In the last post, I discussed how the addition of 2 key tools can make a huge difference in the results you see when making rubbings with Paintstiks. Today, I have two more tips for making rubbings.
A little history…
When I began working with paintstiks, I always used the end of the paintstik for making rubbings. That’s what I read about, and it’s just like using a crayon. It never occurred to me to do anything else. It wasn’t until Nancy Kazlauckas and I were doing the photo shoot for the Leaves pattern that I even thought about what I was doing.
I asked Nancy to model for some photos (not too bad a job when it’s only your hands) and she said, “I don’t make rubbings that way.” I just looked at her in surprise and asked her how she worked, thinking to myself “ok, I’ve been making rubbings for years — just what have I missed?” Nancy just looked at me, smiled, and said “I use the side of the paintstik, not the end.” As you can see from this photo, Nancy gets great rubbings using this method.
I felt like I was in one of those V8 commercials where someone smacked me upside the head. Not to mention that I felt a little silly that I had not thought of this myself! I grabbed a piece of scrap fabric, tried out Nancy’s technique and was simply amazed at the results. I think you will be too!
The “standard” instructions for making rubbings
I’ve been teaching people to use paintsiks for about 7 years. Doing what I had always done, I used a “standard” set of instructions.
- remove the film from the end of the paintstik
- place a textured object under your fabric
- hold the fabric down securely with one hand (or tape it down)
- apply paintstick color directly to the fabric, working in one direction, away from the hand holding the fabric (don’t try to rub back and forth)
- continue adding color until you are happy with the results
Nancy’s method for making rubbings
To use Nancy’s method, we need to make a change to the beginning of the process:
- remove the paintstik from the cardboard tube
- using a small paring knife, peel the film from the side of the paintstik rather than the end
In the photo, I removed the film from the end of the Blue paintstik. To prepare the red paintstik, I removed it from the cardboard tube and used a knife to peel the film from the side of the stick. (I generally peel the film about 1/3 to 1/2 of the stick, not all the way around.) Nancy likes to use the entire length of the paintstik when she works, but I find it easier to work with something a little smaller. If I am working with minis, I peel the film off the full length of the stick. If I have full size paintstiks, I cut the stick in half. I use one half for the rubbings and leave the other half intact for another project. Unless, of course, I need more paint…
Why use the side of the paintstik?
So, why do I think this is the best thing since sliced bread? It’s pretty clear once you give it a try, but I’ll do my best to explain. When you make rubbings with the end of the paintstik, you are working with a very small surface area. If your textured surface or rubbing plate has large open areas between the design elements, it’s easy for the paintstik to drop down into the “holes” in the design and for the rubbing to get rather messy. If you use the side of the paintstik, you are working with a large, flat surface area. Your paint will stay out of the holes, and it’s much, much easier to get a nice, clean image (especially if you do this in conjunction with the things mentioned in the previous post!)
The right technique for the right job
Should you always use the side of your paintstik to make rubbings? Not necessarily. It’s a matter of using the right technique for the right job. If you are making rubbings from small, detailed textures, the end of the paintstik will be a much better tool. For example, this photo shows the first step in using Laura Murray’s StarBuilder shapes to make star parts. (Click over to Laura Murray Designs to find out more about StarBuilder.)
But, if you are adding lots of rubbings to your fabric using our rubbing plates or large textured surfaces, using the side of your paintstik is much faster and gives beautiful, clean images. You’ll be making gorgeous yardage in no time at all!
The bottom line on better rubbings
The best 3 tips I can give you for making better rubbings (from this post and the last one) are
1. Use a Grip-n-Grip mat to keep your rubbing plates from sliding around as you work
2. Spray the top of the rubbing plate with 404 spray to keep your fabric from sliding around on the rubbing plate
3. Use the side of the paintstik rather than the end to get crisp, clear images
Have fun with those rubbings!