How to Make a Leaf Rubbing

A Fun, Kid-Friendly Way to Preserve Memories of Fall Days

Leaf rubbings

Dave King/Getty Images

  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly

Making leaf rubbings is a great fall craft project that allows you to preserve memories of a fall trip to New England, other parts of the country, or points all over the globe. When you find fallen leaves that are simply too pretty to ignore, snatch them up, and memorialize them forever with a crayon rubbing. Children love this activity, but you are never too old to have fun creating memories and preserving them.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Crayons, oil pastel, or colored pencils
  • Bag (optional)
  • Hard surface


  • Leaves, fresh or dry
  • 2 Pieces of paper, thin or lightweight preferred


  1. Collect Leaves

    Collect dried or freshly fallen leaves—all shapes and sizes. Make sure they are not wet. Flatter leaves work better, as do newly fallen ones. Bring a bag, so you can collect leaves and not have to worry about dropping them or running out of hands.

  2. Position Leaf on the Paper

    Find a flat, hard surface to do your rubbing. Harder surfaces reduce the sliding of the papers and leaves. On a piece of plain white paper, position the leaf with the vein side up. You can do one leaf or several. Arrange them on the page.

  3. Place Sheet of Paper on Top

    Lay another sheet of plain white paper over the top of the leaf or leaves. The leaves will be sandwiched between the two pieces of paper. Hold the paper steady, and make sure the leaves underneath don't move around. If they move too much, tape the leaves to the bottom paper.

  4. Decide on the Colors You Want

    Select the crayons, pastels, or colored pencils you would like to use to create your leaf rubbing. Oil pastels will give you more vibrant colors. Popular fall colors include red, orange, yellow, and gold; however, any will work. Peel off the paper wrappers of the crayons or pastels, so you don't have to worry about them getting in the way. 

  5. Gently Rub

    Turn the crayon or pastel on its side and gently rub over the top sheet of paper. If you use colored pencils, angle your pencil using a side of the pencil tip. As you rub, you should see the leaf shapes and veins distinctly appear through the paper. Once done, remove the leaf from under the paper.

Make Use of Your Leaf Rubbings

This art project makes a nice souvenir from a trip. You can display it in a frame in your home or can share your leaf creations with your friends and family in a letter, on a blank notecard, or beautiful stationery. You can even make leaf rubbings on large sheets of paper and then use the paper as gift wrap.

Your imagination is your only limit as to items you can rub. Try using flowers, ferns, twigs, feathers, or other finds on your journey.