Saturday, August 3, 2013

Texture Hunt

Do you ever wonder what to use in doing crayon rubbings?  I have usually put this art project on hold just because I'm not sure what else to use, besides coins and leaves and tombstones . . .

But recently, I decided to brainstorm and then try out some different textured items, as an experiment.

Here are some of the items that I found work really well when put beneath a piece of paper, to do crayon rubbings:

1-  paper cut-outs

Normal paper thickness works fine.  You can cut out letters, numbers, shapes of objects or animals or people, etc.

2- stencils

From cardstock or thin plastic-- these can be ready-made, or you can cut your own.  Large lids made of soft plastic (yogurt container lids, raisin cannister lids, etc.) work well for making stencils.  This is the same as the paper cut-outs idea, except that these are sturdier.

3-  rick-rack, ribbon, and lace

Rick-rack comes in many sizes, and makes an interesting pattern when used in a rubbing. Ribbons will make a long rectangular shape (they can be cut to different rectangle lengths). When using lace, small details are likely to be lost when doing a rubbing, so it's best to use laces with large holes.

4-  pipe cleaners

These can be bent to make different shapes such as a spiral, ocean waves, geometric shapes.

5-  pieces of leather

Leather lacing can be used, or leather that is cut into certain shapes.

6-  yarn or string

Using small thicknesses will result in a more definite line in the rubbing, so it's better to use baby yarn than regular yarn, and kite string instead of thicker string.

7-  rubberbands

You can use these to add circle or oval shapes to your rubbing picture.

8-  metal washers, coins

Washers will give you a round "donut" shape, and coins will also give you some interesting pictures (whatever raised design is on the coin).  For washers, thinner is better.

9-  pieces of hard plastic that have definite textures

You will most likely need to cut apart a plastic item, so you can use certain textured parts.
Some examples: one side of a plastic berry basket, or of a plastic organizer tray that has a pattern of slots on the side.

10- toothpicks and popsicle sticks

These could be arranged to make a design, or used with other objects.  They make straight lines.

Something NOT to use: 
One item that I found did not work well was buttons; they tended to slip under the paper while doing the rubbing (whereas metal washers and coins would stay put).

Here's a completed crayon rubbing picture.  Tree stencils, circle stencil, lace, and rickrack were used-- the rabbit, and details on sun and trees were added by drawing after the rubbing was finished.

What have you used for rubbings?  Do you have some more ideas to add to the ones here?


  1. We like to do outdoor ones too - tree bark, the cement on the road, the cement on the driveway, big rocks, leaves, etc. We LOVE to do this!! I love your idea of making a picture. Great idea!!

  2. Christa,
    Tree bark and other nature items -- that would give lots of interesting textures and shapes :)