How to do Gravestone Rubbings


  1. Make sure the stone
    is clean and completely dry.  Tape will not adhere 
    to a wet stone, and the dampness will make the paper
    fragile and liable to tear.  Besides ruining any
    chance of a rubbing, this may cause you to
    accidentally damage the stone with your rubbing
  2. Cut a piece of your
    paper or other rubbing material to a size slightly
    larger than the stone. If possible, write any
    information on or about the stone, inscription,
    date, location, etc. on the back of the paper before
    doing the rubbing so you don’t smear your rubbing.
    Or, carry a small notebook, write the information on
    a page, tear out and roll up with your rubbing.
  3. Tape the paper to
    the stone.  Make sure that it is secure so that it
    won’t slide as you are rubbing and cause a blurred
    image, and that it covers the face of the stone
    completely, so that you won’t get marks on it.
  4. If only doing
    lunettes, please be sure that a large enough area is
    covered to protect the stone.
  5. With your fingers,
    press the paper lightly against the stone.  This
    will cause the paper to indent into the carvings,
    resulting in a clearer image, with less rubbing
    medium accidentally transferring into "blank" areas.
  6. Using rubbing wax, a
    large crayon, charcoal, or chalk, gently start to
    rub along the outside edges – creating a "frame" for
    your rubbing.  Using  long, even strokes following
    the same direction, fill in the "frame".
  7. Rub lightly to start
    with, and then apply more pressure to darken in the
    design if it suits you. Be very careful and gentle.
  8. If you used chalk
    for your rubbing, then carefully spray the paper
    with a chalk spray such as Krylon.  Be very careful
    not to get any on the tombstone. It is
    best to remove the paper from the stone and lay it
    flat on the ground in an area away from any stones
    before spraying.
  9. When the rubbing is
    done, carefully remove it from the tombstone and
    trim the edges to suit your liking. Remove the tape
    from the paper, being careful not to tear the edges
    of the paper.

Image: waynesville K12

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