surfaces. Only then does the tracing paper become dimensionally stable and at all writable.

Hobbyists need tracing paper

With this butterfly, whose wings are made of orange-colored transparent paper, it is easy to see what makes this type of paper so special. An electric tea light shines through, which creates a warm and soothing atmosphere through the paper filter.

  • However, transparent paper is not only suitable for craft motifs with light, but also when you, for example Spectacle lenses or that Pulp want to represent from an orange slice. We have tinkered with tracing paper so much that we have this type of paper in its own category.
  • As a hobbyist, you should know that tracing paper is best drawn with a pencil. Furthermore, the paper can be cut with both scissors and a craft knife. It is also suitable for folding origami.
  • Although it is difficult to describe, it takes Tracing paper still very good ink. So it can be problem-free stamped and even with an inject printer printed become.
  • The adhesive properties of this type of paper are excellent. Transparent creative paper can be glued to any other paper or paper-like material.

Properties of good tracing paper

In general, transparent creative paper is sold in grammages between 42 and 285 g / m². In our experience, transparent paper with a grammage of 115 g / m² for all areas of application described. The different prices come together through two indicators. Unlike other types of paper, tracing paper is more expensive, the thinner it is.

  • In principle, the paper has problems with durability. If you have ever been to a lantern parade where it rained and the tracing paper was not protected, you will have noticed that the lantern is no longer usable. Tracing paper so reacts strongly to moisture.
  • The second price indicator is the color pigments used. If you want to create a craft motif that should shimmer through with sunlight or candlelight, use a cheaper transparent paper. The type of paper is neither aging nor lightfast when exposed to light.

As a guide, a set with colored transparent paper in A4 format with 18 sheets for 7.00 - 9.00 euros, a very good quality.


Of the conventional types of paper for hobbyists, tracing paper was my favorite paper even in kindergarten. In the meantime, the handicraft material is no longer only available in the basic colors, but also in beautiful metallic and pastel tones, which really works very well in connection with light.

Related topics:

Which chalks does a hobbyist need?
Metallic paper for royal motifs

My name is Sascha aka Kilobyte and I've been a blogger since 2009. As a lover and admirer of the fine arts, I've been publishing instructions and experience reports about the beautiful things in life here since 2011. I also take care of the functionality of GWS2.de. I like penguins, the Weimar Classic, Quentin Tarantino and I do almost everything for Italian food with a glass of Pinot Gris.