Have you ever had trouble seeing the lines of your design on the wood? Often with lighter colored wood such as basswood, pencil lines show up clearly. If you have transferred a template to your wood with carbon paper, this also shows up well on lighter colored wood. The carbon paper can be purchased at office supply stores.
However, when using darker woods, such as mahogany or walnut, I often use what is called “transfer paper” instead of carbon paper to transfer on designs. This paper comes in a variety of colors – white, red, yellow in addition to darker colors. It can usually be found in craft supply stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. The lines also erase easily with a standard pencil eraser.
I just place the transfer paper between my template and wood and trace over the design from the template. I have accidentally had the transfer paper laying the wrong side up several times, so a warning… make sure the right side is down! It makes a really nice pattern on the back of your template if not 🙁
Another good trick for darker wood is to use white gel pens or colored pencils when you trace around a cut-out template or pattern.
I have a video on youtube that goes into more techniques of transferring designs to wood. Enjoy!