Bark & Leaf Rubbings

This activity is a great way to see the different textures and patterns that appear in nature. Head outside and find some trees and leaves to use for your rubbings!

Trees have bark to protect their insides from damage. In this activity, try and find different patterns and colours of bark. Leaves of trees and other plants have veiny patterns on them. These veins bring water and nutrients to different parts of the leaf.

What You’ll Need

  • White paper
  • Wax crayons
  • Leaves
  • Bark

What to Do

  1. Grab a piece of paper, some wax crayons, and head outside.
  2. Find a tree or leaves on the ground.
  3. Place paper on tree bark or on top of leaf.
    • Tip: It might work better to collect the leaves and take them home so that you have a hard surface such as a table to make a nice rubbing of the leaves you found.
  4. Hold wax crayon sideways (take off the paper wrapping) and move crayon back and forth over the paper.
    • Tip: Don’t press too hard with your crayon while rubbing against the paper.
  5. You should be able to see the pattern of the bark or leaves come through on the paper. See how many different patterns you can find.
  6. Continue until your page is full, then grab another sheet of paper!

Ask Yourself

  • Do different trees make different patterns?
  • Are the leaves that you found different colours or sizes? Why?
  • Why should you use leaves that have already fallen off of the trees instead of picking them off of trees to make your rubbings?