Tole & Decorative
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!
- Transfer paper
or carbon paper
- 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
- 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
- Prepare your
project surface with sealer or basecoat if needed. Wash fabrics
- 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
- Paint your
design (see helpful tips below), and allow to dry thoroughly.
- Apply varnish,
following manufacturer's instructions.
brushes are excellent for basecoating, floating and sideloading color.
brushes are excellent for strokework and detail painting.
brushes are used for detail painting, such as vines, cross-hatching and
other linework techniques.
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.
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.
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
- Mop brushes
are used to blend and soften color, or to apply color or varnish.
Bristle brushes hold more water and pigment, which means you will
get a longer stroke.
brushes produce a softer stippling effect, and can be used to blend
- 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 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.
- 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
- 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
- Save the shiny
"backs" from address labels or stickers, and use them for paper
- 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
- 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.