Leaf Rubbings Made with Crayons

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Leaf rubbing is a great way to turn fallen leaves into works of art. A journal full of rubbed leaves lasts all season and is a good way for a budding biologist to document her finds. Record the date and location and try to identify the tree! Or go free-form and have your young earth artist decorate a tree that you paint in the corner of his room.
Adapted with permission from Handy Dad in the Great Outdoors by Todd Davis, published by Chronicle Books.
- Leaves of various shapes and sizes (Choose ones that aren’t too dry and brown.)
- 5 to 10 sheets letter-size printer paper (Not card or cover stock—it’s too thick.)
- Jumbo-size crayons with the paper peeled off
- Pencil or pen
- Double-sided mini tape (tape that’s about one-third the width of standard Scotch tape)

Source: ,Amazon.com: Handy Dad in the Great Outdoors (9781452102139...

Step 1

Go out and search for a variety of leaves that you find beautiful or interesting. Make sure they’re still pretty green. Brown ones will crumble.

Step 2

Select a leaf to start with and place it vertically, on a hard surface, with the vein side facing up.

Step 3

Place a blank sheet of paper over the leaf, covering it entirely, and grab a crayon.

Step 4

With one hand, place your thumb on the paper over the stem, and your index or middle finger on the paper over the top of the leaf, to hold it in place. Be sure not to let the paper or the leaf move as you rub or you’ll get a double image. More on that later.

Step 5

Hold the crayon, sideways, over the area of the paper that is covering the leaf.

Step 6

Are you ready? OK. Firmly rub the crayon all over the leaf and watch the image magically appear.

Step 7

Take the flat end of the crayon and rub it down on the paper in between the major veins of the leaf to bring out details that the first pass didn’t reveal.

Step 8

Now, using the pointed end of the crayon, gently work the remaining unfilled areas to bring out even more detail. Be careful not to tear the paper.

Step 9

Write down the date and location of your leaf find. Have your kids identified the type of leaf? Nice work! Write that down, too.

Step 10

Now you can cut out the leaf, and its description, so your kids can tape it to the tree painting in their room or into a journal. Either way, use the double-sided tape for this. They can also save a step by rubbing the leaves directly into their journals.
- If you’re feeling artistic, try two colors for the same leaf, for example, green on the outer edges and yellow on the inside. Try moving the leaf during the rubbing to create overlapping shapes, or switch to a new leaf entirely. How many rubbings can you fit on a page to create a composition? In leaf rubbing, as in life, the possibilities are endless.
Adapted with permission from Handy Dad in the Great Outdoors by Todd Davis, published by Chronicle Books.

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