Learn to take your crayon rubbings to the next level! Frottage is a surrealist creative process of transferring surface textures by rubbing over them with various art mediums. This tutorial demonstrates two methods of creating a work of art using frottage. The first is using one sheet of paper placed on top of various textures in different directions to create a finished rubbing. In the second method, a collection of rubbings are collaged together to form a new piece of art.


  • Lightweight Paper (newsprint)
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils
  • Graphite Pencils
  • Oil Pastels
  • Charcoal
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick

Compiled Frottage

Step 1: Find interesting textures, inside or outside. Choose a piece of light to medium-weight paper and a drawing tool, such as a graphite pencil, crayon, or charcoal stick. 

Step 2: Place the paper over the texture. Hold the drawing tool at an angle to get the widest texture surface onto the paper. Begin rubbing back and forth. 

Step 3: Lift and turn the paper and begin to rub another area. Look at your rubbing so far and decide what it resembles. Develop that idea further by building your image through additional rubbings.

Collage Frottage

Step 1: Find interesting textures, inside or outside, and begin rubbing. Objects can be used for rubbings as well. 

Step 2: Collect a variety of texture rubbings in different colors. 

Step 3: Cut out the rubbings into different shapes. 

Step 4: Begin placing the shapes onto a blank sheet of paper. Arrange them together to create either realistic or abstract images. 

Step 5: Once you are satisfied with the arranged image, glue the pieces onto the base sheet. 

Learning and Discussion Questions:

1. Frottage is derived from the French word for rubbing. 

2. Max Ernst was a famous artist who often used the process of frottage to overcome the challenge of starting a new drawing on a blank canvas. Click here to learn more about how he started using the frottage process to create his drawings.

Thank you to our sponsor, PNC Arts Alive!, for helping to make this video possible!

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