Fall Leaf Patterns

3.5 based on 88 ratings

What You Need:

  • Fall leaves, freshly collected from outdoors
  • Cardboard, 20" x 24"
  • Glue
  • Tempera paint, Autumn colors
  • Cookie sheet, that can get paint on it
  • Brayer
  • Spoons
  • White paper, 11" x 14"
  • Rolling pin, optional

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to arrange her brightly-colored fall leaves in a design on the cardboard.
  2. Once she has her chosen design, ask her to glue the leaves in place directly on the sheet of cardboard. Allow the glue to dry for at least 1 hour, if not longer.
  3. Have her place a spoonful of paint onto an old cookie sheet.
  4. Help her to move the brayer over the paint until it is evenly coated over the cookie sheet.
  5. She can now roll the paint-coated brayer over her leaves. She can experiment using more or less paint for different effects.
  6. Have her place a sheet of paper on top of the leaves, pressing it down with an even pressure.  She can even use a clean rolling pin for this part.
  7. Help her to slowly peel the white paper up from the leaves. Invite her to admire all the gorgeous textures and details created by the raised veins and shapes of the imprinted leaves.
  8. Continue making several prints from this same leaf pattern. Have her experiment with different color patterns. She can even use multiple colors on one print. What other things can she glue to cardboard to create prints? The possibilities are endless!

Helpful Tip: Fresh, moist leaves are the easiest to work with for printmaking.

Note: Moist fresh leaves work well for this activity as well, but use freshly fallen leaves for a more eco-friendly spin. Brayers are art rollers and are widely available at art supply stores and school supply stores.

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