Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Making your own Rub-ons

I saw this really nifty tutorial on the Scrap Girls site and thought what a fabulous scrapbooking technique! Now you can make your own rub-ons out of digital elements which you can use over and over again!

Okay, all of you paper scrapbookers or bi-scrapbookers, did you know that you can use even the most detailed digital embellishments for paper scrapbooking? No kidding. And you don’t have to cut out a single thing.
By making your own rub-ons with them.

Here’s how:
1. Get an ink-jet transparency.
2. Select your digital embellishment (check out how cool the stitches are in the sample below) and insert the graphic into a Word document or other word processing document.
3. Print on the slick side (yes, that is the WRONG side) of the transparency.
4. Place the transparency on your paper ink-side down and rub the back with a tool of some kind until all of the ink transfers to the paper. (My current favorite paper scrapbooking tools are those little wooden cuticle pusher sticks. They have a pointed end on one side and a flat end on the other. The flat side is perfect for things like this.)


Note: You have to make yourself go STRAIGHT down when you place the transparency and don’t let yourself slide it around. The two stamps samples show what happens if you slide. I slipped on the right-hand one, but went straight down on the left one.

If you have recently been perusing rub-on prices, you will realize immediately that you can save some real money with this idea. And guess what? You won’t run out of these. Want to have stitches on every single layout and card you ever make for the rest of your life?
No problem. Just print and rub away!

P.S. Having trouble with your printer and a transparency. Try an 8.5×11 page protector. It works, too!

Tutorial written by Rozanne Paxman (CEO Scrap Girls)

How cool is that?!

I’ve tried it out and it works. I find with my printer that using the ‘Draft’ print quality gives me the best result as I don’t get too much ink on the transparency. But suddenly all my digital elements have become rub-ons that I can use over and over again.

Other related posts:

Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Doodling for the Drawing Challenged
Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Making Coordinating Flowers

15 Responses to Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Making your own Rub-ons

  1. Hannah July 10, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    Wow, that is really handy to know! I will have to try it when I get the time. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Janine July 10, 2007 at 4:01 pm #

    I have heard of that but the tip on “draft” print setting is a goodie.
    Will remember that when I have a chance to give that a go.

  3. karooch July 11, 2007 at 9:24 am #

    Thanks Hannah & Janine.
    I found it works really well but my printer loads too much in on the ‘good’ setting and it squooshes everywhere. Draft works like a charm.

  4. Kelly July 12, 2007 at 1:48 pm #

    Wow – sounds like a great tip. Thanks!

  5. Tania July 19, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    Have heard of doing this, but reading it now makes me want to give it a go myself. Mmmm. Might be on tonights’ lis tof things to do… Thanks Karen.

  6. BrigittevT September 5, 2007 at 7:02 pm #

    Really an old post I am commenting on, but I just wanted to ask if this works with an inkjet printer ? Sounds really interesting, since I am about to try some hybrid scrapping ;-) By the way, you have the most interesting blog, visited you before, but now I finally have the time to read a lot more than just the newest entries ;-)

  7. Linda B April 9, 2008 at 11:42 am #

    Does it work with a Laser Printer


  8. karooch April 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm #

    Not sure how effective it is with a laser printer Linda. They typically don’t use so much ink.

    You could give it a try but I would suggest that you need to do your rubbing when the print out is very fresh and the ink hasn’t properly set.

  9. Tracey November 26, 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    Hi, I came across your tip whilst surfing the net, and was so excited, but my joy was short lived. I tried it out, but had no luck. I have an Epson inkjet, and the transparency I used is shiny on both sides, so that could also be a reason. what are the brand name of transparency I should look for? This sounds so awesome, so will give it another go. Thanks.

  10. karooch November 27, 2008 at 7:34 am #

    I don’t think that your transparencies are the problem Tracey. You need to print on the shiny side anyway for this technique.
    But inkjet printers tend to use a lot of ink and that can really smudge when you press down on your paper.
    Make sure you have the printer settings on a low ink usage, such as on the draft setting. And if it still smudges, give it a few minutes to dry a little before rubbing it.

  11. Toya Hernanstel January 5, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    It’s true that there are many, many fascinating and even mind-boggling techniques on scrapbooking out there in the market. However, your advice is one of the best I have recently found. Thanks

  12. Camille Tan June 15, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    Thanks for all these great tips. This can be a good embellishment.

  13. Angela Delli January 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I haven’t tried this with an ink jet printer yet (or any printer for that matter) but what I can tell you from years of experience as a teacher, laser printing on transparencies does come off after a while and I used to slide sheets of paper between them in my folders to stop the ink from getting all over the next transparency. The ink does get onto the paper after a while as the transparency tends to stick to the paper as well. I’m not sure if it is time, heat or humidity or all three that causes it, but they certainly weren’t rubbed. Pressed between books, yes, but not rubbed. So I don’t see why this technique couldn’t work with a laser printer. Perhaps heat, such as from a hair dryer might help it along?

    • karooch January 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Angela.
      I’m sure you’re right. Not having a laser printer myself I can’t verify and when this article was written it was very rare for people to have laser printers in their homes so it was written for ink jets. Let me know how you go if you decide to give it a try.


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