In the Garden – 8 Leaf Inspired Art & Craft Activities

The Garden - Claude Monet
The Garden - Claude Monet

Good afternoon! Today we are exploring art and craft activities based on leaves, trees and flowers. I am going to share some tried and tested favourites, and some things I have found that I really want to try out! 

Leaf Art and Craft Activities

Spray Painting Leaves

Here is an idea that Jake and I did when he was just two years old, and we have meant to do it again every year! I’d really like to try it on a canvas, or even on tea towels with fabric paint to make gifts! It’s a great process art activity that can lead to some lovely results! All you need is a spray bottle, some water based paint, a surface, and some leaves. 


If  you want something bigger or more beautiful, try this fence painting idea from Mulch Media, or these stunning canvases from My Part of Space

Printing with Leaves

Printing with leaves is a straightforward idea that many of you may have done before! Nurturestore have a good post on it, and I really like the idea of printing on rocks, like Projects with Kids have shared here: 

Magic Leaf Rubbings

watercolor_resist_leaf_rubbing_2-683x1024

We talked about leaf and bark rubbing in our drawing workshop on leaves and flowers, but this is a great extension of that simple idea! It uses white crayon resist with watercolours over the top. Click the link from Kitchen Table Classroom, for all the details. 

Clay Leaf Bowls

Clay leaf bowls are really easy to make and they are lovely ornaments to have in your home, or even to give as gifts, once finished. This is Poppy’s leaf bowl, that she made at our “real life” art camp last year. 

To make it you need: 

 – Air or oven dry clay 
 – A rolling pin
 – Scissors or a craft knife
 – Leaves with well defined veins 
 – Paint – poster or acrylic works well 

 

First choose your leaf, then roll out your clay so it is big enough to press the leaf onto – you don’t want the clay too thick or too thin, about 1cm probably works the best. 

Roll the leaf into the clay so the veins and edge press lines into the clay. Then, carefully cut around the leaf shape. Once this is done, you can carefully peel the leaf off the clay, then gently shape the clay leaf into a curve. We used bowls to get our curved shape, and placed the clay leaf inside the bowl before putting in the oven at a low heat (about 120c) for an hour or two to harden. 

Once the clay is hard, leave it to cool before gently removing from the bowl. Then you can paint your leaf bowl! Poppy chose autumn colours, including a lovely gold metallic paint, you could paint yours in any colour you like! 

Maple type leaves work really well for this, but we didn’t have any at the time! 

Leafy Creatures

You may remember this idea from our animal week! Simply collect some leaves and see what leafy creatures you can make! 

Leaf Printing without Paint

If you are into Forest School you may have come across this idea before! Its a really fun, hands on activity that utilises nature’s very own paint – chlorophyll; a natural green pigment found in leaves and grass! 

You need some white or cream cotton – old sheets or tshirts work well, a hammer, a hard (but not too hard) surface, like a chopping board, and some leaves. The idea is that you hammer the leaves under the cotton, and the chlorophyll is released, leaving a lovely leaf print behind! 

We found that sturdier leaves like ferns, honeysuckle, and apple worked really well. The softer leaves get a bit more smushed and you don’t get as much definition in the shape or pattern. 

Obviously remember, safety first, with this activity – teaching children how to use tools safely is very important! We found that although the green faded a bit into a more burnt umber type of colour, it didn’t wash out and we still have our leaf flags on top of our tee pee! 

Leaf Threaded Mobiles

Richard Schilling

Leaf threading is a great fine motor activity for adults and children alike, plus when you make long chains like the ones pictured, they make beautiful hanging sculptures for your garden. The Kids Classroom have a great post on how to do it, check it out!  

Leaf Lanterns

How-to-make-pressed-flower-paper-lanterns-680x454

These paper mâché lanterns are just beautiful!!! I really want to try these. Click over to Chalking Up Success for the tutorial.

UPDATE – I started making one of these this afternoon – its is currently drying in our sun room – I will share when it’s finished 🙂 

 

That’s all for now! Let me know if you make any of these, share on our FB group, or drop me an email – I would love to see! 

Tomorrow morning I will share the Takashi Murakami artist study, and in the afternoon we will get to the flower art and craft projects! Here is your afternoon reading, and your journal prompts… 

Afternoon Reading

Here is a poem by the great Shel Silverstein – Poet’s Tree 

Journal Prompts

You could go back to the drawing workshop for your journal pages today, or here are some other ideas: 

  • Fill your page with leaves of all shapes, sizes and colours
  • Press some leaves into your journal, you could label them, or draw around them… 
  • Draw your favourite tree across the whole page 
  • Draw around your hand, then fill it with leaf vein type patterns
  • Write about leaves and trees, maybe a poem, or just some free writing 
  • Sit or lie under a tree in your garden or a park, look up and watch the leaves dance in the breeze… if its sunny see how the light dapples through the leaves… how does it make you feel? 
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Katherine is a mixed media artist, art teacher, writer, designer, photographer – and mum of 2 – who works and lives in North Devon, nestled in the woods on a little smallholding. She has a BA in Performance Studies, an MA in Fine Art, and an MFA in photography, alongside a background in early years childhood and special education. Katherine uses her artistic talents, passion for helping people, and unique creativity to create articles, courses and classes that promote creativity, artistic skills, self expression and well-being. She believes in the power of the creative arts and how engaging with them can improve so many aspects of life.
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