How to Make a Leaf Rubbing

How to Make a Leaf Rubbing

Last month we spent a lot of time at the lake learning about the lake habitat. We learned about the water, the plants, the animals. We did a lot of fun outside activities, such as flying kites for the very first time!

One fun art project we did was learning the technique of leaf rubbing. It’s easy and can be used for so many different things.  For now, we just learned the technique, but with practice the girls will be able to use this for a lot of different things such as craft projects, nature journaling, art projects, home decor and more. I always say the sky is the limit when it comes to using your imagination.

All you need is some leaves, a flat surface, paper, and something to do the rubbings. We used pastels for ours because I thought it would transfer easier for the kids. However you can use crayons with the wrappers removed, sidewalk chalk, charcoal or anything else that will leave a mark when rubbed on it’s side.

The first thing we did is create a flat surface. Since we were at the park we used the picnic table for a hard surface, but because it was pretty rough we used a piece of thin cardboard as the work surface.

How to Make a Leaf Rubbing

Place your leaf on the flat, smooth work surface, then put your piece of paper on top of it. Lay your chalk (or whatever you’re using for the rubbing) on it’s side and start rubbing it over the paper.

How to Make a Leaf RubbingThe more you rub the more the impression of the leaf underneath will show through on the paper. It’s important to use your chalk on it’s side so the pressure is distributed evenly as opposed to a more pinpointed pressure if you use it like a pencil, which won’t result in a very good rubbing.  If you want to add a bit of exploration into the project you can ask the kids to do it both ways so they can see for themselves which one works better, then discuss the results.

Make sure you have plenty of water and rags/paper towels for clean up.

How to Make a Leaf RubbingThis can be a messy procedure depending on the materials you’re using.  For fun, try out different tools to make the rubbings and see which ones give the best results. The kids could then document the results in their nature journal.

This is also a fun way for the kids to find leaves of different trees and shrubs, make the rubbings, then write identification details on each rubbing page to store in their journals. If you use chalk, you can always spray the picture with a bit of hair spray to help the chalk remain on the paper without smudging on things.

What is your favorite way to document leaves in your nature journal? Tell me in the comments.



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