Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Pounce Transfer Kit, Part 2


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Yesterday, we looked at making your own pounce for embroidery design transfers. Today, we’ll look at the pouncer itself.

There are many, many ways you can go about making your own pouncer for your pounce powder. You can use just a simple piece of rolled up felt, for example. It’ll work fine, and if you have scraps of felt lying about, it’ll cost you nothing.

But since I’ve got three colors of pounce powder, I like to have three different pouncers, one for each color. This is how I made mine.

Pounce Pad for Embroidery Design Transfer

I started with these round wooden knobs or balls, which are available at any craft store, about 8 to a package, for less than $3.

Pounce Pad for Embroidery Design Transfer

What you’re looking for is something with a flat area about an inch in diameter. Incidentally, you could just buy an inch-wide dowel, and cut it into two-inch long pieces. You’d get about 18 pieces from one 36″ dowel. This assumes you have a way of cutting the dowel – or you could just ask the friendly folks at your neighborhood lumberyard to cut it into pieces for you. Sometimes, they will. Sometimes, they won’t. Sometimes, they’ll charge you for cutting it. Sometimes, they won’t. If you’re making up pounce kits for a guild group, the dowel would be a good way to go to get multiple inexpensive tool forms.

Pounce Pad for Embroidery Design Transfer

Then, at your local hardware store – or better yet, at a dollar store! – pick up a package of 8 furniture protectors that are made out of a rough kind of (probably synthetic) carpet-type felt. These are adhesive, and they are about an inch in diameter. Incidentally, these things never stay put on furniture for very long, but since our pounce tool isn’t going to get the same wear and tear as a chair (sorry for the really bad rhyming sequence there), these work just great for our needs.

Pounce Pad for Embroidery Design Transfer

It’s just a matter of peal-and-stick here. Peal off the paper backing from one round furniture protector, and stick it to the flat surface of the wooden knob, or to the end of the dowel segment, if you’re using a dowel segment.

Pounce Pad for Embroidery Design Transfer

You now have a pounce tool.

Pounce Pad for Embroidery Design Transfer

Smother the felt pad in pounce, and proceed to rub it over your pricked patterns. It works great.

Pounce Pad for Embroidery Design Transfer

I keep my little tub of pounce and pouncer in a little sealable plastic box that’s about 4″ square, so any residual pounce mess is kept within the little storage box. Better not to have the pouncer just floating about loose on a shelf. I have three of these boxes, one for each color of pounce and its corresponding tool.

So that’s how I make up my little pounce kits. All told, between the talc and the charcoal powder, I have enough pounce to last me a life time of transfers. Charcoal, talc, containers, and pouncers combined cost me less than $20. I could easily split the quantity with another person – 4 pouncers, plenty of each color pounce powder – for about $10 each. Not bad! If your guild or embroidery group is planning to work on a group project that will require pricking and pouncing the embroidery design, pooling resources and working up individual pounce kits like this would be the way to go.

Other articles relating to the prick and pounce embroidery design transfer method can be found here:

Mixing Your Own Pounce, in three colors
Powdered Charcoal for Pounce (and resources)
Talc for Pouncing Dark Fabrics
How to Transfer an Embroidery Design with Prick and Pounce

If you have any questions or added suggestions or ideas, feel free to leave a comment below!

Enjoy your weekend – I hope you get in some stitching time! (I definitely intend to!)


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(17) Comments

  1. Don’t laugh too hard when I tell you this, Mary. I thought the object in the first photo for your pouncer kit was an onion! I know, I know; you think I’m crazy. I was thinking to myself that you had gone crazy if you thought we would actually use an onion for a pouncer! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Not to mention teary-eyed! Thanks for the great series of posts. It’s always nice to find out how to do something for less money. That leaves more to spend on linen fabric and silk threads!

  3. The information you provided regarding pounce transfer kit is great. It reminded me the blue cubes that my mother used (probably your too) for whitening white shirts or bedsheets, etc. I think that she used these cubes also when transfering her embroidery patterns, when I was a young girl. The question is, are these blue cubes still being used somewhere or have they completely disappeared ? I saw this blue stuff in powder form at the grocery store last week. Have you ever heard of this method ? I read your newsletter every day with great interest. I think you are a good teacher…
    Have a nice day.

  4. Coz I like everything to be “pretty”, when I was reading this, I had the idea of picking up a few vintage/antique doorknobs that had the right shape/sized base from Ebay/Etsy/wherever. Could be a fun idea. (Any excuse to go on Etsy!)

  5. Hi Mary,
    When I saw pounce felt in Tanja’s store I knew I could replace it with furniture knobs from a hardware stores like Castorama or Obi.
    It’s a very good idea to use furniture protectors. On Youtube I found some films about prick and pounce like this Chanel’s.
    Your advices are very useful. Long time ago, I was disappointed with using charcoal powder, but I have to try again with lighter pressure.


    I don’t know where are you from, but I know what it is.

    In Poland it’s called “ultramaryna” (ultramarine) and is available in old fashioned chemistry and chemistry net shops.

  6. I am thinking maybe a small pounce tool could
    could be made from an old fashioned round ended cloths pin and it would have a nice little handle that way to hang on to?
    I Have never pounced anything before but was just thinking this might work.
    Thank You Sylvia for seding in the Chanel you tube video I enjoyed watching it very much.

    And as always Mary I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your emails.

    Robin from Nebraska

  7. Thanks again for a very helpful series of posts! I’m a crazy quilter and have never done a “real” embroidery project, but this makes such a thing seem much less intimidating (and expensive!)

  8. what do you pounce-why would you pounce–do you then embroider the whole circle? I guess maybe I need a bit of 101.0 on pouncing…Thank you-C

  9. ok-I followed the prick and pounce and all my questions were answered…Thanks-and this would be a great way of doing a dark color that a light box can not get through. Thank you for your help and expertise!

  10. Hi, first of all, thanks for this great tip!
    My question is, can you brush or wash away the charcoal from the fabric easy?


    1. Fairly easily. I usually “pound” it off by flicking the back of the embroidery while it’s in the frame. If I need to, I’ll use a brush, but it’s important not to grab it over the fabric. Just flick the stuff off with it. And at the end, if you plan to launder the fabric, it will definitely wash out easily.

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