A rubbing plate is an art tool that adds texture to drawings in a variety of media. Just lay your paper or fabric over a plate and rub a crayon, marker, or pencil over it to bring out the pattern beneath. There are multitudes of designs available, from graceful curves and patterns from nature to playful stars and bubbles that will delight the younger set. You can also use these plates to transfer texture to foil or clay by pressing your material into them. Ahead, find our favorite textured rubbing plates; one of them is sure to meet your needs.
1. Baker Ross Floral and Geometrical Rubbing Plates
This is a great set of plates you can keep in your craft arsenal to deploy for a variety of projects. Each plate measures just under 6 inches square with versatile designs ranging from swirls to flowers to dizzying stacked cubes; you get eight of them on four double-sided plates. The plates are made of hard plastic that tolerates a good amount of pressure, and each features neatly raised and consistent ridges to ensure that impressions will be well defined and precise.
2. Roylco Optical Illusion Rubbing Plates
If you’re seeking designs that really catch the eye (rather than serve as a subtle backdrop), consider these from Roylco. The six evenly manufactured plastic plates produce mind-bending impressions that appear to move slightly if you stare at them long enough. Each measures 7 by 7 inches and features rounded edges for safe handling. While slightly flimsier than our top pick, they do the job well.
3. Cedar Canyon Jack Richeson Rubbing Plates
These rubbing plates measure 7⅛ inches square and are crafted of black plastic. Each features a complex geometric design on both front and back, from big swirls and concentric circles to ripples, whorls, and triangular patterns. Use them to add texture to paper, soft metal, clay, and even fabric. The plates are easy to clean and also quite thin and malleable; while this may raise some concern about durability, it also means that they can be cut to smaller sizes if desired.
4. Roylco Leaf Rubbing Plates
This set from a tried-and-true toy and craft manufacturer is ideal for group settings like classrooms, as it comes with a generous number of rubbing plates—32 in all—in 16 designs. Measuring 5 by 8.5 inches, they are comfortable for small hands to hold and require just a bit of pressure to transfer patterns seamlessly to paper, foil, or clay. While created for children ages 5 to 10, the designs aren’t overtly childish, so adults can enjoy them too. Each plate features an elegant leaf; some have flowers as well.
5. Fiskars Spirit Texture Plates
Those looking for simple but attractive designs might consider this kit. Included are two double-sided rubbing plates with basic patterns: stripes, ripples, hearts, and waves. They are quite rigid, as they are built to be compatible with popular embossing tools made by Fiskars and Cricut. Note that these are the smallest plates on our list, measuring about 5.5 inches square.