Autumn Leaf Printing

Mother nature shows us stunning evidence of the ever-changing seasons: crunchy falling foliage, crooked wintery tree branches, the blossoming of fragrant spring buds. There’s nothing like the first signs of autumn, with the smell of burning piles of leaves and the feeling of the crisp autumn wind whipping around.

Usher in the new season with FUN this autumn with a leaf printing! Use fallen leaves, a smidge of paint and some help from a wee friend or two to create easy works of art even the smallest lad or lady can be proud of.

This easy DIY project takes only a few materials and a few minutes of time.
You’ll need:

  • T-shirt, fabric, paper or other material you’d like to print on
  • acrylic paints
  • wax paper
  • newspaper
  • paper plate or small paper cups
  • small paintbrushes (sized for little hands to use!)
  • brayer or rolling pin (a wine bottle or similar will substitute nicely)
  • iron

Step 1
Collect some beautiful fallen leaves and make sure you choose leaves that are fairly undamaged and not too crunchy. If they’re green and still have some bend to them that’s okay!

Step 2
Lay out your newspaper underneath the fabric you’ll be printing on. If you’re printing on a T-shirt, place the newspaper between the two fabric layers to prevent bleeding. Go ahead and pour small amounts of each of your paints onto a paper plate or into small cups.

Step 3
Wet your paintbrush with some paint, but not too much! Paint the entire BACK of the leaf with paint, taking care not to glob it on too heavily.

Step 4
Place the leaf, painted side down, onto your fabric. Put wax paper down on top of the painted leaf.

Step 5
Roll your clean brayer or rolling pin over the wax paper and painted leaf evenly. Press firmly. Carefully remove wax paper and painted leaf to reveal your leaf print!

Step 5
If you’re printing on fabric, wait until the paint dries and then iron over the top of it to set it.

Have fun with it! Try layering leaf prints on top of each other in different colors, use small leafy branches or ferns or try printing on other materials like burlap, cardboard or recycled magazine subscription inserts. Have any glittery paint? What about glow in the dark paint? Test those out for a special or spooky take on autumn leaf printing.

If you want to get really imaginative, try cutting your leaves, ferns or other organic found items into shapes before painting and then smoothing with your brayer. Paint the inner part of the leaf one color, and the outer edge another color to give your images a gradient pop.

Since autumn also brings the welcome arrival of school schedules and newfound friends, a backpack, school book cover, canvas tote or T-shirt are PERFECT canvases to use for this leaf printing project. Watch your little ones strut their new handmade leaf printed items with style!

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