Saturday, March 9, 2019

Jumbo-Sized Rubber Stamps -- Made by Mary Ann Russo

My friend Mary Ann Russo made a series of rubbing plates using my 9"X 12" stencils Vases and Twinship.  Rubbing plates are used for a paper-arts and fabric-arts technique that calls for placing a thin substrate over a 3-dimensional solid surface, then rubbing the top of the substrate with a soft medium (think crayon or soft graphite pencil or charcoal.)

However, rubbing plates are also rubber stamps -- jumbo in size!

Mary Ann's method called for cutting matboard (extra-sturdy cardboard) into rectangles slightly larger than the stencils and coating them  with water-thinned gel medium on both sides as well as 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 matboards 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 3-D patterns easier to see.  When doing this yourself, there is no need to add paint.)

The photo above shows my 9"X 12" stencil  Twinship as Mary Ann places it onto the rectangle of pre-coated matboard.  Her next step will be to secure the stencil to the matboard with masking tape.

Above, Mary Ann is placing the mix of molding paste and acrylic paint onto the stencil, which rests on the matboard.  By clicking on this photo to enlarge it, you can see that she had secured the stencil to the matboard with blue masking tape.  The 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.  To get a more evenly spread surface -- needed when creating a rubber stamp -- Mary Ann would instead use a spreading tool like the one shown above in the lower right corner of the photo above.

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

-- and places the stencil to soak in a water-filled basin.  The stencil will be thoroughly cleaned to remove all the residue yellow mixture.

In the series of photos below, I'm showing another rubbing/printing plate made by Mary Ann.  This time, she used my 9"X 12" stencil Vases.

The difference between this plate and the one made with my Twinship stencil 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.  This is an important addition if your goal is to create rubber stamps.

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 and some hardware stores.

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. 

The plate can be used in two other ways -- (1) with a Shiva stick and fabric, to make rubbings; (2) with acrylic paints, to make prints. 
When used with acrylics to make prints, it's actually a rubber stamp -- jumbo-sized! 

The following photos focus on the the last use, making prints with acrylic paints:
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.

Above:  my first print.

After coating the plate with this paint, I pressed papers (one at a time) 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 below.  This can be thought of as reverse rubber stamping because the jumbo-sized "rubber stamp" lies flat on the work surface while the paper (or fabric) is pressed down onto the surface.

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

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