Exploring Rubbings

1 hr activity

A one-hour activity that introduces wax rubbings.

You will need:

  • A selection of paper
  • Wax crayons
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors

Making a Rubbing (15 minutes)

What is a rubbing?

A rubbing is an impression on paper taken from a textured surface. This is achieved by placing paper over the texture and using a crayon, charcoal or pencil to create marks on the paper from the texture.

What is texture?

Texture is the way something feels to touch, so we might say it is rough, silky, smooth etc. Ask your child if they have made rubbings before and to explain the process of creating one.

  1. Before the child makes the face collage, start by letting them experiment making a variety of different rubbings.
  2.  Now its time to go out into the garden to collect some textures, these could be a variety of things there is texture all around us. The child can collect leaves, stones, small pieces of wood etc. You can also take the paper and crayons outside and use textures like brickwork, decking, paving and fencing. Also how about collecting items from inside too like coins, buttons, shells and fabrics etc.
  3. Now ask the children to use the collected textures to make their own rubbings. Remember when you are exploring rubbings to place the paper under or over the top of your chosen texture and colour over the texture with a crayon in one direction. If you have wax crayons use the side of the crayon rather than the tip to create your rubbings.

If you have younger children they will enjoy using crayons but you could also use playdough by pressing in or rolling over surfaces to get a textured impression.

Make a Face (45 minutes)

  1. Now your child has explored and experimented with different ways to make rubbings its time to use them to make a face. Ask your child to think about what features the face has such as eyes, nose, mouth, ears, eyebrows, hair etc. Ask them to describe where they are on the face and what shape the features are. For younger children, you can ask them to point out the key features on their face.
  2. Now look at the rubbings created in the warm-up activity, do you have any shapes that could be used for the features, for example, buttons for eyes or a nose, leaves for eyebrows etc. Ask the children to find shapes in the rubbings they have done that could be used to make a face. They can also draw shapes onto the rubbings. When they have all the pieces needed for the face cut them out carefully and lay them out onto a piece of plain paper. Once the child is happy with the layout stick the pieces down with a glue stick.

Extension Activities

  • Why not try making your own rubbing board using cardboard boxes, buttons, pasta etc and then see how the homemade board works as a rubbing!
  • What other pictures can you make using rubbings and collage?