crayon leaf rubbing

These easy crayon leaf rubbings are deceptively simple.  Grab your crayons and let nature provide the details!

What do you need to make crayon leaf rubbings….

This leaf art project is SO simple.  You’ll need crayons.  Make sure you have at least one crayon that you don’t mind removing the wrapper as you’ll be using the crayon on it’s side to create the rubbing.

You’ll also need leaves.  We had the most success with leaves that had a fairly simple shape.  Lacy leaves (like the fern below) were a bit harder for the kids to tell where the leaf ended and got a less crisp silhouette but were still really pretty. Take a stroll around the yard or the park and see what different leaf shapes you can find.  It’s also fun to mix different sizes of the same leaf shape in a single composition.

Gather a few more leaves than you think you’ll need.  A single leaf lasted us 2-4 rubbings before it became too flat to create great detail.  How many rubbings u=you can do from each leaf will depend on the toughness and water content of the type of leaf you’re using.

You’ll also need paper.  Plain white copy paper is perfect for this activity.  It’s thin enough that the details of the leaf easily show!


easy leaf rubbing art done with crayons

Getting started…

Start by choosing the color for the leaf rubbing.  I chose black and used it for all of my leaves to create a bit of unity.  Feel free to use a color other than black, or multiple colors!

Peel the wrapper off the crayon you will be using.  I love using short stubby crayons for this activity.  They’re especially easy for little hands to control!

Place the leaf under the paper- vein side up. This is important because you want the side of the leaf that’s the bumpiest to be what you’re running the crayon over. hold down the paper where the leaf is underneath to prevent the leaf from moving during the rubbing.

leaf rubbing art with crayons

Making a leaf rubbing….

Lay the crayon on it’s side and rub gently back and forth over the leaf.  Encourage your kids to work slowly and pay extra attention as they get to the edges of their leaves.  Applying a bit of extra pressure at the edges will make them super visible.  And knowing where to stop rubbing with the crayon will keep extra marks from covering the rest of the page! Move the leaf or grab a different one and find a new spot to continue with the leaf rubbing process.

Explore overlapping and allowing the leaf to run off the side of the page to add to the overall composition.

Let’s make a leaf rubbing together….

Follow along and I’ll show you all the steps to make a crayon leaf rubbing. It’s so simple and so beautiful- you’ll want to do it over an over!

colorful leaf rubbing art done with crayon

Add color to your leaf rubbing…

Whether you chose black for your leaf rubbing (like me ) or chose a bright color now is the perfect time to add some additional splashes of color. A light layer of crayon is a super simple way to make these leaf rubbings look like a completed work of art.  I love how the crayon allows the details of the leaf rubbing to shine through!

No work of art is complete without considering the background! Add a splash of color there too!

Other options for adding color to these leaf rubbings would be watercolor paints, washable markers (especially light colors) or colored pencils.  All of these will be colorful and still let the details of the leaf rubbing shine!

More leaf art activities to try….

Try making rainbow leaf prints with washable markers.

Use watercolor paints for these crazy detailed leaf prints- these are magical.

Change up just one detail for this “magic” leaf rubbing resist.

leaf rubbing art with crayons

Do you love these crayon leaf rubbings?

If so-SHARE!  Every single social media share helps me to bring you more fun projects and free printable resources!

Experience learning about the elements of art in the outdoors!