How to stencil a tray
by Carolyn Wilkinson
Until Mrs Roberta Ray Blanchard of Winchester, Massachusetts, showed us how to stencil a tray, we had no idea that such effective decoration could be accomplished so easily.
Mrs Blanchard, author of How to Paint Trays (Charles T Branford Co, Boston), designed for Woman’s Day the stencil for the tray pictured [above]. In the photographs below, and on page 96, we show you how to decorate a tray like this one; a pattern and additional directions are in the How To Section (below).
We stenciled an inexpensive tin tray, thirteen by seventeen inches; but any similar metal tray would do. As only minute quantities of the bronze powders and paints are needed, the smallest amount sold of each is enough for several stencil decorations. The stencil can be used for decorating boxes, canisters, other objects.
1. After rubbing tray lightly with fine steel wool, dust it, and apply a coat of flat black paint. Wait 24 hours; then apply a second coat.
2. While tray dries, make stencils. Place tracing linen or oiled paper over pattern; mark around each segment. Work out from center, to prevent smudging.
3. Start cutting by piercing center of segment with fine-pointed scissors; then cut along penciled outline. For accurate results, use the tips of the scissors.
4. Flexible, double-edged razor blade is fine for making straight cuts, thin lines. to protect fingers, cover one edge of blade with adhesive tape.
5. Make small holes with punch. Teardrop cutouts can be made by punching hole, then shaping with scissors. Finish the stencil cutting before proceeding.
6. Thinly coat well-dusted tray with varnish. Test in half an hour. When nearly dry but sticky enough to hold the finger tip slightly, stenciling can begin.
7. Center stencil on tray. Dip velvet-covered finger lightly in bronze powder; rub over cut-out spaces, from edges to center where possible.
8.Lift stencil with care. Stray powder flecks can be removed with wet cotton. After stenciling is dry, touch up any smudges with black paint.
9. Start border right after finishing center stencil, while varnish is still tacky enough to receive powder. Work from middle toward corners.
10. Let the tray dry for 48 hours; then wash carefully under cold-water tap, rubbing off loose grains of powder with a small piece of wet cotton.
11. Tint design with transparent oil colors, using photograph on page 57 for guide. As colors won’t show over black, wash paint over entire flowers.
12. Paint stripe. Dip quill brush to ferrule in paint; then stroke on paper before applying to tray. Use little finger for steadiness, as shown.
13. When everything is dry (the longer you wait, the clearer the outlines will be), apply a coat of varnish. Wait 24 hours, apply second coat.
14. For a smooth, even finish, rub the tray gently with cotton pad dipped in water, then in rottenstone. Wipe carefully; polish with paste wax.