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The Art of Botanical Rubbings: Plant Calendar

Turn ephemeral elements of the outdoors into long-lasting decorations.



A plant evocative of each month -- pine needles in January, sugar-maple leaves in September -- reveals itself on the petal-thin pages of a handmade calendar. We worked with 13-by-19-inch Japanese rice paper, available at art-supply stores. For the February winterberry, only a branch was used -- berries were drawn in with a crayon. A single hydrangea bloom was repeated for August; a stem of lily of the valley for May. We cheated on September, with green leaves colored to suit the month.



  • Pressed leaves or flowers
  • Plain thin paper, or Japanese rice paper
  • A paperweight
  • Crayons or colored pencil sticks
  • Ribbon
  • Calendar Template


  1. Step 1

    Collect leaves and flowers you like. Thicker leaves, such as those from magnolias or geraniums, work best; many flowers are too delicate, but hydrangeas and Queen Anne's lace are sturdy enough.

  2. Step 2

    Flatten your selections in a phone book or between sheets of newsprint under a heavy object.

  3. Step 3

     use Japanese rice paper or tissue paper to make framed art, a calendar, an album, or wrapping paper.

  4. Step 4

    To assemble the calendar, punch two holes 5 inches apart and 1 inch from top of each page. Tie with ribbon, and hang.

Martha Stewart Living, May 2005

Reviews (7)

  • TracyP 20 Jun, 2012

    Where can I buy Japanese Rice paper and what kind of crayons are best for rubbing? I'm using parchment tracing paper and crayons crayons, but I think other materials would provide better results.

  • Sheryll 4 Oct, 2010

    Well, I am disappointed that you did not provide the months in this template, since I am not good at caligraphy one timy bit. Oh well I guess my gift will be a more rustic than I wanted. (grin)

  • Tiffany_Sun 11 Jan, 2010

    Hi everyone, We have updated the template so you can access the calendar template. We apologize for the delay!

  • Masterdmx 1 Oct, 2008

    This is a great idea. But! I cannot download the Calendar Template.
    This is so frustrating!!!!
    This seems to happen often with other templates as well

  • nigiri 30 Jun, 2008

    Is there another way to get this template? I am unable to access it from the given site.

  • dottyw 25 Feb, 2008

    I would like to use this template but it is not accessible

  • corollapetals 28 Jan, 2008

    the calendar template goes nowhere.