Colorful Prints Of Leaves
leaf prints
(Image credit: Xanya69)

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.

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

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.