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China marker for tracing (Tip/Technique)
Viewed 5151 times
Review rated Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 6 people   
Posted by: Vintage Joan
About Vintage Joan star
Member since: 7/16/07
Reviews written: 26
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tips added: 10
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Posted on: 11/4/07 7:34 PM
Web site/URL: photo
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I was getting frustrated with pencils and (even worse) pens for tracing patterns onto tracing paper, and markers of course bleed through. So the other day I tried out a china marker -- the kind you use to label china, glass, and other hard materials. I was slightly nervous about trying this, since the name in French is "mine grasse" -- greasy lead -- so I tried it first on a scrap piece of tracing paper (the kind that comes in a roll, from the art store). Not only was it not greasy, it didn't smear even when I tested it by rubbing one piece of marked tracing paper with another piece. It's also very smooth to write with, and -- not that you would need this with paper! -- waterproof. And it doesn't seem to bleed through at all to the other side of the tracing paper (I haven't tried it on super lightweight tracing paper yet, but you probably wouldn't be using that for tracing patterns anyway).
The picture above shows one of the brands available -- there are others. I didn't see the colored china markers (shown in the photo), just black, but you might be able to find colored ones in a large stationery store, discount store, or hardware store -- maybe even an art supply store. (A variety of colors would be even more useful, wouldn't it! I'm also going to try the colored ones for artwork if I ever track them down.)
P.S. They have a kind of paper wrapping next to the tip of the lead, and when they get stubby you "sharpen" them by pulling the string back a bit and peeling away some the paper.
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3 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
OP Gal said...
Great idea. I always love learning about marking tools. It seems there never is a perfect one for your needs. I've used one of these before for other uses, but we called it a "grease pencil." Ick.
11/5/07 7:50 AM
OP Gal said...
Oops! Duplicate. I edited it and it created another comment. I hope this edit doesn't do the same thing.
11/5/07 7:51 AM
Vintage Joan said...
Hi, OP Gal! Thanks for reminding me about that other term for it -- I knew there was one. We always had one of these around when I was a kid, and that may be what my parents called it. Very useful tool -- and dry to the touch, not greasy-feeling at all, despite the name (it can also be washed off/out with hot water, which is good to know). I found a place today that carries six different colors, so it might be fun to trace darts in one color, fold lines in another, cutting lines in black, etc. And they're soo cheap. :)
11/5/07 8:02 AM

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