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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Fall Leaf Rubbing Pillow - a twist on a classic fall activity

This leaf rubbing pillow takes a favorite fall activity and turns it into pretty and easy fall decor.

Did you ever do leaf rubbing as a kid? I vaguely remember doing it. When trying to come up with a project for this month's challenge (leaves), I remembered doing leaf rubbing art. But I wanted a new twist. I came up with the idea to do the leaf rubbing on fabric and then creating a pillow.

Fall leaf rubbing pillow

Fall Leaf Rubbing Pillow - a twist on a classic fall activity

You guys, these were so fun and so easy! I used my basic envelope pillow pattern {remember the fun spring pillows?}, gathered some leaves, and created some fun leaf rubbed pillows.

My 8 and 11 year old's were in the thick of things as they helped gather leaves and do the rubbing.

fall leaf rubbing pillow collage

Supplies needed for a leaf rubbed pillow

sewing machine/thread/scissors
a pillow to cover

leaves collected for leaf rubbing art

Before we get into the leaf rubbing, we need to get our fabric ready. I suggest cutting the fabric to the right size. The pillows I was covering were 16" X 16", so I cut the fabric to 16" X 38". Then I folded and sewed the short ends. We'll sew it into a pillow after we add the leaf details.

Please refer back to my easy envelope pillow cover post for the details of how to create a custom sized pillow cover. 

prep for leaf rubbing

Let's talk about the leaves for a minute. They need to be fresh leaves. Not ones you find on the ground and are dry and brittle. Not ones that you picked two days ago, but haven't done your project yet {pointing at myself}. The leaves need to be soft and pliable.

For the best results, place the leaves upside down. That way you are  rubbing the "veins" of the leaves and will ensure the best result.

leaf rubbing in action

Add your fabric on top of the leaves. Hold it firmly in place while you rub over the leaf with the side of a crayon. This was the part that was the most frustrating. The fabric easily moves and if you're not finished with that leaf, it is impossible to line it up right again.

leaf rubbing art

The best tip I can give is to press firmly as you rub, to avoid having to go over the leaf again.

We found that when using a whole crayon, it was too long and created extra drawing outside the leaf. We broke the crayons in half and that helped a ton.

leaf rubbing art
If I were to do these again, I would not use yellow or green, they were just too light and it's hard to see the detail unless you're very close.

The best leaves to rub are the ones with thick "veins". Grape leaves and maple leaves were some of our favorites.

Once the rubbing is done, finish sewing together your pillow cover. {See envelope pillow post for details}

leaf rubbing pillow - easy fun, fall diy

Tips for Leaf Rubbing Crafts

1 - Use fresh leaves - old leaves are dry and brittle
2 - Make sure leaf is upside down, for the best results
3 - Hold the fabric firmly as you rub to prevent the fabric from moving
4 - Press firmly as you rub - that way you won't have to go over it again and possibly mess it up
5 - Use darker colored crayons - the yellow and green were too light and hard to see from a distance.
6 - Use half of a crayon to prevent excess markings outside the leaf

fall leaf rubbing pillow cover
This project has been featured at Fave Crafts and the DIY Idea Center! They have tons of fall projects.

It's time for the Inspire My Creativity Link Party! This month's theme is leaves. Be sure to check out all the creative ideas below. If you have a leaf project, be sure to add it.

Below are a list of the co-hosts. Please consider following them, they have such great ideas!

Shani  |  Sunshine & Munchkins
Christine  |  Swordfights & Starry Nights
Meg  |  See The Happy
Candice  |  She's Crafty
Jaclyn  |  The Dotted Nest
Victoria  |  Dazzle While Frazzled
Julia  |  The Quiet Grove
Marie  |  The Inspiration Vault
Stephanie  |  The Gifty Girl
Brooke  |  My Beautiful Mess
Heather  |  Glitter On A Dime
Niki  |  365 Days of Crafts
Jessica  |  Designers Sweet Spot


  1. Wow! I never thought of doing this classic on fabric. Great Idea, I love the look!!

  2. These are BEAUTIFUL!! What a great idea!

  3. I remember leaf rubbing as a kid and this is a great way to do leaf rubbing and create a keepsake. Adorable!

  4. I need to try leaf rubbing with my kiddos. What a fun fall project! Your pillows turned out so cute!

  5. The pillow cover turned out sooo pretty!!

  6. This is so pretty and unique! Thanks so much for sharing at this week's Project Inspire{d}.

  7. These came out so cute!! I remember doing that as a kid, how fun!

  8. I do remember doing this as a child. The pillow turned out so fantastic.

  9. I remember doing this with paper when I was a kid. I never tried it with fabric. but it's a great idea.
    Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty link Party. Pinned.

  10. What a creative idea! I love how these turned out. I want to make some too!

  11. Such a pretty pillow! My boys and I have done leaf rubbings a few times but I would never have thought to try it with fabric. That's genius! Pinned.

  12. No way! I used to love doing leaf rubbings when I was a child. I would have never thought to do it on fabric!