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How to use rubbings in your art

by aisling d'art ©2004 - 2006

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There are many ways to use rubbings. You're only limited by your ingenuity!

They can illustrate your journal--do rubbing of everything as you travel. Try rubbing:

Many food packages have an embossed quality, especially tins.

With very thin paper and soft pastels, you can do a rubbing of the texture that remains in the sand after the tide goes out. Using different colors, you can overlap the wavy lines by moving the paper.

(The paper will be fragile when it's wet, so handle very carefully. If the sand is moist, you can put plastic wrap or a cheap plastic poncho between the sand and your paper.)

You can use them for text. Get a Dymo (raised letters imprinted on tape) label tool (less than $10 at Wal-Mart, in the stationery section) and print words on the tape. Use them for rubbings. (Save them--mounted on dominoes or other small, flat surfaces--to use again later, or to share in a class.)

If a rubbing would be backwards--for example, if you do a rubbing of a rubber stamp--you can rub with a very dark color on tracing vellum, and then display it "upside down" (looking through the vellum) with a white or very light background as contrast for the rubbing.

Small rubbings, particularly of three-dimensional art, can be ideal for use in shrines.

You can scan your rubbings and manipulate them, adding more images with your computer graphics program. On the right in the example above, I placed Edgar Allen Poe's face over a gravestone ornament rubbing.

Or, you could put a rubbing of an historical marker in the center of a collage with photos from that site.

The ways that you can use rubbings are limited only by your ingenuity. Start rubbing, and see what great ideas you discover!

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