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Kid Craft: Fall Leaf Prints

By Sherryl LaPointe

This month, we’ll be using some of those leaves that are falling into your yard. This is a great autumn project to do in preparation for the Halloween and Thanksgiving season!

The first thing you will want to do is take a hike and find some leaves. They don’t have to be pretty, but they should have prominent veins, interesting shapes, and preferably, not be too dried out; you don’t want them to crumble.

There are several possible surfaces on which you may want to use them. I will describe these and then describe the technique, which will be basically the same. The materials will also be the same, with the exception of using fabric paint if you choose to paint on fabric.

Materials

  • Covering to protect your work surface.
  • Coverings to protect clothing (smocks)
  • Leaves
  • Paper for practice (I suggest watercolor or card weight, because it can be used for cards if the practice piece comes out looking nice)
  • Paints — either acrylic or fabric, depending upon your project choice
  • Brushes — I recommend the discardable sponge type brush
  • Plastic or paper plate, to use as a palette.
  • The item you want to paint

You may decide to paint any of the following items, or use your imagination for other ideas (I would encourage painting flat objects for first ventures into this craft):

  • Stretched canvas (available at art stores or Walmart), for making wall hangings
  • Paper, to make bookmarks, book covers, wall art, etc.
  • Fabric, to make skirt borders, valances, tablecloths, etc.

Realize that any age child could manage an acceptable paper-based creation, but the cloth-based ones would probably take more skill and experience.

Technique

1. Place the leaves in a pleasing pattern on the surface to be painted. At least, for the first project, I don’t recommend any overlapping.

2. Very lightly, with a pencil, trace the leaves. You do not want the pencil lines to show in your finished creation.

3. Place a small amount of paint on the palette and brush it — not too liberally — on the back of the leaf, OR spread the paint onto the palette, thinly, and press the back of the leaf on it, as if it were a stamp pad.

4. Place the leaf inside the pencilled outline and press the veins. These are what you want to stand out in your artwork. You may also want to press the edges in order to define them, but the center of the leaf is not so important, except for the veins. If you are using cloth, you will need to see that it is pulled “tight” when doing this step, so the prints will be even. Someone may need to hold it in place for the stamper.

5. After you have printed all the leaves, carefully set your masterpiece aside to dry.

6. If you are doing a fabric project, follow directions on the paint bottle for “curing” the paint.

Enjoy your fall leaf artwork!

 

Sherryl LaPointe, a retired teacher and children’s minister, lives with her husband, Harris, and dog, Muffin, in Gulfport. They enjoy frequent visits from their daughter, Linette. Sherryl enjoys pursuing many hobbies including crafts, art and writing.

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