Patterns & Projects for Beading & Crafts






















































Tole & Decorative Painting

Tole and Decorative Painting is the painting of patterns straight onto materials like wood or metal.  First you transfer the pattern onto the surface you want to paint, and then paint over the pattern.  Simplicity is the secret of tole and decorative painting!


  • Craft Pattern
  • Transfer paper or carbon paper
  • Pencil
  • Project surface to paint (wood, metal, paper, ceramic, glass, fabric, candle, etc.)
  • Paints - Acrylic, oil or specialty paints
  • Paint brushes (see types below)
  • Sealer or basecoat
  • Varnish
  • Palette
  • Water
  • Water basin
  • Paper towels


  • You can enlarge or reduce your craft pattern on a copy machine to get just the size you need for your project surface.
  • Prepare your project surface with sealer or basecoat if needed.  Wash fabrics before painting.
  • To transfer your craft pattern to project surface (wood, metal, paper, fabric, candle or ceramic) use transfer paper and pencil.  Place transfer paper with transfer side down directly on your project surface.  Next place your craft pattern on top of the transfer paper, and begin tracing over the pattern with a pencil.  Remove transfer paper to view your transfer.  If you have chosen a glass project surface, place your pattern underneath the glass (flat surface) or inside the glass container (round surface) to show through.  (To make your own transfer paper, rub the edge of a soft-lead pencil or dust-free chalk across a sheet of vellum or tracing paper).
  • Paint your design (see helpful tips below), and allow to dry thoroughly.
  • Apply varnish, following manufacturer's instructions.


  • Flat brushes are excellent for basecoating, floating and sideloading color.
  • Round brushes are excellent for strokework and detail painting.
  • Liner brushes are used for detail painting, such as vines, cross-hatching and other linework techniques.
  • Filbert brushes are a favorite for basecoating, floating and creating leaves.
  • Angle Shader  brushes are preferred for small, tight areas, floating and side-loading.
  • Dagger or Striper brushes produce beautiful lines and ribbon effects.
  • Triangle, Miracle, Wedge or Feather  brushes are primarily used for fur and textured effects, and creating leaves.
  • Rake or Comb brushes will produce the effects of hair, fur or parallel lines to be used in texture or patterns.
  • Deerfoot Stippler  brushes are primarily used to produce the effect of foliage or short fur.
  • Fan brushes are commonly used to produce foliage and fur, for blending colors and spattering paint.
  • Mop brushes are used to blend and soften color, or to apply color or varnish.
  • Extended Bristle brushes hold more water and pigment, which means you will get a longer stroke.
  • Blender brushes produce a softer stippling effect, and can be used to blend colors.


Side Loading - Side loading (also referred to as floating, floating color, highlighting or shading) is the single technique most associated with decorative painting.  Side loading is the technique of loading your brush with paint on one side, and water (or water substitute) on the opposite side.  When blended, the paint on the brush will graduate smoothly from full strength on the side the paint was loaded to water only on the opposite edge.  This technique is used to give depth to your painting by adding highlights and shading.

Double Loading - Double loading a brush is a fast and effective way to achieve dimension.  The brush is loaded with two distinct colors, one on each side of the brush.  When the colors are blended on the palette, each side of the brush maintains its distinct color with a gradual blending of the two colors in the center.

Multiloading - Unlike traditional double loading, the entire brush is fully loaded with the first color.  The second color is loaded on a single side.  The third color is loaded onto the brush by dipping the tip of the brush into the paint.  Do not blend the colors.  All three colors should be visible and distinct on the loaded brush.


  • Plastic coffee stirrers are perfect for stirring paint.
  • To create perfectly straight painted lines on a flat wood surface, score lines in the wood using a stylus and a see-through ruler.  Load a liner brush with thinned paint and follow the depressions created in the wood by the stylus.
  • Use toothpicks for applying paint to fine details, making tiny dots or applying color in hard to reach areas of your project.
  • To avoid accidentally swiping a sleeve across a freshly painted surface, place your supplies to your painting-hand side. This will eliminate the need to reach across your painting, and everything you need will be within easy reach.
  • Save the shiny "backs" from address labels or stickers, and use them for paper palettes.
  • If you have a lot of edges or corners of a project to paint, simplify the process by loading up a small sponge with your paint and swiping it down the edge.
  • When in doubt about how a certain color or stroke will look on your painting, place a piece of clear acetate over the painting, then apply the stroke or color to the acetate.
  • When bottles of acrylic paints start getting old and have been used frequently, little bits of hardened paint can get inside the bottles.  Cut out a small square of pantyhose or nylon, stretch it over the top of the bottle, and replace the cap.  It acts as a strainer and you'll get much more mileage out of the bottle.
  • To save money on palette paper, use a dry marker board, a piece of smooth counter top or a smooth glass cutting board as a palette. When finished painting, let the paint dry and scrape with a razor blade.  Old ceramic tile can be used as a painting palette as well (glazed with no texture in it).  Simply wipe/wash clean with water when its surface is fully used.
  • When setting up painting space, keep a bar of ivory soap on top of a paper towel, next to your water container. This is for washing out your brushes as you finish with them.