Introduction: Making Rubbings

About: My husband spoils me! I spend my life covered in sawdust and paint - I'm the luckiest person in the world!

Many of us have done rubbings since childhood. It's fun to place coins on a table, perhaps with a pinch of double-folded tape on the bottom to hold them in place, then place a piece of paper over the top of them and rub away. I've done that with the backs of assorted coins and given the results to students to add or subtract amounts of pocket change.

I've also divided paper into four or six blocks, had them select one or two colors, then gone out into the schoolyard and had them make rubbings of tree bark. It's amazing how different they are when viewed closely! We've talked about how to tell one kind of tree from another when all we can see is a tiny square of rubbed bark - challenge! Fun!

The photo above shows leaves from assorted trees and plants in my back yard. I cut leaves from over a dozen types of trees/plants, then arranged them on the paper until I was pleased with the design, and spot-glued them in place. I clamped the paper and a protective sheet over it between two heavy cutting boards and left it for three days. This was the hardest part!

Step 1: Making Rubbings

I wanted to see how these would come out if done in assorted colors. I moved my receiving paper around so that all of the areas were filled in, then rubbed over them with different colored pencils. My favorite result was a light blue pencil over a three-leaf clover. I'm going to use this as a get well card for a young friend. Crayons work well with coins, tree bark, keys, or other sturdy items. Now it seems as if just plain #2 black pencils could look a little boring!

You may have done rubbings of tombstones or historical plaques. Pay attention to any regulations prohibiting this! In places where rubbings are permitted, you may want to tape your receiving paper against the stone or plaque with painter's tape or masking tape. Try using different colors of Crayons or pencils until you produce the desired effects.

Step 2: Deciding Upon Your Design

Turning your receiving paper in different directions allows you to blend in the colors and fit smaller leaves into small areas in between large forms. I tried some grasses with very delicate, tiny leaves and they did not turn out very well.

These can make interesting one-of-a-kind party invitations for kids' parties, gift or greeting cards, stationery, notebook covers, etc.

Try some and share your creativity in the Comments section! Have fun!