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Rubbing Plate Roundup - a book review and fabric examples

A number of years ago - more years than I'd care to admit - I wrote a short series on Things to do with texture plates, part one and part two

Boy, there were a lot of things I did wrong, and there were even more possibilities that I missed.  But now, thanks to Shelly Stokes, you don't have to flounder around like I did.  Shelly, also the author of Paintstiks on Fabric and Design Magic, has now published Rubbing Plate Roundup, a brilliant book that will take you far beyond the obvious uses of these wonderful tools.  I've already picked out five of the twelve techniques that are MUST tries, including the sample fabric pieces that I'll show you below that used my water soluable oil pastels.

Shelly starts with her beloved paintstiks, and then moves on through crayon transfers, water media, adding foil, screen printing, masks, gelatin prints, discharged prints, embossed metal, paper castings, clay texturing, and acrylic sculptures.  Once the fabric pieces that I rubbed up were dry and heat set, I added another couple layers of foil.       

Rubbing plates
Masking tape
Non-slip mat
Water soluable oil pastels
Spray bottle with water
Polymer medium
Foam brush
Iron and parchment paper

Shelly recommends using repositionable adhesive spray, but since I didn't have any handy and was raring to get going, I used masking tape.  The spray adhesive would be much nicer!  The rubbing plates that I used have much smaller designs than the ones that Shelly uses in the book and that are linked above, so my patterns are a bit harder to make out and more muddled.  Plus, I kept adding new layers as I got the hang of the rubbing motion...believe it or not, there is a bit of a trick to it, not that it's difficult.

I used the water soluable oil pastels, as I said before, rubbing them onto dry fabric.  I used the non-slip mat and masking tape to keep the rubbing plate and the fabric from moving around as I rubbed.  Once I had added all the layers, I used a spray bottle to lightly mist the surface.  Beautiful!  It made the colors run together and become more vibrant.

Here are two examples of before and after spraying lightly with water:

Before spraying with water

After spraying

Before spraying with water

After spraying

The next step was to add foil, which involved using the rubbing plates to add the polymer medium.  Let it dry thoroughly, and then apply foil in whatever manner the particular manufacturer recommends.  Mine is an iron-on type:

With two colors of foil added

Now I can't wait to try some paper casting and discharging!  I have a quilt project in mind that I think these fabrics (I made a LOT more) will be perfect for.  As you can see, I was going for an all-over pattern rather than the larger motifs that Shelly gets with her plates.  It's really up to you what look you want, and of course don't forget that your house is also probably just full of all kinds of wonderfully textured things!

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Copyright 2012 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


Robbie said…
The foiling just finished the piece perfectly, didn't it!!! I never knew about the spraying with water! Hmmmm Have to give it a go next time...hope I remember! Stickie notes where are you!
mae | broc said…
This book sounds nice. I want to learn how to do screen printing so I'll give this book a try. By the way, does this book include detailed tutorials?
Cyndi L said…
Yes it does! There are twelve very in-depth tutorials with lots of variations shown.
Cyndi, are the colors heat set or anything so that you can wash the fabric? What are foils? The effect looks sort of like leafing.
Cyndi L said…
Eileen, yes I did heat set the pastels, but I still wouldn't wash them in any way but by hand. As for foils, they can be washed gently by hand, but that's about it, so neither or these products is really good for wearables applications that will be worn hard. My fabric is in the process of going into a quilt though...

Foils are similar to leafing. The foil is attached to a plastic layer that lifts off, leaving the foil behind, stuck to your glue. Easy and lots of great colors.
Lynda said…
Thanks for the review. I have rubbing plates I've purchased and also made and just haven't done much with them. Looks like a great book to add to my bookshelf. Thanks again.