Pattern transfer with lightbox method

How to transfer hand embroidery patterns – simple and inexpensive Lightbox method

Pattern transfer with the Lightbox method is one of my favorites. It’s simple, cheap, and does not require any special equipment. All you need is a printed pattern, light-colored fabric, a transfer pen, and a sunny window. Even better – I’ll show you how to substitute a window with a simple lamp. 

If you want to learn about other pattern transfer methods – read this article – “How to transfer embroidery pattern to the fabric. All you need to know about embroidery design transfer tools, materials, and techniques”.

Pattern transfer with lightbox

For pattern transfer with a lightbox method, you will need the following:

  • Printed pattern;
  • Fabric;
  • Light source; 
  • Tracing tool (pen or pencil).

As a light source, you can use one of these options:

  • Bright sunny window
  • Your tablet
  • Your computer screen
  • DIY lightbox 
  • Professional lightbox

Idea! Make a lightbox at home with the materials you already have

You will need two books of the same size, a piece of glass (I used glass from a picture frame), and a camping light. 

Place two books on the table with a gap between them. Then, put the glass over it. After, place the lamp under the glass with the light directed up, just like in this photo. Now you have a lightbox!

I don’t use it every day, but it helps me a lot on rainy days and in the evenings when I cannot use a bright sunny window as a light source.

DIY lightbox


Choose your light source and then follow these simple steps:

  1. Print or draw a pattern on paper. Make sure that the lines are clear and bold enough;
  2. Tape a design to a window (or another source of light);
  3. Prepare your embroidery fabric. If the pattern is small and fits in the hoop, frame the material before transferring the design. In case your pattern is more significant than the hoop, iron your fabric and tape it over the printed design;
  4. Trace all the lines with your favorite tracing tool; 
  5. Done. Now your pattern is ready for stitching!
Pattern transfer with lightbox method - step by step

Video tutorial

If you are a visual learner – watch this video tutorial on applying the Lightbox method for embroidery pattern transfer.