Sunday, November 20, 2011

Leaf Prints with Sponged Background

This is a lovely leaf printing lesson that has been floating around the art blogs for some time. I orginally saw the project here, at the Cedar Creek Elementary Artsonia site. The Art teacher, Linda Welling, does so many fantastic projects with her students!
I absolutely love the look of leaf prints- so delicate and natural. 
You can see my other leaf printing project here.

This is how we made ours:
Start off by asking the students to gather a variety of leaves before class. They can do this at lunch, whenever. I also collect interesting looking leaves on my walks and store them in a zip-lock bag with a damp paper towel to keep them fresh.
 You need to look for leaves that have strong veins on the backside; not all leaves do.
Flip the leaf over onto some scrap paper. Paint the back with a thin, even layer of white tempera paint.

Then lay it carefully onto a black sheet of paper and place another piece of scrap paper on top (to prevent smudging). Rub all over the leaf with the side of your hand. Peel off the leaf and you should have a nice leaf print. I have students practice in their sketchbooks first, in order to get the hang of it. You don't want too much paint on the leaf, nor too little.

So repeat the process until you have your paper filled.

Once dry, choose a variety of colored pencils and colour in the black parts on the leaf print. For the background, choose one or two colours of paint and carefully sponge all around the leaves leaving a bit of the black paper around each leaf for contrast.

Here are some Grade 8 results:
Ta da!


  1. Beautiful! Thanks for the step by step process. Love the varied outcomes!

  2. Great I like it a lot! It has a fantastic scope to begin discussions about so many things like shape, composition, variation, could use this for so much. I always enjoy visiting here! Lou

  3. As always, I love your posts! This one has such a nice texture to the image! Beautiful! Thanks!

  4. great idea! I’ll follow your blog, is very interesting! I’m an italian art teacher, and i’m looking for new good ideas for grade 7, 8 and 9. Thanks!!

  5. Thank you! Perfect project for combining art and our study of plants....wonderful for our early Canadian Thanksgiving.

  6. You're welcome Liz! I hope your kids had fun with the project :)