I must have seen a pizza commercial one too many times — I hate when that stuff sticks in my head! But, it gave me an idea for discussing a common problem, so I won’t complain. If you are wondering what in the world pizza has to do with paintstiks, just paste a smile on your face and stay with me. We all need an analogy once in a while, and today I’m going with pizza…
The most common question I hear is “how can I get a nice clean image when I’m making rubbings?” If better ingredients make better pizza, let’s see how better tools can help us make better rubbings.
One of my favorite things to do with paintstiks is to put textured surfaces under the fabric and use the paint directly on the fabric to create a rubbing. You can make rubbings from all kinds of textured surfaces you find around the house, in the garage, the bottom of your shoes, etc. I liked making rubbings so much I started designing rubbing plates just for that purpose.
Our rubbing plates are made from plastic, similar to the stuff in pop bottles. (Actually, they are made from recycled plastic, which makes them “green” even though they are black… but that’s another story.) At any rate, the plates are slippery, which means that they tend to shift around as you are work. So let’s go back to the pizza example and talk about the layers involved.
Basic ingredients – (think of your basic cheese pizza)
- Paintstik color
- Rubbing Plate
The 3 essential ingredients are a textured surface (rubbing plate), covered by your fabric, and then paintstik color applied to the top. In theory this is all you need, but slippery surfaces get to be a real challenge. Rubbing plates tend to move around on your work surface unless you tape them down, and fabric will often shift as you make rubbings unless it is taped down or otherwise secured. What to do? Just as spices can make all the difference in the pizza, we’ll add a few more ingredients!
Enhanced ingredients – (can you say supreme?)
- Paintstik color
- Fabric of your choice
- 404 Spray from JT Trading
- Rubbing Plates
- Grip-n-Grip no slip mat from Bear Threads Design
Let’s talk about the layers from the bottom up. The Grip-n-Grip mat is a life-saver for paintstik projects. Whatever you put on the mat stays put. Period. Put your rubbing plates on the mat, they stay put. Put your fabric on the mat, it stays put. The mat in the photo above is the original dark orange color. The mats are black now, but still the same wonderful product.
The next layer is the rubbing plate. It won’t move around once it’s on the mat, but that doesn’t solve everything — the fabric can slip around on the top of the rubbing plate. That leads us to the next ingredient, the 404 spray.
404 is a re-positionable adhesive spray. (KK2000 from Sulky is a similar product.) I call it “post-it notes in a can” because that’s exactly how it works. When you are getting ready to make rubbings, spray the rubbing plate with 404 and set it aside to dry. I prefer to set the plates on a drop cloth and spray them so I don’t get any overspray on my hands. It only takes a minute for the spray to dry.
To review, the Grip-n-Grip is the bottom layer, then the plate that has been sprayed with 404. Next we place the fabric over the plate — and this is the exciting part — the fabric sticks to the plate just enough to keep it from moving around while you work! No more slippin’ around! And better yet, the 404 spray won’t transfer to your fabric. Perfect!
The topping, of course, is the paintstik color. And just like pizza, the more the better! Now that you have a way to keep the fabric from sliding on the plate, you’ll find it much easier to use more than one color to add more zip to your rubbings.
Next up — two more tips for better rubbings!