how to make scroll saw patterns from pictures

Are you looking for a creative and unique way to spruce up your home or garden? Have you ever wanted to turn an image into something tangible that can be admired by everyone who visits your space? Well, look no further. You can make scroll saw patterns from pictures easily with just a few simple steps. Whether it’s a family portrait, pet photo, landscape painting or even abstract artwork – the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating beautiful works of art using this method. So don’t wait any longer; follow our guide below and learn how to make scroll saw patterns from pictures today.

Table of Contents:

Gather Your Materials

Gathering the materials you need for a scroll saw project is an important first step. To get started, you’ll need a few basic items:

1. Scroll Saw – A scroll saw is essential for creating intricate patterns from pictures or photographs. It has a thin blade that can be used to cut shapes into wood and other materials with precision and accuracy.

2. Tracing Paper – Tracing paper is great for transferring images onto your material of choice. You can use it to trace the outline of your pattern onto graphite paper, which will then transfer the image onto your workpiece when placed on top of it and pressed down firmly with an iron or other heat source.

a woodworking equipment

3. Graphite Paper – Graphite paper makes transferring images easier than ever before. This special type of paper contains graphite powder that transfers to whatever surface it’s placed on when pressure is applied—making it perfect for tracing patterns onto wood or other materials without having to draw them freehand.

Once you have all the materials needed for your project, it’s time to trace the image onto your scroll saw pattern.

Trace the Image

Now it’s time to start transferring your design. Using light pressure on your pencil, trace over each line of your chosen image until it has been completely transferred onto the tracing paper below. This should take no more than 10-15 minutes depending on how detailed or intricate your design is – so be patient. As long as you use gentle strokes when drawing over each line of your pattern or design then it should come out looking just like what was originally printed on top of it.

Once finished with this step in transferring an image from one material to another using graphite/carbon papers, simply remove both pieces from underneath each other and admire how well they turned out. From here you can either keep them together if desired (for example if framing) or separate them into two different items such as fabric swatches for clothing projects etc. The possibilities are endless when utilizing this technique which makes it perfect for those who love crafting their own unique creations at home without having to worry about complicated processes like screen printing etc.

Once you have the outline of your image, use a pencil to trace it onto the wood. Now that you have traced your pattern, you can move on to cutting out your design with a scroll saw.

Key Takeaway: Tracing an image onto tracing paper is a simple way to transfer designs and patterns. Gather graphite paper, pencil, tracing paper and the image you want to trace. Trace the image using light pressure on your pencil until it’s completely transferred. Remove both pieces from underneath each other for a successful transfer.

Cut Out Your Pattern

Cutting out your pattern with a scroll saw is the most important step in creating beautiful woodwork. To begin, make sure you have all of the necessary materials: tracing paper, a pencil, and a scroll saw.

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, trace the image onto the tracing paper using your pencil. Make sure to take care when doing this so that it looks as accurate as possible. This will be used as a guide for cutting out your pattern later on.

Now it’s time to get started with cutting out your pattern. Place the tracing paper onto some scrap wood and secure it in place using masking tape or clamps. Then turn on your scroll saw and carefully cut along the lines of the traced image until you have completely cut through both pieces of material (the tracing paper and scrap wood). As you work, remember to use caution when cutting intricate details – if needed, slow down or stop altogether if things start getting too tricky. Also make sure to follow all safety instructions for using power tools at all times.

an intricate design

Once finished, remove any excess material from around edges of your newly-cut piece by sanding them down with fine-grit sandpaper or an electric sander – whichever works best for you. You can also smooth out any rough spots by hand-sanding them lightly before moving on to finishing touches like staining or painting.

And there you have it – now that you’ve successfully cut out your pattern with a scroll saw, all that’s left is adding those final touches to bring everything together into one beautiful piece of art. 

Key Takeaway: Cutting out patterns with a scroll saw requires tracing an image onto tracing paper, securing it in place on scrap wood, and cutting along the lines of the traced image. Afterwards, sand down any excess material from the edges and add finishing touches like staining or painting.

Finishing Touches

Now that you’ve cut out your scroll saw pattern, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Depending on what type of wood you used and how intricate the design is, there are a few things you can do to make sure your project looks its best.


Sanding down any rough edges or corners will give your piece a smooth finish and help protect against splinters. Use an orbital sander with medium-grit sandpaper for larger areas and fine-grit paper for smaller details like curves or tight corners.


If you want to add colour to your piece, painting or staining are both great options. Painting gives more vibrant colours while staining brings out the natural beauty of the wood grain without covering it up completely. When using either method, make sure to use multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat so that it doesn’t drip off when drying.


Once everything else is done, adding a layer of varnish or polyurethane will seal in all of your hard work and keep it looking good for years to come. Make sure not to skimp on this step as even if you’re just making something decorative – protecting it from moisture damage is essential if you want it to last long term.

For added protection against wear and tear (especially if kids are going to be playing with this item), waxing may be necessary depending on what type of material was used in construction. A light coating of beeswax should do the trick but always test first before applying liberally.

Key Takeaway: To ensure your scroll saw pattern looks its best, sand down any rough edges, paint or stain for colour, and finish with a layer of varnish/polyurethane.


Learning how to make scroll saw patterns from pictures or photographs is a great way to add a personal touch to your woodworking projects. With the right materials and some patience, you can make beautiful works of art that will last for years. So grab your tools, trace out your image, cut out the pattern and give it those finishing touches – you’ll be glad you did. Now go forth and make scroll saw patterns from pictures like a pro.

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