They don't have a true opening so a pencil will not work to transfer them. The way they work is by the chalk powder in the pounce pad being forced through the screen mesh as it's swiped across the surface of the stencil. The design is transferred on to the quilt top so quickly, no more fatigue in your hands from gripping the pencil, fabric does not get stretched and pulled like it does with a sharp pencil point. The area that we don't want the chalk to go through is closed off - they're not broken with the bridges used. You get to follow the complete line as you sew. There is no right or wrong side, most designs have registration marks to help align repeats. And rather than tracing all those lines you just swipe the chalk filled refillable Pounce Pad over the mesh and are ready to sew in no time.