Information

Leaf Print Art Ideas: Making Prints With Leaves

Leaf Print Art Ideas: Making Prints With Leaves


By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

The natural world is a wonderful place full of diversity of form and shape. Leaves illustrate this variety beautifully. There are so many shapes of leaves in the average park or garden and even more in the forest. Collecting some of these and making prints with leaves is a fun and educational family activity. Once collecting is accomplished, you just need to know how to make leaf prints.

What is Leaf Printing?

Leaf print art is a classic children’s project that allows kids to create their own designs. It is also an activity that may be used to teach children about the different types of plants. You can take a family walk and collect a variety of leaves. Next, all you need is a roller and some paint, along with some paper.

Art prints with leaves can be a simple task or professionally detailed. Kids usually just like to make art to put up on the fridge, but they can also make wrapping paper or stationery. Even adults can get in on the action, making fancy paper with gold leaf prints or painted needles. Consider what you are using the leaves for, so you gather the right size.

Stationary or place cards will need smaller leaves, while wrapping paper can accommodate larger sizes. The type of paper is also important. Thicker paper, like cardstock, will take the paint one way, while thin paper, like average office printing paper, will absorb paint in an even more different manner. Do some tests before the final project.

Paint for Leaf Print Art

Making prints with leaves is an easy task that anyone can do. Children may want to do theirs on standard or construction paper. Adults may want a more professional appearance and choose fabric or canvas. Either way the choice of paint will reflect on the project.

Tempura paints are a great choice. Watercolor paint will give a less defined, dreamier look. Acrylic paints are durable and can be used on both paper and fabric.

Once you have both paint and paper or fabric, set up an area to work in that is cleans up easily. Lining a table with old newspapers should do the trick, or you can lay a tarp or plastic yard waste bag down over the surface to protect it.

How to Make Leaf Prints

This art project is ready to go once you have a small paint brush and a roller. The roller will be used to make sure the leaves contact the paper at all points. You could also press the leaves for a day, which will make them flat and easy to lay on the paper.

Paint one side of the leaf completely, making sure to get on the petiole and veins. Gently lay the leaf paint side down on your paper and roll over it. Then carefully pick up the leaf.

Depending upon the thickness of the leaf, it can be used multiple times. The delicate veins and other details will stand out, giving a richly textured pattern and a lasting impression of the day.

And that’s it! Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with this, experimenting with various designs or patterns.

This article was last updated on

Read more about Gardening Projects


Finger Paint Leaf Prints Activity Plan

Observe the different shapes, sizes, and vein patterns of leaves by using finger paints and leaf prints.

Teach This Lesson

Objectives

Children will observe the different shapes, sizes, and vein patterns of leaves as they make fingerpaint leaf prints.

Lesson Resources

Materials

In Advance: Take a walk outside with children to collect leaves that have recently fallen. Upon returning to your classroom, talk about how they look and feel. Invite children to compare the leaves and sort them by size, shape, and color.

Activity

1. Ask each child to find the bumpy side of a leaf — the side with the raised veins.

2. Show children how they can use their fingers to spread a thin layer of finger paint on the bumpy side of their leaves. Talk about how this side of the leaf feels.

3. Ask children to put their leaves, paint-side down, on white paper, place newspaper pages over them, and press to make prints. Children can then remove the newspaper, peel off the leaves (with clean fingers), and marvel at their colorful leaf prints. Compare the physical characteristics of children's leaf prints.

4. Place the prints on a large piece of craft paper to make a fall class mural.

Remember: Finger painting is an exciting sensory experience. Before children make their prints, they might enjoy an extended period of time to freely explore the slippery texture of finger paint.

