How to Use PDF Graph Paper for Designing Wood Projects
If you're looking for blank graph paper on the Web, you've likely decided that buying large pads of printed graph paper at the local office supply store is kind of waste - considering that any given project will call for no more than a few sheets of paper to get the job done. Downloading a PDF file of blank graph paper templates means you can keep the file on your computer and print only the copies you need for the project at hand. That saves you money - and avoids wasted paper products.
Some of the more interesting kinds of blank graph paper are the type designed for perspective drawing - with converging lines to a vanishing point located in the upper corner of the page. These can be very helpful templates for sketching your project ideas in 3D - giving you birds eye view of what your project might look like when completed. I've also found that making rough sketches on blank graph paper can quickly bring to light any problems you might have with the overall design. Better to find out early on your sketching paper if your idea just doesn't look the way you had hoped it would.
Not many of us can draw a straight line, much less a square box, triangle, or circle. That's where graphing paper comes to the rescue. With its perfectly aligned vertical and horizontal lines - we can easily draw by hand an endless variety of geometric shapes - images that can be difficult to sketch on a blank sheet of paper.
By simply counting off squares - up, down, left, and right - graphing paper can help us design and layout woodworking projects, home remodeling plans, craft patterns, and anything else that makes use of symmetrical shapes. One of the best (and often overlooked) uses for graphing paper is drawing objects in scale. The evenly divided rows and columns means that you can assign any unit of measure you like to the individual squares on the page.
One square can equal anything - one millimeter, one inch, one foot, one yard, one mile. This makes graph paper an incredible tool for visualizing objects that may otherwise be too small - or too large - for us to sketch on a standard letter size piece of paper.
Online Graph Paper
Some of the more recent improvements in PDF technology - along with better home printers - have made online graph paper a popular alternative to buying a full pad - and the trip to the local office supply store to find it. Not to mention that buying 100 sheets of graph paper at a time is probably more paper than most people need - now or in the future (I still have pads of unused graph paper sitting around that I bought five years ago).
So when PDFs made online graph paper a reality, it suddenly made good sense to download a file and print only the sheets you need for a given project. That makes good sense all around - good economic sense and good environmental sense. With a little creativity, the possibilities for using online graph paper become unlimited. For example, you might think a letter-size sheet of paper has its limitations for designing large scale projects. However, nothing says you can't print multiple sheets and then tape them together to make whatever size pattern you need.
In the PDF world, this is called "PDF Tiling" - and it's a very effective way to print large-scale patterns and diagrams using a common home printer (which usually accepts paper no wider than 8 - 1/2 inches). After printing the individual sheets, it's simply a matter of taping the edges together to form the larger pattern. Some types of online graph paper may be specifically set up for tiling - in which case the individual letter-size sheets will have alignment marks in place to help you tape the graph paper sheets together.
Printable Graph Paper
The big advantage in downloading printable graph paper is that you can print only the copies you need for a given project. That saves you money and saves wasted paper. All this is possible due to the convenient PDF format developed by Adobe. New versions of Adobe Reader, combined with better quality printers in the home, now make downloadable graphs, charts, and templates extremely accurate.
Although my printable graph paper is primarily designed for woodworking projects, there are plenty of other uses that these templates can be used for - like designing the placement of furniture in a room, laying out a garden, or plotting out a new deck or patio. The 1/10 scale graph paper in my EZ Project Planner makes designing any type of project - small or large - quick and easy.
Best part about my Project Planners is that there is no complicated software to learn. You simply download the printable graphs and charts and layout your projects by hand. If you want additional sheets, just print another copy of the page you need. No fuss, no waste.
Project Planner Templates
Magic Drawing Cubes
EZ Project Planner