Leaf rubbing is one of the easiest outdoor activities for kids. It’s a wonderful way to preserve beauty and make memories with your children and grandchildren. Best of all, it requires minimal supplies and is for all skill levels.

Required Supplies:

  • Dry or fresh leaves
  • 2 pieces of paper that are lightweight or thin (copy paper will work, too)
  • Colored pencils, crayons, or oil pastels
  • A hard surface
  • Tape (optional)

Follow These 7 Easy Steps:

1. Choose your favorite leaves


Search for leaves that are either dried or freshly fallen. All shapes and sizes will work. Ensure the leaves are not wet, and the flatter the leaf, the better.

2. Set Up Supplies on a Hard Surface


Find a flat, hard surface, and lay out your supplies. A table works best, though a sidewalk or large book on a lap will work, too.

3. Place the Leaf on a Piece of Paper

Place the leaf on the paper, with the vein facing up. You can do one large leaf or arrange several smaller leaves on one page if you’d like. If you’re worried the leaves will move too much, you could tape them onto the paper. Just be sure to use as little tape as possible on the edges so it doesn’t interfere with the leaf rubbing.

4. Place Another Sheet of Paper on Top

Lay your second sheet of paper on top, making a paper sandwich with the leaf in the middle. Be sure to hold the paper still so the leaves don’t move around.

5. Choose Colors

Select the colors of your chosen coloring instrument. Oil pastels work best as they give you vibrant colors. Most people like to incorporate shades of orange, gold, yellow, and red, but you can use any (or all!) colors of the rainbow. If using crayons or oil pastels, peel the paper off the colors you have chosen.

6. Begin Rubbing

When using pastels or crayons, lay them on their side while you rub. Colored pencils are a bit trickier; you’ll need to hold them at a low angle to use the side of the tip. As you rub, you’ll see the shape of the leaf and its veins begin to appear on your paper. After completion, remove the leaf from under the paper.

7. Display Your Leaf Rubbing

You are now done with your leaf rubbing, and it’s ready to be displayed! You can take it one step further by decorating the rest of the page. Or, you can cut out several leaf rubbings and turn them into an Autumn wreath for your door or table!

Now You Know How to Do Leaf Rubbings!

Leaf rubbing is a great project to memorialize a fun experience! They can make great souvenirs from trips, or can simply be an easy art project to do in your backyard. It is one of many great outside activities for kids that brings art and nature together. With every leaf rubbing, we help our children to see the beauty all around.

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