Leaf Rubbings for the Whole Family

If you’re looking for a simple, fun activity for weekday afternoons before all the leaves turn crunchy, leaf rubbings are an easy way to bring the outdoors in. The best part? You and your child can arrange your creations in all sorts of ways to create beautiful, easy to print “art!”

For simple leaf rubbings that your child can hang on the wall or save in a special ‘observations’ journal, all you need are…

  • A few stiff leaves
  • Tissue paper or vellum
  • Colored pencils or crayons
  • A special place to keep them


Some things to keep in mind before you get started:

  • The stiffer the leaf, the better, because soft leaves don’t produce very prominent rubbings
  • The thinner the paper, the more detailed the rubbing
  • You don’t have to press hard, but you might have to lightly go over the same part of the leaf a few times. Pressing too hard will tear the tissue paper
  • Always rub the back of the leaf (The front is too smooth for a proper rubbing)


If you want to create printable photographs, there are lots of ways to do it. In this case, we lay the rubbings and leaves in different arrangements on a piece of large canvas to create an interesting background texture, and then snapped an iPhone picture from above. Imagine how pretty a picture like that would look with your child’s signature along the bottom.

Added perk – these are very inexpensive to produce and make great gifts!

The possibilities are endless, so have fun!