The Art of Leaf Rubbing

Slice of Life2

Would you like to do a leaf rubbing?

Some look at me tentatively, others are encouraged by their mom (Remember, you did that in preschool!), others step right up, eager to try. Leaf rubbing is one of the fall activities in the Longwood Children’s Garden where I volunteer.

The leaves are housed in page protectors that keep them flat and allow for many rubbings. Each child picks a favorite leaf (the larger ones are the most popular), then a fat crayon (pink and purple are popular among the girls). After placing a plain white paper over the leaf, we are ready to begin. I show them how to use their thumb and forefinger like pinchers, lay the crayon on its side, and move it back and forth in a steady rhythm. Some need help applying just the right amount of pressure. As they work, we talk about the veins of the leaf and the job they do, compare leaf veins to the veins in our hands, and think about the colors of fall and what that means. If there is no one waiting, a second color can be added, maybe even a third. Conversations are filled with praise and wonder and delight.

I remember doing leaf rubbings with my own kids when they were little, then again as a classroom teacher. They would be carefully cut out and become decorations for the windows, walls, or table. But, until a few weeks ago, it was to me a lost art. I’ve had so much fun with my little Longwood visitors that I decided it was the perfect fall activity to awaken my inner child. So yesterday I collected some leaves as I walked along the trail, then came home and created a few rubbings. And, just as always, it felt magical.

Sometimes you just need to be a kid again.


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9 Responses to The Art of Leaf Rubbing

  1. Amy Warntz says:

    What a great way to awaken your inner child. The weather has been perfect for collecting leaves and turning them into your own piece of original art. Visiting Longwood Gardens is on my “must do” list. I just love the peace and relaxation it brings. Thanks for sharing, Rose!


  2. rosecappelli says:

    Thanks, Amy! Do you live close by in PA?


  3. I remember doing these when I was much younger too! It sounds so relaxing. Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. vendija723 says:

    Me, I love a good magazine collage. Many a friend has gotten a cut-and-pasted birthday card from me. I’m really tempted to do some leaf rubbings now though; I love the idea of blending several colors.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. arjeha says:

    Thanks for this memory, Rose. I remember doing leaf rubbings as a kid is school so many years ago. It is something I haven’t thought about in a long time. Always such interesting patterns.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lisa Keeler says:

    Ah- your slice brings back sweet memories. And how lucky you are to spend time at Longwood.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The simple traditions bring such pleasure — love that you gave it a go at home too. Longwood sounds amazing – what a great place to volunteer. Hope all is well.


  8. mbhmaine says:

    There’s something magical and immensely satisfying about making leaf rubbings. Thanks for sharing and sending me down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

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