Watercolor washed rubbing…

You may have read on one of my earlier posts that we have leaves stamped into our patios and that I have used them as inspiration for some of my art.
Below are the steps to creating what will be a small art quilt OR a piece that could be incorporated into a larger piece. I used a piece of Pima cotton, watercolor (actually Jacquard Textile paints, thinned), water-soluble wax pastel, and bit of painted gauze.

step one
First lay the fabric on top of the imprint, hold securely or tape, and rub with the wax pastel almost parallel with the surface.

step 2

Next heat set it using a hot iron.


Using thinned textile paint, “wash” the paint color over the design.


I was trying to add more depth with the dark but did too much.


Luckily it dried much lighter and presented me with an opportunity to try and alter it by adding another layer – this time using painted gauze.


The gauze covered some of the dark areas and brought in another element and textured layer.


Because I’m pretty sure I’m going to quilt my pieces I like to add dots when painting the background, giving me something to quilt around.

I’m pleased with this piece and will post it again when it is finished.

rubbing top fin

I hope this gives you some ideas to try and I would love to see what you come up with!

By Ann Scott

I started sewing and designing using fabric, thread, and paper when I was a child. I taught myself to make quilts, at first not following the "rules," then watched some experts, learned the rules, and made many hand quilted and appliqued quilts. I spent years focusing on miniature landscape quilts. Now I am a fiber and mixed media artist and that encompasses everything I have a passion for. I have taught, lectured, and my work have show nationally and internationally, some pieces have been published.


  1. Hi Ann, this project looks like so much fun! Where do you get waxed pastel? Did you use the same thinned paint for painting the gauze? I really have never liked gauze-but you have changed my mind! It made a big difference, also the idea of using spots, so you can quilt around is interesting. Thanks for the info.

  2. Thanks for commenting Mary. I’m going to produce a video soon demonstrating this in a bit more detail and using some other items for the rubbing. The wax pastels are Caran d’Ache Neocolor I Wax Pastels. I bought mine from Amazon but Blick carries them too. The instructions say use with mineral spirits for using as a watercolor but water has worked fine on fabric for me. They must be heat set. For the gauze – I used either thinned Jacquard Textile Colors (my preference) or acrylic (acrylic if I want it to be a little stiff). Check out my “Orchid” Fiber and Photograph piece; it has gauze leaves too and because it has wool batting the leaves are a bit raised… faux trapunto, not usually my thing but I really liked the results in this piece. I usually approach any painted fabric with the thought that I may be quilting it so the more surface design the better!

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