Leaf Prints for our Tree Study

Leaf prints are not difficult to do, but so gratifying when you see your creation, even for the youngest artist.  We are studying trees for our naturalist unit, and leaf prints were an easy way to get a lot of new trees on the pages of our nature journals.  It was a messy project taking lots of room and a little clean up afterwards, but not difficult in its execution at all.

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What you need:

  • A brayer
  • A flat surface like a plate or sheet of plastic to apply paint to the brayer
  • Ink or in our case Guanche paint straight from the tubes with a sprinkling of water
  • Lots of paper
  • Leaves! Lots of leaves
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First decide the color of paint that you want to use and apply some to your plate.  Roll the brayer back and forth to apply paint to the brayer.  There is an art to this process. You will first notice that the paint does not go all the way on the brayer. You may have to lift it up, pull back, and go in the same direction a few times.

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Place a leaf vein-side up (upside down) on a fresh sheet of paper and roll the brayer over from all different directions to apply paint to the leaf. This is a messy process. You will likely get a lot more paint on the paper than the leaf like we did.  It is helpful to hold the leaf with your fingertips so that it does not roll itself around your brayer.

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Place the painted leaf paint-side down on the piece of paper that you want your leaf print applied. In our case it was our nature journals. Place a fresh sheet of paper on top of the painted leaf. Holding the leaf with a fingertip through the paper to keep it from slipping, rub all over the leaf through the paper.

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Lift the paper and then carefully peal back the leaf and you have a beautiful print.

IMG_2470Here are a few samples from my youngest (6yo):

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And a few from my oldest (12yo):

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