Spin Off

If possible, take a neighborhood walk or look outside your window to watch leaves falling from the trees. Notice how they glide, spin, or quickly drop down. Then put on some soft music and invite children to pretend that they're the falling leaves. Point out all the different kinds of "falling leaf" dances children are doing.


patch cement
sand
large leaf
metallic paints
water-based varnish
epoxy
seashells
water
buckets
rubber gloves
shallow rectangular pan

Hclvr354_4a

1. Collect some large leaves.

2. Shape a mound of damp sand in a shallow rectangular pan to support the leaf.

3. Place the leaf upside down on the mound of sand and cut the thick end of the stem out.

Hclvr354_4c

4. Place a section of another leaf over the end of the first leaf where the stem was removed.

5. Mix patch cement according to the label directions.

6. Wearing rubber gloves, pat cement over the leaf to a thickness of about 1/2 inch thick.


How to Make Leaf Rubbing Art and Leaf Art Printable

Make leaf rubbing art with all kinds of leaves. My yard if full of different trees and shrubs so I usually grab some leaves from each. You can also use the leaves from different plants and flowers. Experiment, try it out and make up your own pretty leaf art combinations!

  • Fresh cut leaves
  • Crayons – remove the paper wrapping
  • Paper
  • Press n Seal plastic wrap

Note about leaves: Fresh cut leaves usually have the best stems and views and are flexible. Dry or drying leaves can be brittle and break when you try to make leaf rubbing art.

fresh leaves are the key to nice leaf rubbing art

how to make leaf rubbing art

Instructions

Note: I use Press n Seal plastic wrap because it has a slightly sticky side so your leaves will stay in place while you create the leaf rubbing art. You can make the leaf art without the plastic wrap, just be aware the leaves or paper might move around slightly as you’re rubbing color on to the paper.

Watch the video… Take a look at this video to see how I created the leaf rubbing art. It’s really pretty simple once you know how. My secret to success is the press-and-seal plastic wrap. It’s slightly sticking on both sides, so you can lay the leaves on it and they will stay put under the paper a little easier than without.

Step-by-step How to make a leaf rubbing

  1. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap about the same size as your paper with the sticky side facing up.
  2. Place the leaves on the plastic and gently press into place.
  3. Place a piece of paper on top of the leaves.
  4. Gently rub the crayon on to the paper, creating an impression of the leaf below. I like to start gently and gradually add more pressure.
  5. Add additional layers of color and pressure however you’d like. Color the paper to create the leaf design with pretty color blends. No two leaf rubbings will be the same!
  6. I like to layer the colors a few times to get a nice blend of different colors on each leaf.

How to make leave rubbing art

make your own leaf rubbing art

Make all kinds of pretty leaf rubbing art

Different leaves and combinations of leaves will create entirely different designs. I’ve found the stems with tiny leaves are the most difficult to create rubbed art. Play with different shapes and sizes to see what you can come up with.


How to do it

Part 1

Fill a plastic bin with several inches of sand. Spray sand with water, then make a mound of damp sand in the middle of bin.

Place leaf facedown on mound of sand.

Make a mixture of one part Portland cement to one part sand. Add water until mixture is the consistency of thick mud.

Wearing rubber gloves, scoop some cement mixture onto leaf. Spread to cover back of leaf, pressing down lightly to remove air bubbles. Continue adding and spreading mixture over leaf until about 1 1/2 inches thick on middle of leaf, thinning to about 1 inch thick at the edges.

Let cement set for 12 to 24 hours, then lift from sand and peel off original leaf. Use sandpaper and/or a wire brush to smooth any rough edges.

Let cement cure for an additional week before painting, if desired.


How to Make Leaf Prints

This art project is ready to go once you have a small paint brush and a roller. The roller will be used to make sure the leaves contact the paper at all points. You could also press the leaves for a day, which will make them flat and easy to lay on the paper.

Paint one side of the leaf completely, making sure to get on the petiole and veins. Gently lay the leaf paint side down on your paper and roll over it. Then carefully pick up the leaf.

Depending upon the thickness of the leaf, it can be used multiple times. The delicate veins and other details will stand out, giving a richly textured pattern and a lasting impression of the day.

And that’s it! Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with this, experimenting with various designs or patterns.


Watch the video: LEAF PRINTING. Fatemas Art Show