Gravestone Rubbing Alternatives

Gravestone rubbing alternatives is a list of things that you can do to continue pursuing your passion for gravestone rubbing without actually getting involved in the process of rubbing gravestones as such. Now, there are many reasons why someone might have to look for gravestone rubbing alternatives and the main reason is the absence of cemeteries where they allow you, legally, to carry out gravestone rubbing.

Gravestone rubbing is a hobby followed by many, if you think about it, but when it comes to finding people who are like-minded, you might struggle to find someone who lives near you despite the thousands you might meet and talk to over the Internet. That means, resources are few and when it comes to local knowledge, resources are also quite limited. So, if you are the only one in your entire town or in your side of town who practices gravestone rubbing, then finding out information about local cemeteries, supplies and more might be harder to come by.

What's more, sometimes you might have a cemetery around your place that allows you to pursue your hobby, but the tombstones are so delicate or fragile that you cannot really put your cloth or paper on them and rub wax over it without damaging the stone. This is especially true when cemeteries haven't been maintained much or the weather in a particular place is not really what it needs to be.

So What are your Gravestone Rubbing Alternatives?

When it comes to finding out ways to continue practicing your hobby, you can try out some of these gravestone rubbing alternatives to keep things moving along. They may not be as labour and material intensive as regular gravestone rubbing but when you have no choice, these gravestone rubbing alternatives will really help you out.


Sometimes, the best way of copying the information written on a gravestone is to just copy it out on a piece of paper, whichever medium you prefer. You can sit right in front of the stone and copy out every single little detail on the stone, in the right shape and position, with the help of a pencil, a piece of paper and maybe a scale (for the design and positioning). If there are spelling errors, you leave them on; if there are mistakes in the shapes, you leave them on; basically - you need to copy things exactly how they appear!


If you are not confident about capturing every detail like it is, then photography is a great way to get around that problem. All you need to do is make sure you have a tripod to keep the camera steady, place it directly in front of the gravestone and position the camera to get the right shot. Once you have it, you can always take it back to a photo editing software and get the kind of effects you want on it. What's more, your shots don't have to be from directly in front of the gravestone - you can even choose to take pictures from an angle, capturing a bit of the surroundings as well, as long as the text on the gravestone is legible.


In case the inscription on a gravestone is just not legible, then you can use a mirror to reflect bright sunlight directly across the face of the gravestone. This ensures that any letters on the stone will cast a shadow on the stone, thereby making things more legible for you to transcribe or take a photograph of. In wooded areas or when the sunlight isn't bright, you can use a flashlight to get the same effect.

Some Gravestone Rubbing Alternatives to avoid

A search around the Internet will throw up many alternatives to traditional forms of gravestone rubbing but you need to be careful about what you decide to choose. For example, if a tombstone is encased in cement, then you shouldn't even think about removing the cement encasing if you are trying to get an impression. Only professionals with the right equipment are authorized to do so.

Also, you might read in many places about using shaving cream to clean up the inscription on the gravestone - stay away from that! Shaving cream has many chemicals that will not get washed off completely and as they continue to linger on the tombstone, they will cause damage to it as well as discoloration. There is no real way of preventing the shaving cream from going into the pores of the stone so avoid this at all costs.

Finally, you might also find information on dusting flour, as gravestone rubbing alternatives, onto a tombstone to make the markings clearer. This is another big no-no because if you do use flour, some of it will get left back after the cleaning process, against due to the same reason as shaving cream - because it gets into the pores. Then, when it rains or if water falls on the tombstone, it will mix with flour to create more problems, fungi and accelerate the degeneration process of the stone.

So when you get into the process of finding some excellent gravestone rubbing alternatives but remember, the best alternatives are always the one where you don't have to touch the gravestone at all. What's more, with these prescribed gravestone rubbing alternatives, you can go to any cemetery, even ones that don't allow rubbing, and practice your hobby!

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