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tracing embroidery with your own light box

tracing embroidery on screen

Did you know that you have a light box for tracing embroidery patterns? It's true! Your computer screen comes with that feature, and the manufacturer didn't even tell you about it.

I used to think of using my computer monitor for tracing patterns as a lazy way of doing it, but avoiding printing and tracing on a window has some real benefits!

1. Saves paper...no printing needed!
2. Easily resize...reduce or enlarge a PDF pattern to any percentage!
3. Works any time...no more waiting for the sun to shine through your window!

tracing embroidery on screen

Pull up your pattern on your computer. (This one is from the latest set to go out to the Pattern of the Month Club!) Use masking tape to hold your fabric onto your screen.

tracing embroidery on screen

Use a water-soluble marker to trace your design. (I recommend a marker, because you won't have to press very hard, which is helpful depending on the type of screen you have.)

tracing embroidery on screen

Pull your fabric down, and you're set to start stitching!

Now, there are some things about this that aren't ideal. Some monitors (like my iMac) have a layer of glass which means you really need to work straight on, otherwise your image might be off. Touch screens can be a bit tricky to work with (though not impossible) and not all fabrics work so well, but overall, I like this method!

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

tracing embroidery on screen

31 comments:

  1. this really cool idea! very cute embroidery patter ^^

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  2. What a great idea. I have so many patterns on my desktop ( which I cleaned up after you posted yours, I love the June wallpaper too) I need to try this, instead of forgetting about them, on my computer. Thanks.

    Vintagehoneybee.blogspot.com

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  3. this is what i do! it works so well.

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  4. awesome idea!!!!

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  5. Thank you, that is a tip I can always you now!!!

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  6. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does this.

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  7. Haha I thought I was the only one who did this too, but now I'm glad to know i'm not :D

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  8. good idea! so simple, why did i never think of it before? just goes to show, sometimes the best ideas are literally right in front of you! thanx! have a good one!
    debra

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  9. I love using this method. I always use binder clips to attach the fabric to my laptop screen, then lay the laptop on my lap with the screen on the bottom and the keyboard sticking up. It works so well!

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    1. Binder clips are a great idea! I don't like having to scrub the last of the masking tape residue off my screen and I find that sometimes its not quite tight enough.

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  10. Thanks for the great tipe! What kind of marker do you like to use?

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    1. For this, I'm using a DMC water-soluble marker. I also use a Dritz fine point disappearing pen, and sometimes even a regular pencil!

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  11. Brilliant! I can't believe I haven't tried tracing from my screen.. *smacks forehead*

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  12. I know this is completely off topic but I'm so excited that you've got that set of IKEA stuffies! It seems like that set was their last set of the 50cent collection (the last time I went they had only the rats which were cute and I bought two but they were a dollar and larger than most of my tiny stuffies). I once had the blue wolf but one day when walking around campus with him he was dropped and I lost him forever (and I was surprisingly heartbroken over it!). There are no IKEA in Indiana, where I lived at the time, so I asked friends in California and Texas to be on the lookout for one to send me but no one had the time to look before they were discontinued. While it was pretty disappointing, I figured that one day I'd eventually see another one-- et viola! Here is one right on your blog! So thank you for sharing his goofy little grin with me again. :)

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  13. This is off topic, but I just have to say I love the little guys on your computer! I have the same three sitting on the base of my desk lamp!

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  14. I do that all the time, but if my husband ever found out, he would have my head. LOL! He's very careful with all of the electronics in the house.

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  15. Awesome! I thought I was the only person that did this!

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  16. Such a great idea!! So glad I never bought a light box! Thanks!! xo Heather

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  17. I put baking paper on the monitor and trace with either a pencil that has soft graphite or a permanant marker. (By the way, human spit gets permanant marker off a monitor, even if it has been there for over a year)
    I then use the baking paper on the fabric and have mini holes pressed along the lines that i put my fabric pen on. I get to use the baking paper patterns multiple times that way.

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  18. That is an absolutely brilliant idea! Following:)

    http://thenorthwaystudio.blogspot.com/

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  19. So simple, yet so clever! :)

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  20. I have a convertable tablet HP, and it folds into a nice light table! I've been doing this for awhile now, but I wish there was a button to turn off the touch screen as it does make it a little annoying!

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  21. Hello! I also use this method, and I like especially that you can varia the size of the pattern so easy. Love your blog and your little friends.

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  22. This is a great idea but there is a danger involved. Some monitors will be damaged. For Plasma screens especially, even using the bubble wrap side instead of using card board in between the bubble wrap and the screen can damage the tv permanently. While I love the idea, It might be safe to warn people that not all screens will be appropriate for this. Just in case... >.>

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Dont-Touch-That-TV-Screen---No,-Really---Im-Serious---Dont!&id=662171

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    1. I did see that you noted marker use for this exact reason, but it was not really clear and I would hate for someone to not know. :(

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  23. I've always used my window. This is a great way to do it and you could do it at night! The window method fails at that in a bad way.

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  24. wow Mollie! I have to give this one a try! but what kind of fabric do you use? thanks so much for the tip :)

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    1. I use all kinds of fabric! This one is a plain quilting cotton.

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  25. Why haven't I been doing this for years!!!! You are so clever! :o)

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  26. Anonymous8:32 AM

    I've always used that technic. It's great. :)

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