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Gravestone Rubbing

Gravestone rubbings are great way to create a copy of a grave marker and can be part of an exploration about your ancestors.

Difficulty: Very Easy

Things You'll Need:

  • Crayons
  • Drawing Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • Tracing Paper


  • Purchase large sheets of tracing paper.
  • Sharpen a drawing pencil or take crayons.
  • Get information about the cemetery you are visiting so that you know its hours and can learn where the graves are that you are looking for.
  • Find the grave you wish to visit.
  • Hold the tracing paper over the front of the stone or marker.
  • Rub over the entire paper with the side of sharpened end of the pencil, or peel a crayon and rub it on its side over the paper.
  • Roll your paper up carefully so you don't crease it or smudge the tracing.
Don't forget to take a digital camera with you as well just in case it doesn't work out as you have planned.
This technique can work with fabric as well, give it a go it you have to.
There is a lot of talk that you should never do headstone rubbings, with the digital camera so easy to use you shouldn't really need to do a rubbing.   If a headstone is difficult to read then spraying it with water may make it easier to read or go back on a dull day or a sunny day which ever makes it easier to take a photo.
Ask the cemetery trust they may have a photo of the headstone that has been taken some time ago.