How to Powder Stencil a Wooden Frame

Learn how to stencil with bronze powder to create an antique-inspired decorative frame.


Get started with these tips:

Size a piece of black paper and practice stenciling before working on the frame.

Avoid mixing powders together on your palette. This project uses a multi-piece stencil. Remember to try and get a unit-behind-unit look.

Materials and Tools:

600 Wet or Dry Trimite sandpaper
small piece of brown paper bag
flat black latex or oil paint
wooden frame
pre-cut stencils
ROLCO Aquasize water-based gold size
bronze powder palette (Richgold, Roman gold, silver or aluminum)
2" foam brush
soft stencil brushes
Pink Pearl eraser
small piece of velvet or chamois
tack cloth
Venetian red (brown red) acrylic paint
sponge or paintbrush
satin varnish or shellac


1. Paint wooden frame with several coats of flat black paint, sanding using 600 Wet or Dry Trimite in between coats. If the last coat has little dust bumps, rub with a brown paper bag to remove.

2. Rub the surface with a wet sponge or brush and Venetian red acrylic paint. This simulates the rosewood look under the stenciling.

3. Wipe surface with tack cloth.

4. Stir water-based size but avoid creating bubbles.

5. Mark the center of the side of your frame for pattern placement. Size the surface with polybrush and Aquasize. Give it a thorough, evenly distributed coating with one pass of the brush. It is water-based and starts to dry immediately. Do not recoat. It is ready to stencil into when it has turned clear - generally in about 5 to 7 minutes. Note: The size will receive powders until the surface is sealed with a finish coat of varnish or shellac.

6. Position the stencil on the frame. Using The Stenciler brush, pick up some powder and tap the excess on paper. Begin stenciling, working from the stencil edge into the opening, shading with the brush in a circular motion. Tip: You can add more powder, but if you have applied too much you can't take it off. Continue stenciling until satisfied with the design.

7. Before removing your stencil, wrap the small piece of velvet or chamois tightly around your finger and pick up any loose powder on the stencil surface. This will reduce the floating powders when you remove the stencil.

8. Reposition the stencil and continue to apply powder.

9. Lightly erase any loose powders 24 hours after stenciling. Then, apply the satin varnish or shellac. Let dry.

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