A Super-Sized Paintstik Rubbing in Sunny Mexico

RPR_Cover.inddAs we begin our tour of Rubbing Plate Roundup, I just couldn’t resist showing you a super-sized rubbing I made from a patio table in Chapala, Mexico.

It’s slightly off topic, but Paintstik Rubbings are the first chapter in the book. (Wink, wink!) You’ll just have to pretend along with me that I’m working from a super-sized rubbing plate instead of a table. Okay?




We spent the last two weeks of my Art Residency at the QQ Hotel in Chapala. Jack and I have stayed here on each of our previous trips – and I believe it is the most beautiful and restful spot in Chapala proper.

Outside of the dining room where Rob serves up a tasty breakfast, I found a couple of large wrought-iron tables. Thankfully, one did not host an umbrella in the center.

When I saw the tables, I immediately thought of a section in Lisa Walton’s Creative Journeys Ebook. Lisa likes to make rubbings when she travels, and I thought it was an excellent idea. Now, to actually make a rubbing this size!


I brought a fair amount of black and white fabric with me on my trip, and smaller pieces of colored fabrics. But I also remembered tucking a couple of very special pieces in my suitcase in the event that something special caught my eye.

I had picked up a pack of clothespins at the market earlier in my stay, so I used them to attach the fabric to the table.

No, I did NOT whip out my can of sticky spray. I want to stay on good terms with Proprietor Rob. Besides, I managed to arrive in Chapala WITHOUT a can of sticky spray. I’m not sure if I totally spaced out when I was packing or if my friends at TSA decided to confiscate said can of spray. (One never knows!)


The chapter on Paintstik Rubbings in Rubbing Plate Roundup is the most comprehensive description you will find on this topic, short of taking my Totally Textured Online Course. In the chapter, I share the most important of my tips and “secret weapons” for making great Paintstik Rubbings.

In the book, I talk about peeling the film from the side of a Paintstik Mini or a chunk of a Paintstik. But as I was making the rubbing from the table top, I quickly discovered that I would have been better off peeling the film of the side of entire paintstiks for this particular project. Yes, size really does matter!


When I look at this rubbing close up, it is quite messy. But from a distance, oooh-la-la!


I conned my sweetheart into taking some photos for me. It’s much easier to see the scale of the project with some context.

It would have been lovely to have wider fabric so I could capture the entire surface in the rubbing, but I am quite content to tuck my super-sized Paintstik Rubbing into my suitcase – and to ponder the possibilities of what to do with this new treasure.



You can get all the details on Paintstik Rubbings in Chapter 1 of Rubbing Plate Roundup. It’s the first of 12 techniques for creating textured treasures from fabric, paper, metal, paint and more!

I used the following Iridescent Paintstik colors to make this rubbing: Dark Blue, Turquoise, Jade, Green, Leaf Green, Lime Green, Light Gold, Orange, Watermelon.

Lisa Walton’s Creative Journeys: Fun & Easy Textile Surface Design Techniques Ebook is available via Amazon Kindle.


Your Turn:

Now that I have created this super-sized rubbing, I need ideas on what to do with it. Do you have a suggestion?

Leave a comment below or over on our Facebook page. I would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Barb Minor on April 30, 2015 at 10:21 am

    BPW friend Victoria Alexa Schmidt lives in Chapala – small world. I love the finished rubbing.

    • Shelly on May 1, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Umm… that’s how I found Chapala in the first place, Barb! Victoria is doing well. We were able to spend lots of time together during our trip. 🙂

  2. pfitz on April 30, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Absolutely stunning. I love the design.

    • Shelly on May 1, 2015 at 11:16 am

      I can’t take credit for the design. These tables are pretty common down there. They are widely used for patio furniture. It’s just a matter of keeping your eyes open and taking advantage of the opportunity.

  3. Donna Kerns on April 30, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    That is absolutely beautiful! Was the piece of fabric previously dyed?

    • Shelly on May 1, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Yes, Donna. This is a piece that was dyed by Carolyn Abbott before she retired from her fabric dying business. I still have a few of her pieces in my stash and save them for special projects. I love using her fabrics for my paint projects because the change of color adds another wonderful dimension to the finished piece. 🙂

  4. Vicky Morrow on April 30, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I see that gorgeous project as a wall hanging or a throw size quilt. Question – when you have a project this size, how do you protect it on the way back home? Do you put tissue paper over the paint while you transport it? I’m thinking it might smear sincer it hasn’t set yet?

    • Shelly on May 1, 2015 at 11:20 am

      Good question, Vicky. I find that the dry climate in Chapala makes it a perfect place to play with Paintstiks. They dry incredibly quick in the warm, dry weather. I painted this a week before we left and had no problem just folding it up and tucking it in my suitcase. I haven’t pulled it out yet, but I am confident it will be fine.

  5. Judy McElwee on May 2, 2015 at 11:54 pm


    • Shelly on May 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks, Judy. I’m so glad you found this idea inspiring. Now that I am home, the fabric is hanging on my design wall and I ponder about what to do with it each time I walk into the studio. 🙂