Art Supply Experts: Drawing Grid Needed
May 19, 2014 10:42 PM   Subscribe

I have a project in which I will be having to make scale drawings of old pieces of textile that are flat. I am looking for a real drawing grid, which I envision as a square frame with vertical and horizontal lines (wire?) that I can place over the fabric to help me draw it on a piece of graph paper. This is meant to reduce the time and effort of plotting points on the graph paper corresponding to the features of the item being drawn. I can't just place graph paper over the textile and trace it because it's too delicate. And most drawings will not be 1:1 scale. There are lots of choices of software for grids on computers, but so far my web searches of art supply stores haven't turned up anything that's for use in the real world. The squares need to be metric.
posted by ADave to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
As for getting the design on paper, couldn't you just use a photo copier? I've done this with success with t-shirts. Then scale it up or down on any software (Word, even).
posted by klausman at 11:22 PM on May 19, 2014

C-Thru makes a graph chart that sounds like what you want, except it's 8 squares to the inch, not metric.

It might be easiest to just have such a grid printed on transparency film yourself.

Another alternative to consider is photographing the piece, and overlaying the grid on that, and using that as your reference for drawing.
posted by jimw at 11:26 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not aware of any ready made devices for doing what you want to do. A transparent sheet of mylar will allow you to draw a grid to your preferred size with a sharpie and lay it on top of the fabric. You could also stretch the fabric flat, take a photograph, and put a grid digitally over the image.
posted by fatbird at 11:47 PM on May 19, 2014

I was thinking some sort of transparent plastic, a ruler, a permanent marker, and some patience. But I think the photo might be easier.
posted by Sequence at 11:49 PM on May 19, 2014

Further to both klausman's and jimw's ideas: if you photograph or scan the fabric with a metric mitre square as a frame, you can use that as a guide to drop a scaled grid onto it in the software.
posted by gingerest at 11:52 PM on May 19, 2014

If you are looking for a grid overlay on the fabric to help you hand draw it, then get a piece of plexiglass, draw the grid on it, and lay it flat on the flattened fabric. If you need it to be very accurate then, yeah, scan it using a flatbed or drum scanner. A photograph will distort. What is the preferred end result? A digital vector file?
posted by Foam Pants at 11:54 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'd just draw it yourself on plexiglass or a thin sheet of plastic. Melinex is museum- grade stuff for what it's worth. (I've got a ton of the stuff, frankly I'll make one for you if you like.)
posted by kalimac at 1:02 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe an Omnigrid quilter's ruler would work? I believe they come in metric as well as imperial.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:20 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

The above suggestions about superimposing a grid are your best bet but if you want to make a frame, you can use artists canvas stretchers and brads/pushpins with elastic thread looping between them. But it will be difficult to get a precise spacing unless you have a t-square, the frame will be bulky and it will not work if your grid is a really small scale.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:48 AM on May 20, 2014

Traditionally you'd shoot or scan the fabric and project the image onto your drawing surface.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:54 AM on May 20, 2014

Sounds like a great job for a pantograph.
posted by rudd135 at 7:16 PM on May 20, 2014

Can you take a scan/copy of the fabric and then print it out on graph paper?
posted by blackunicorn at 8:31 PM on May 20, 2014

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