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I was hoping someone out there could help me with the best way to do a pattern transfer for tombstones. Yesterday I did just two stones, and my finger is still numb from trying to trace over the pattern with a fine-point pen to impress the design.

I am wondering if just using a spray-adhesive will give the paper pattern enough adhesion to stick to the foam without having it tear up as I use the dremel and router bit to cut out the pattern?

Also, I remember the first year I tried this, I came across a video that did the pattern transfer with an iron. Basically the design was printed backwards using a laserjet printer, and then an iron was used to transfer the pattern from the paper to the foam. I tried this but had a number of issues. The iron had to be low enough not to start melting the foam, which took some time. But the pattern itself didn't transfer very well. in certain areas I got a beautiful clear image, while in others I got no transfer at all. I tried using the paper both dry and wet, with steam and without, and never really got the trick of it. I'm wondering if anyone else has used this method and might have any tips for me?
 

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i print out the design and lay the paper over the stone then cut out the letters with an exacto knife. when you remove the paper the cut lines are there. I go over them with a sharpy to make them more visible and then use the dremel to cut them out fully.

here is how mine come out:


 

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I saw a youtube video where they used an ink jet printer on wax paper and then place the paper on a surface and simply rubbed the image on. I have never tried it personally but I plan to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I tried the x-acto blade method when I first started making stones, but a lot of the epithets are much too fine to cut well using it, the blade wants to cut straight, and curves, especially tight curves are difficult. I've been using a fine-point pen, but the pressure of trying to make an impression is really hard on my fingers. I only did two last night and my fingertip from the pen is still numb this afternoon.

That's why I'm asking if someone has used the other methods I mentioned, and had ideas for getting them to work better. I would really like to stop using the pen method.
 

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I use white glue to adhere the paper to the tombstone then dremel, after I am done I cover the paper with wet towels and wait for the glue to soften and then lift the paper, a little more water removes the glue residue and then I paint
 

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There has to be an easier way, I use the ball point pen to trace the lettering or just an exacto knife but the paper starts "caving in" ...I'm racking my brain trying to come up with an invention..so far I have an idea, something like a cookie cutter that is of course in the shape of a letter, maybe fabricating a jig with the cookie cutter letters, press down and you have the shapes imbedded, I'll keep brainstorming maybe a jig with stencils too but the problem with my ideas is size and style of fonts
 

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I scotch tape the paper to the foam, trace the pattern with a ballpoint pen, remove the paper, and then have at it with an exacto knife. As long as you made sure to trace everything, you pressed down relatively hard with the pen, and carve the foam with enough light that this method works pretty well.
 

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I am still hoping to make my first stones. Just bought my first Dremel. So having not tried any of these I had an idea. What about projecting the image on the "stone" with an overhead projector, actual projector or maybe just a box with a light inside like a clamp on and a cutout where you could lay your print over. Probably would have to play with the distance and focus/zoom to get it right but might have potential. If it worked you could then just draw the design with a sharpee and then Dremel. If I try this and it works I will post how I did it.

One quick note: What bit do you all use to cut out the Styrofoam?
 

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I am still hoping to make my first stones. Just bought my first Dremel. So having not tried any of these I had an idea. What about projecting the image on the "stone" with an overhead projector, actual projector or maybe just a box with a light inside like a clamp on and a cutout where you could lay your print over. Probably would have to play with the distance and focus/zoom to get it right but might have potential. If it worked you could then just draw the design with a sharpee and then Dremel. If I try this and it works I will post how I did it.

One quick note: What bit do you all use to cut out the Styrofoam?
sounds like it could work. i have a hard time with it as when tracing i get in the way of the projector. maybe if you mount it above your work shining down. and for the dremel i use this guy:

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=56055-353-565&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=1092895&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1
 

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You could use some kind of carbon copy paper, tape down your epitaph, then slide the carbon underneath and trace. Do they still make carbon transfer/tracing paper???
 

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sounds like it could work. i have a hard time with it as when tracing i get in the way of the projector. maybe if you mount it above your work shining down. and for the dremel i use this guy:

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=56055-353-565&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=1092895&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1
Cool, Thank you. I actually ordered that one and it should have come today. I thought someone had said there was a Styrofoam bit specifically.
 

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I do a solvent transfer. I either print my text reversed to a laser printer or reverse it on a copier. The I place it face down on the foam. I use Citra Solv as the solvent, rubbing it on the paper with a cotton swab. It transfers the ink to the foam.

You have to be careful because too much Citra Solv can eat the foam.

It takes about 20 seconds to do a whole transfer.
 

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I just got a Hot Wire Foam Factory engraver last night. I'm never using my Dremel again to engrave tombstones - this thing is super fast and easy, plus has almost no clean up. Using the solvent transfer method and this engraver I finished two tombstones in less than an hour last night (no including painting).
 

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I just got a Hot Wire Foam Factory engraver last night. I'm never using my Dremel again to engrave tombstones - this thing is super fast and easy, plus has almost no clean up. Using the solvent transfer method and this engraver I finished two tombstones in less than an hour last night (no including painting).
Kind of kicking myself for not picking up the HW foam cutting kit they had at ScareLA. I ended up getting a cheapie foam cutter at Michael's the other day (gets the job done) and am using the dremel with the router attachment (again, gets the job done). But the flexibility of the Hot Wire tools is really the way to go IMO.

That one from 89LT1 with the celtic design is incredible. I wouldn't even know where to start on that one.

I'm finding that just printing out line art of images (bat wings, spider web, etc) and then tracing with a pen and following over that with a pen/marker is getting the job done.
 

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I print mine to paper. Tape paper to stone. Trace over with ballpoint pen. Take paper off. Trace over outline with sharpie. Then I go at it with a Hot wire engraver.
 
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