Monday, October 12, 2015

Eureka! Turn Your iPad into a Lightbox!


We've talked before about how to trace designs onto fabric, but we've never suggested using your iPad! Recently, I did a project with a very small amount of embroidery - not nearly enough to be worth setting up my lightbox or waiting for daylight to lean awkwardly against a window. So I opened my file on my iPad and traced it right over that, with the brightness turned all the way up! Eureka!

It wasn't a perfect solution, but it worked for that tiny project. But that got me thinking: if only there were a lightbox app that would handle the details for you ...

Lo and behold, I discovered Ad Scamp - a free iPad app that turns your tablet into a lightbox! It seems it was originally designed for the advertising industry, but of course it's perfect for us stitchers. It allows you to open a photo from your Photostream, resize or rotate it, lock it in place so that it won't scroll or adjust as you're tracing - and the best part is this:


It creates an outline-only version of your image with the touch of a button. EUREKA! I'm sure you can imagine how handy that is for prepping embroidery designs from photos. As you can see (pardon the darkness of these photos, but that's sort of vital to the whole lightbox usage), I'm using AdScamp to prep my Villains Stitchalong project.


Of course this method has its limitations - you can't easily work larger than your iPad size (mine is a mini) and you'll want to be fairly gentle drawing right over your iPad (make sure you have a screen protector on your screen!), but it certainly is a convenient solution for small / simple projects. Find out more about the AdScamp app or download it for free at the Apple App Store.

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!


  1. Thank you! thank you for this post. I have android and found an app by the same company for my phone. This is a fantastic use for motifs for my crazy quilt motifs.

  2. Oh this is a clever idea! I would be worried about damaging my ipad as you mentioned though, will just have to be gentle!

  3. This is so clever! I've done the same thing with my computer screen, but the tablet is much smarter. Working with gravity seems a little easier than working against it. :)

  4. What a great idea! I need to look and see if there's something similar for Android. I have a Crayola LED tracing pad (meant for kids but makes a great and fairly inexpensive light box -- it's sized for 8.5"x11" paper) that I use a lot, but it'd be nice to have an option to do a quick transfer without printing.


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