DIY Rubbing Plates for Fabric Painting

Fabric painting can take many forms, from applying fabric paint with a brush to stamping on fabric. In the February/March 2015 issue of Quilting Arts MagazineAna Buzzalino shows how to paint on fabric using Shiva® Paintstiks and handmade rubbing plates.

buzzalino quilt with fabric paint
Ana Buzzalino made the circle motifs on this
art quilt by using Paintstiks to paint on fabric.

This method of adding texture and design to fabric is similar to fabric stamping, except that instead of applying paint to the stamp, you place the textured plate under the fabric and pick up the design by coloring on top. 

Making your own rubbing places is easy and inexpensive: You attach shapes (or letters) of uniform depth onto a stiff surface. Ana uses self-adhesive foam shapes and letters, 1/8" thick or more, from the craft store.

She then sticks the shapes onto a piece of foam core. You can also purchase sticky-back craft foam sheets and cut out your own designs, or attach found objects (such as metal washers) to the foam core with double-sided carpet tape.

To make your own rubbing plates you will need (in addition to what's listed above):

  • Craft knife
  • Rotary cutting supplies
  • Pencil
  • Double-sided carpet tape (I used 1-1/2" wide tape.)
  • Talcum powder or cornstarch

1. Cut desired shapes from the craft foam or use precut foam shapes or letters. Arrange as desired.

2. Using a craft knife and a ruler, cut the foam core board approximately 1/2" larger than the arrangement of letters/shapes.

3. Draw a pencil line along the bottom edge for easy alignment of the letters/shapes.

4. If you are using self-adhesive shapes, peel the paper off the back and apply them to the foam core.

supplies for painting on fabric with paintstiks
Ana made these rubbing plates with washers glued
to foam core (left) and self-adhesive foam circles
on foam core (right). On the fabric in the center,
you can see how she blended Paintstik colors for
different effects.

5. If your shapes do not have a sticky back, cut a piece of double-sided indoor carpet tape the length of the foam core. Place the sticky side on the foam with the paper side facing up. Trim any extra off of the ends.

Remove the paper and arrange the letters or shapes on the tape. Sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch over the shapes and tape. Shake off any powder not sticking to the tape.

Now you have a unique rubbing plate, plus you can use it as a stamp (mirror image).

Fabric painting is a fast and easy way to create a personal quilt design. And a digital subscription is a fast and easy way to access all the techniques, interviews, quilt galleries, and more from Quilting Arts–anywhere, on all your devices!

viv sig 

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