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Our Favourite Arts and Crafts Projects Using Leaves

Kids love to get out the glue and paints and make a masterpiece... here's a few low mess options this autumn

 

Crafts are fun all year round, but they can be messy!

In collecting our favourite Autumn Leaves projects we've tried to give you a variety of projects that range from only using glue, to bringing out the paints and glitter (if you can stand it). The level of mess is up to you!

The autumn is a great time to combine a family hike with a crafting session later on or even the next day! Why not do some research on British leaves or take a leaf identification sheet out with you and try to identify the leaves you are collecting. Find out what trees are in your area and try to find one of each leaf! Or if your children are smaller, set tasks such as finding the smallest or biggest leaves on the ground.

When you bring the leaves home, let imaginations run wild and prepare to be amazed at the colourful creations you are about the see.

Remember to collect leaves off the ground when you are out and about. The greener leaves will be more pliable, as leaves that have already started to dry are more likely to crumble when you use them.

Arts and crafts for kids... with leaves!

The more different shapes, sizes and colours you can find the better! Happy hunting and happy crafting!

Leaf prints

Materials:

  • Leaves  
  • Paint
  • Paper Towels
  • Paper Plates
  • Paper

Instructions:

  1. Collect leaves - Don't pick leaves off the trees, but make it a game to see how many different, freshly fallen leaves you can find. The more varieties the better.
  2. Once you are home, cover an area with newspaper or a drop sheet and set up your paint station.
  3. For the paint station you will need several colours of paint, paper plates and paper towels. Place a paper towel on each paper plate and pour paint onto the paper towel. Not too much, just enough that the paper towel can absorb it, but remains wet.
  4. Spread out your paper (whatever you want to use for a canvas, white or coloured paper, or if you are really adventurous, why not get a roll of paper and make your own wrapping paper), make sure it is pulled tight.
  5. Take a leaf and press the bottom side (the one with all the veins) onto one of the saturated paper towels. Remember you want to coat the leaf but not use too much. The more paint you use, the more the paper will pucker as it dries. This is even more important if you are making wrapping paper!
  6. Place the leaf onto the paper and apply pressure from the top. When you peel the leaf off, you should see an imprint of the leaf. It might take you a few attempts to get the amount of paint just right. Experiment by overlapping or rotating the leaves, or mixing your colours.
  7. Let the paint dry and find a place to showcase your art.

Note: This can be applied to other materials as well. Are you having a birthday party? Why not get plain white t-shirts for all the kids, take them out leaf collecting and use fabric paints to apply the principles above! Not only have they had fun, they have something to take home!

Leaf animals

Leaf AnimalsMaterials:

  • A variety of leaves
  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Crayons, Pencil Crayons or Markers (depending on the age of children)
  • Miscellaneous materials

Instructions:

  1. Look at the different leaves and brainstorm what animals or insects you think you would make.
  2. Use the leaves to create a part of an animal or insect. It could be the body of a bear or the wings of a butterfly.
  3. Glue down the leaves in the place you want them. Let them dry enough that they don't move around if you touch them. Using a glue stick will make this easier, but white glue usually holds the leaves better when dry.
  4. Once the leaves are stuck to the paper, use your drawing utensils to add other features, whether its ears or lady bird spots, giraffe necks or elephant legs, this is a chance for children to use their imaginations.

Note: If your children are learning the alphabet, this is a great exercise to help them practice! Why not make one for every letter!

Leaf beating

This activity is for older kids and/or with supervision.hammer

Materials:

  • Green Leaves
  • Hammer or small rock
  • Piece of white or very light coloured cloth. Muslin or T-shirt material preferably.
  • Glue
  • Thumb tacks
  • Wooden Board
  • A blank notebook

Instructions:

  1. Take one or two leaves and lay them out on the wooden board.
  2. Place a square of cloth on top of the leaves and pin it to the board. Make sure it is pinned down tightly as you don't want the cloth to move.
  3. Take your hammer or rock and bang on the cloth repeatedly. The leaf will stain the cloth green with chlorophyll and leave behind a replica of the leaf/leaves.
  4. Give the chlorophyll a few minutes to dry and then glue the cloth to the front of the note book.

Note: These make a great journal for the child, or a homemade gift for family or teachers!

Stain glass leaves

Good for rainy days!

Materials:Stained glass leaves

  • Black construction paper
  • Glue
  • Multiple colours of tissue paper

Instructions:

  1. Draw an image of a leaf with pencil on your black construction paper. Then draw another line about half an inch further out. 
  2. Cut out the shape and you should be left with an outline. Trace this same shape again and cut it out as well.
  3. Take one of your cut outs and lay it down on a work surface. Start gluing pieces of coloured tissue paper to fill in the hollow middle of the leaf shape. You can use one colour, or many colours, remember it's your leaf!
  4. Once the whole area is filled in, take the second outline and glue it to the first one, covering up all of the tatty ends of the tissue paper.
  5. Hang your leaves somewhere that the sunlight will come through and admire your very own stained glass!

Note: You can make multiple leaves and hang them from a stick, coat hanger or other material to make a mobile.

Newsprint leaves

Leaves and Newsprint

Materials:

  • Newspaper
  • Thick White paint
  • Coloured paint
  • Big Leaves

Instructions:

  1. Lay a piece of newsprint flat on the table. Place the biggest leaf you can find on the paper and trace around it with a pencil.
  2. Take your coloured paints and paint the newsprint you have just traced the leaf in. Try to stay within the lines, but don't worry, we are going to trim it later!
  3. Once the newsprint with the leaves is dry, cut out the leaves and place to one side.
  4. Take another piece of newsprint and cut it into a square that is bigger than your leaf.
  5. Paint a big square of white paint on the newsprint you have cut, leave an inch or more of newsprint around the edge.
  6. While the paint is wet, place your coloured leaves onto the white paint and let the paint dry.
  7. Once the paint has dried, hang your masterpiece and enjoy!
 
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