Thursday, September 3, 2015

Rubbing Plates, Flip-Flops & Stencils

Soon, if not already, the kids will be back in school, but the weather, for most of us anyway, will still be warm.  So, during this ultra-busy couple of weeks that I'm having, I'm re-running a special-favorite post ...

My friend Mary Ann Russo made a series of rubbing plates using my stencils, then used those plates to make prints/rubbings on fabric.   Next, Mary Ann and her granddaughter, Marissa, cut up some flip-flop synthetic sandals and, with a heat gun,  used the rubbing plates to make rubber stamps.  I used those rubber stamps in my artwork; I also borrowed those rubbing plates to make prints/rubbings of my own -- on paper.

Mary Ann's method called for cutting matboard (sturdy cardboard) into squares and rectangles slightly larger than the stencils and coating them  with water-thinned gel medium on both sides, and along all edges.  Coating with water-thinned gel medium is an optional step that Mary Ann took because she wanted the rubbing plates to be washable.

After the gel medium had dried, Mary Ann masking-taped the stencils in place on the coated cardboards and used a spreading tool to apply a mix of molding paste and acrylic paint thru the openings of the stencils.  (Acrylic paint was added to the molding paste to make the resulting 3D patterns easier to see.)

 Above is an example of one of my stencils -- 9"X12" Twinship -- being placed onto the rectangle of pre-coated matboard.

 Above, Mary Ann is placing the mix of molding paste and acrylic paint onto the stencil, which rests on the matboard.  Notice that she had secured the stencil to the matboard with strips of blue masking tape.  This tape also holds the matboard in place on her working surface.

Above, Mary Ann uses an old spoon to spread the mixture thru the openings on the stencil.

As soon as this step is finished, she lifts off the stencil --

-- and places the stencil to soak in a water-filled basin.  It will be cleaned later, when all the rubbing plates have been created.

 My preceding post launched me into the topic of rubbing/printing plates made by my friend Mary Ann Russo.  In that post, I detailed her process, using my 9"X12" stencil Twinship

Now, I'm showing another rubbing/printing plate made by Mary Ann.  This time, she used my 9"X12" stencil Vases.

The difference between this plate and the one featured in my Twinship post is that Mary Ann added one more step at the very end.  She covered the surface with two coats of a rubberizing spray to make it completely waterproof.

Household fix-it-yourself types are probably familiar with Napa Performix Plasti Dip spray.  Created to provide a non-slip, comfortable grip on tools and to provide protection against electrical shock and heat, it's available at --
Originally, this spray came in red -- the color used in this project -- and now comes in black, clear and gray-translucent.  The spray is to be used outdoors and its first coat must be allowed to dry before the second coat is added. 
The finished plate can be used to make impressions on a paint-coated Gelli Plate, for pulling prints on paper or fabric. 
It can also be used in two other ways -- with a Shiva stick and fabric to make rubbings, as well as with acrylic paints to make prints. 
Today's post will focus on the last of these three options.
Above:  The work surface has been covered with freezer paper, shiny side up.  To the right of the plate are a rubber brayer and a dollop of heavy-body acrylic paint. 

Above:  I've rolled paint out across the freezer paper, rolling back and forth until the paint reached a tacky stage.

Above:  I've rolled the paint-loaded brayer across the plate.

 After coating the plate with this paint, I pressed a sheet of pre-painted newsprint over the plate, using both hands across the whole surface, to make sure all of the paper made contact with the plate.  Then I pulled the prints shown above and (with blue paint) below.


  1. What fun, Cecilia!!
    So unique and lovely!!

  2. Great processes! Clever idea to use those flip flops. Thanks for sharing, Cecilia!