Rubbings are perhaps the oldest form of printmaking. By rubbing a crayon or soft pencil across a textured surface, and reproducing the raised elements, you are making an accurate print of it. To children it’s like magic! Here’s how to do a fun printmaking rubbings craft for children to create and treasure:
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This fun project is easy to do at home with your child, and they will enjoy the “magic” of the patterns appearing. This project is from the Primary Printmaking book by Wexford art teacher, Orla Bates, published by Potters Yard Press.
For this Rubbings Craft you will need:
- A5 or A4 White paper; 4-5 pieces per child
- Texture rubbing plates (pre-made or home-made*)
- Flat objects from around the home with a textured surface*
- Peeled crayons or oil pastels
- Watercolour palettes
- Large watercolour brushes
*We are surrounded by textured surfaces from a wall or tree in the garden to embossed wallpaper samples or an oven sheet with mini squares in the home. So if you don’t have any texture rubbing plates, don’t worry, get creative with buttons, leaves, wool and other objects found at home. Simply glue them to a sheet of cardboard and you have created your very own texture plate.
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How to Create your Rubbings
- Place a piece of paper over the texture plate/textured surface and hold the paper with one hand so that it doesn’t move. Ask ‘what would happen if the paper moves?’
- Show your child how to take a rubbing using their crayons in a ‘sleeping/flat’ position. Press down firmly and pull the crayon across the paper surface. Your child may need help to hold the paper while pulling the crayon.
- Get your child to fill one piece of paper with one texture. Then fill another piece with another pattern and use different colours also.
- Your child can also fill a piece of paper by drawing a pattern with oil pastels. Fill one page with one pattern, so they have a selection of drawn and rubbed patterns.
- Once everyone has made several different texture patterns show them how to paint over the surface of the paper with watercolours. This is called a watercolour resist. Wet the brush and rub the paint until the brush is loaded with lots of watercolour paint. Try not to have too much water as this dilutes the paint too much and can make the paper really soggy.
- Gently glide the brush over the surface of the rubbing or pattern. The watercolour paint will only fill in the areas where there is no wax from the crayon. Try to move the brush quickly and gently over the pattern as the more you rub the wax with the paint brush the more it will disappear.
- Let the papers dry. If you wish, you could create a collage using bits from each page or simply enjoy the rubbings as they are.
Did you try this rubbings craft with your child? What textures did you use? Let us know in the comments box below.