Pounce Patterns

Pounce Patterns

By L.S. Irish

A pounce pattern is the best technique for multiple tracing on the same design. To create this style of transfer you will need a pounce wheel or a sewing tracing wheel. Both tools have a toothed wheel that perforated the paper with evenly space fine holes.

To prepare the pounce pattern lay the design, face up on several layers of newspaper. The newspaper gives a soft flexible surface for the wheel to move across as you work. With firm pressure roll the pounce wheel over the design lines. Twist and roll the handle of the tool as you encounter curves in the design, this will keep the teeth of the wheel pointed toward the pattern as it is moved.

Once all lines have been perforated flip the design over to the back. With fine sanding paper lightly sand the design paper back to open the holes that you have just created. This is an important step in the preparation of the pounce pattern as the holes are small and can easily become clogged with the carbon dust.

As with any tracing pattern position and secure the design with tape to the board. Now you will need a pounce stick and colored dust. The pounce stick is simply a wad of cotton, covered with cloth that has been mounted to a stick handle. The cloth carries the colored dust and the cotton gives the pounce stick the bounce that is needed to leave a layer of dust over the paper. The pounce stick is first ‘pounced’ into pile of colored dust, tapped gently to remove the excess, then ‘pounced’ over the tracing lines. The ‘pouncing’ action pushes the dust into the perforations in the design lines.

Colored dust can be created in several ways. First is to sand the lead from a soft pencil using either sand paper or a nail file into a small container that has a lid. Artist pastels can also be sanded into a powder form as can colored chalk as is used in schools. Charcoal sticks that can be purchased from your local art store sand into fine pouncing dust but must be used with care since it is hard to remove any excess color.

Which media you use for the pounce dust depends upon the wood that you will be using for your project. If I am working on a light colored wood as basswood I would chose to use the pencil lead for the dust, this is create a dark enough tracing line from which to work and that will not stain the wood surface. If I am working on a dark wood surface as walnut I would use a light colored pastel or white school chalk. This will create a tracing line that has some contrast to the darkness of the wood surface. It is always best to make a test pounce with the dust that you will be using to insure that it will adhere to the wood surface without leaving a residue that is hard to remove.

Once the pattern has been ‘pounced’ with the colored dust gently remove the pattern paper. At this point it will be covered with the excess dust from the pouncing technique. Tap the excess dust that remains on the pattern back into the original dust container. Pounce dust can be used over and over again. So can the pounce pattern!

Although this is the longest process in preparing a design for transfer, once the pounce pattern is made it can be reused many times, quickly making new copies of the pattern.

You can also obtain a Pattern Wheel and colored carbon paper at your local fabric store or sewing center. You can place the sewing carbon paper under your paper pattern then roll the pattern wheel along the tracing lines. The teeth of the pattern wheel transfers fine, small dots of carbon to your board. This is a quick and easy way to create the pattern tracing to extra large surfaces. Fabric pattern wheels are not sharply pointed as pounce wheels. If you wish to create a punch and dust perforated pattern you do need to apply extra pressure to create the small holes in the paper pattern.


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  1. Pingback: Wood Carving Free Projects, Lora Irish Books | LSIrish.com

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