Pounce Patterns

What is Pouncing?

Pouncing is a technique involving the use of a pouncing wheel to transfer an image from a thin surface onto a much larger surface. Layering a sketched outline over the designated surface, the user traces the designed outline using a pounce wheel. Once the entire outline has been transferred, charcoal powder is applied to the pricked holes so that the remains of the outline are visible on the yacht’s surface. Then the outline is carefully painted so that it perfectly matches the outline provided in the previous steps. Once the paint dries, the finish is applied to complete the process. 

pounce patterns used for a gold leaf boat name

Pounce patterns are critical for hand lettering, gilding, and mural painting. Here we see a paper pounce pattern taped to the transom of a classic wooden yacht. The pattern is applied to the transom with charcoal powder and then the rest of the painting and gilding is done by hand, following the charcoal lines on the transom of the yacht.

What is a pounce pattern used for?

Pouncing is an art technique used for transferring an image from one surface to another. It is similar to tracing, and is useful for creating copies of a sketch outline to produce finished works. A pounce wheel, also known as a tracing wheel.

Pouncing has been a common technique for centuries, used to create copies of portraits and other works that would be finished as oil paintings, engravings, and so on.

How do you make a pounce pattern?

The most common method involves laying semi-transparent paper over the original image, then tracing along the lines of the image by creating pricked marks on the top sheet of paper. This pounced drawing made of pricked holes is laid over a new working surface. A powder such as chalk, graphite or pastel is forced through the holes to leave an outline on the working surface below, thus transferring the image. The powder is applied by being placed into a small bag of thin fabric such as cheesecloth, then dabbed onto the pricked holes of the pounced drawing.

How to use a pounce pattern: an example

Look closely at this photo. Brendon paints a letter by hand. He follows the charcoal lines on the wall which are applied with the pounce pattern.

The charcoal pounce pattern lines are still visible on the wall

Brush lettering at Colony Club in Washington, DC.


Pounce pattern can be easily used on any sort of materials, wood surfaces, paper and metal. The advantage of pounce pattern painting is that  there is no size limit!

We also use similar paper pattens to install dimensional letters on interior and exterior walls.

Here’s some more information about our paper patterns and installation techniques:  Paper Pattern


You might also be interested in…
Gold Leaf

Gold Leaf

What is Gold Leaf? Gold leaf is gold that has been hammered into extremely thin sheets and is often used for gilding. In the sign making industry...

Paper Pattern

Paper Pattern

A pen drawing on paper which is created with an xy plotter. We use these paper patterns to accurately install letters by hand. We use these when we...

Get in touch to stand out!

We have a lifetime of sign make experience, we offer a wide range of high quality manufactured signs and services.
Contact us today for a quote and get ready to stand out!
We look forward to working for you!

Contact Form Designsandsigns