Excuse Me, Do You Sell Tracing Paper?

Laokokok : “Excuse me, do you sell tracing paper?”

Young salesgirl : “Tracing paper? …What is it? ..pls wait…”

She hurried off to ask another more elderly salesgirl. Together they showed me to a shelf where it was.

Young salesgirl : “Oh, so this is tracing paper!”

I’m rather surprised that the younger generation like my kids (Primary 3 girl and even my Sec.2 boy may not know), do not know what tracing paper are. Some do know about carbon paper.

OK, these are Tracing and Carbon Paper;

The tracing paper now is a bit too thick compared to the past. Of course, the prices have gone up many folds too. The carbon paper was usually of the brand Pelikan (not too sure the spelling) in the past and they are usually used for typing and those receipts and invoices.

I used the tracing paper mainly for my Geography lessons in the 70s – tracing countries maps. With digital cameras, scanners, Photoshop software, etc.. and many modern technology, all these tracing and carbon papers are seldom used nowadays. So many younger generations may not have seen or heard about it, can’t blame them.

Let me try to show you how I used the tracing paper and carbon paper in the past. Below is an example of me trying to trace Pinocchio from a book onto a piece of paper.

Unless one can draw very well, otherwise, this is what I will do.


So do you still use the tracing and carbon paper?

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9 Responses to “Excuse Me, Do You Sell Tracing Paper?”


  1. 1 profkingsfield2004 Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 3:52 am

    1 game we played in primary school was to put the tracing paper over a coin and shed with pencil. The impression of the coin would be transfered to the paper.

  2. 2 passerby Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Art students still have to use this actually. When your final work has to be hand-drawn and you use references you use tracing paper… if it’s something small lah. For a-levels if you need to show “observation” or “reference” drawings sometimes you can use tracing paper to do the outilne and then you manually shade/colour it (shows off your pencilling skills as opposed to using the computer)

  3. 3 Victor Koo Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    When we purchase a French loaf from the bakery in the 1960s-70s, it would usually come wrapped in a large translucent piece of paper. (French loaves are not oily so the paper remained largely unstained.) We recycled the wrapping paper as tracing paper or used it to make a kite.

    Later, NCR (no carbon required) paper replaced carbon paper. The contacting pages of say an NCR receipt book were coated with chemicals. When the pressure of the ball-point pen’s nib or typewriter’s striking key is applied on the top page during writing, the chemicals are pressed together and the handwriting or printing is traced onto the bottom page in blue. As with the use of carbon paper, you need to insert a thick paper on top of the pages which you don’t want your handwriting/typewriting to be accidentally transferred to.

  4. 4 profkingsfield2004 Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    My first go at “Fish & Chip” was way back in 1962. The man came around our estate in his van with a kitchen built-in. After frying, the fish & chips were wrapped in tracing paper and then newspaper. When you open the newspaper, there is a very strong aroma of “fish & chip”.

    Recently I made myself this dish again and followed what I saw as a child. The aroma still good lah. Maybe the secret is in the wrapper and not the batter?????

  5. 5 peewee Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Oh, I used tracing paper for my arts lessons long long ago! Zi Bao Ji also used tracing paper right?

  6. 6 py Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    I remember using carbon paper when I was young (before 12 years old). My grandma or mother was the one who introduced me to using it.

  7. 7 laokokok Monday, April 14, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Yes the coin tracing! Thanks Peter for reminding me.

    HI Passerby and PeeWee,
    Thanks – didn’t know art student still use it.
    Not so sure if the Zi Bao Ji is the same paper.

    Hi PY,
    Still have the paper at home now? Think most of us already throw them away…

  8. 8 Maggi Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 12:00 am

    I still remember when my mum teach me how to use it, over 15 years ago… Now when I start my interior design course I will have oportunity to use it again (a lot !) ..
    It was propal fun then.. hope this time will be the same..

  9. 9 Lariz Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Hi i was just visiting and found this page. i am fifteen from Israel and i have to say i have been using tracing paper for a long time as stained glass in my windows. i use permanent markers to color so that it does not fade. it is a really good project try it.

    -Lariz David


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