As part of my kindergartner’s Waldorf-inspired Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum, we recently made leaf prints. The directions didn’t say anything about turning the prints into cute little people, but how could I resist? (Be sure to stick around for the end of this post to find some other fun ideas from a few of my blogger friends.)
Now, you’re probably thinking, “leaf prints…that’s pretty straightforward” and you would be mostly right. Even turning your leaf prints into characters doesn’t require great artistic skill, as you can see. However, in doing this with my kids, there were some tricks that I learned that I think will be helpful if you want to try this with your kids too.
- Consider which side of the leaf you want to use to make the print. The first couple stamps we made, I put the glue on the back of the leaf so that we would be making the print with the darker colored front of the leaf. However, if you would like to see the leaf’s veins in your print, it’s better to put the glue on the smoother front of the leaf. Either way is totally fine, but you get a different effect.
- After gluing the leaf to the foam board (or whatever you decide to use), it’s best to put a book or something heavy on top. The first stamp we made got a little wrinkly, because we skipped this step. Also, if you are going to use a book, it makes sense to put a piece of paper or something between the leaf and the book. Make sure to wipe away excess glue before you do this, otherwise the paper will be glued to your stamp and you’ll need to spend time picking off all the little glued-on pieces of paper. (Ask me how I know.)
- Lastly, we tested out many different types of paint (tempera, acrylic, watercolor, powder) and different amounts of paint. In my opinion, a thin layer of acrylic paint (from a tube, not a bottle) worked the best, but none of the results were obviously bad. (Results of the other paints can be seen below.)
My kids had so much fun making these prints. Honestly, they’re just thrilled whenever I let them use paint.
My son actually was so happy with the way the paint looked on this leaf stamp that he never even used it to make a print. He just saved it “as-is” to show daddy when he got home from work.
- pressed leaves
- foam board (or cardboard or something else flat and sturdy)
- Sharpie-type marker (optional, if you want to draw faces)
- paper or card stock
Supplies & Tools:
- self healing cutting mat and x-acto knife (could also just use scissors)
- paint brush
- First, press some leaves and let them dry out overnight. We used our botanical field press, but you could also just use a heavy book. If you’re interested in our press, it is extremely overpriced on Amazon (affiliate link). We got ours from Rainbow Resource for $16 (not an affiliate link).
- Next, squeeze some glue onto the leaf. If you want to be able to better see the veins in the leaf, be sure to squeeze it onto the darker colored front side.
- Spread the glue around with a paint brush.
- Place the leaf on foam board or cardboard glue side down and flatten.
- Cover with paper and a book making sure to wipe away any excess glue and wait for it to dry. We waited about an hour.
- Spread paint on the leaf.
- Push leaf stamp down on a piece of paper or card stock.
- Lift the stamp to reveal your beautiful leaf print.
- If desired, draw a simple face, arms, and legs onto your prints after they dry and paint or color in a background.
Note that we tried several different types of paint. The paint in the pictures above was acrylic paint squeezed from a tube. We also tried bottled tempera paint, powder tempera paint mixed with water, bottled acrylic paint, and watercolor. Here are some of the other results.
Experiment with what you have and see which effect you like the best.
Check out these extra fun fall activities for your kids from 6 of my blogger friends!