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How to Make Gravestone Rubbings

Updated on March 13, 2013

There is Something About Rubbing

I don't know what it is about the Hobby of Gravestone Rubbing. Maybe it is being in a cemetery that brings a since of excitement, or maybe it is taking down a little piece of history, hopefully your family's history. Maybe it is just getting outside and doing something other than sitting in front of the computer or the television and not doing anything.

Whatever the case may be, I thought I would take a moment to tell you how to make your own gravestone rubbings. Let me know if I left anything out. Make sure you tell me about your Rubbing experiences in the space below.

How to Make a Gravestone Rubbing - My Steps for Making a Grave Stone Rubbing

  1. Obtain permission from the people who own or take care of the land. There my be rules that you don't know about. You want to repect the land you are visiting. Please don't make gravestone rubbings without asking for permission first.
  2. Clean the stone you are going to be making the rubbing of. Not only will it make the rubbing come out better, but you will make it easier for future visitors to read the stone and enjoy the cemetery.
  3. Tape your newsprint or tracing paper to the stone with masking tape. Make sure the tape will be removable. We don't want to leave behind any residue If we can help it. I have used that painters tape in the past. It works pretty well.
  4. I like to use the side of a piece of charcoal to make my rubbing, but you can use a pencil or crayon or anything you might have.
  5. When you are done making your rubbing, make sure you clean up everything and take it all with you. If you see any trash in your vicinity, pick it up. Leave the cemetery cleaner than where you found it. It is the least you can do for taking a rubbing of the stone.

The Old Stone Rubbing Kit - Preserving Epitaphs and Artwork from Gravestones & Monuments

This is an awesome book. It has all the supplies you need to make your first few rubbings. If you think this is something you might be able to get into, you should think about picking up this book. It gives you all the do's and don'ts of rubbing old gravestones and monuments. It even tells you where you can go to get your collection started.

The Old Stone Rubbing Kit: Preserving Epitaphs and Artwork from Historical Gravestones & Monuments
The Old Stone Rubbing Kit: Preserving Epitaphs and Artwork from Historical Gravestones & Monuments

You can buy the kit with everything you need to make your first rubbing. It is nice to have everything you need all in one place right when you need it. I think it can be expensive to do it this way. Some of the tools in this kit may not be exactly what I would use, but if you are looking for that perfect gift for someone who likes to spend time in graveyards, then this may just be what you are looking for.


HowCast's Guide to Gravestone Rubbing - Simple and Enjoyable Hobby

I thought this was a great how to guide to Making your first gravestone rubbing. I think most people would not realize that cemeteries have rules about making rubbings. Some don't let you do it all. Some tell you which stones not to make them of because stones may be damages or too old to withstand too many rubbings. If you do go out to make rubbings, make sure you take the time to stop and ask for permission. I would hate to see you in jail because you did something that was against the rules.

Have You Ever Made a Gravestone Rubbing? - I want to hear about your experiences

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    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      These days I'd rather photograph them. I don't have space to display a full sized rubbing from a gravestone. But, we did it a few times when we were kids. My Dad was an electrical engineer so we had huge sheets of paper from his old/ cast-off drawings. They were great for taking to the cemetery and making a copy of the most interesting headstones. We had picnics in the cemetery those days too.

    • rgasperson lm profile image

      Robert T Gasperson 6 years ago from South Carolina

      @sukkran trichy: Your Welcome.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      thanks for this gravestone rubbing technique. informative lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Not morbid to me. Locally there is a gravestone of a woman calming she was the wife of King Edward VIII, a.k.a. Duke of Windsor. He had a ranch in Alberta and member of her family claim that many of them attended the wedding. She is not buried in Alberta. The marriage was dissolved, and the only thing she asked for was that she be able to put on her tombstone that she was his wife. The powers that be said she could do this. Many people from Canada and the States come to do tracings of the stone. Articles have appeared in newspapers both in Canada and the UK regarding this gravestone. Of course nothing from the British government or the Royal Family. One of the many things that will be made public in about a couple of hundred years.

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      James Jordan 6 years ago from Burbank, CA

      I learned about this in about 9th grade (a million years ago). I did some of the local graveyard. There were some about 100 years old. It was really a great learning experience about the local history.