I used to love the "acetone transfer" method. It is so efficient - you simply take a recent photocopy, lay it down on your clay, and rub a cotton ball soaked in acetone over it. (A cheap container from WalMart's hardware/paint department lasts years) This releases toner and viola! your design is right there permanently on the clay, all reversed for making a mold, easy to cut away all the black. Very simple to make a copy the size you want and with all the detail. Well, every year or two they get new copy machines, fancier and fancier, and now you never know if the copies will work for this process. You can try - one way is to go someplace with old machines (like our public library) or try a laser printer (not inkjet - you need toner). This process works best with fresh copies - within a couple of days is best. It does not work outside in very cold weather (outside is usually good because acetone has fumes).
I had no luck the last time I tried, but this week, fresh copies from the local copy center worked just fine. This method is really great for large and detailed designs. Not only do you clearly know what to cut away, it automatically reverses your design to avoid confusion.
(preparing clay) and have it on waxed paper on top of cardboard or another other hard surface.Its safest to tape the waxed paper to the cardboard so nothing slides off as you go in and out. Have a fairly fresh photocopy of your design ready with excess paper trimmed out of the way, bend one corner up (to grasp the paper since it tends to stick). Lay it carefully where you want the design and rub lightly for it to adhere slightly. Go outside if you can to keep the fumes outdoors.
lay it face-down on your clay, rub gently and leave a few minutes. It helps to have a corner turned up to grasp if the paper is smaller than your clay sheet.
Whichever method you use, it's helpful to include a border. Even if you don't want any border-type edge in the mold, you need a guide for making your deckle when you cast it. You will be able to see the line after baking the clay and use it as a guide, even if its just a guide to draw a new line further out or in. You may not know for sure what edge looks best until you actually make a test casting.
Remember, if you want live help, workshops are available see teaching information on my website