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Leaf Painting

With Fall just around the corner we wanted to show some creative ways to paint with leaves! There are so many different ways you can create art with leaves. Leaf painting is an easy activity that kids of all ages will enjoy. We’ll show you a few different techniques for leaf painting and printing you can try with your kids.

RELATED: Leaf Clay Dish

Leaf Painting

Leaf Painting

We’ll start with the classic form of leaf painting by using your leaf as a print. Leaf printing is where you apply some paint to the back of the leaf and press onto your paper.

Leaf Printing


We suggest using the following supplies: 


  • Apply a generous, even amount of paint to the back of your leaf.
  • Press firmly onto your cardstock making sure to rub and press every part of your leaf so the veins on the back of the leaf will make an impression on your paper.

Leaf Printing with Watercolors

You can do leaf printing with watercolors also! It gives a much different effect and we love the way the impressions of the leaves look.

Leaf Printing With Watercolors

We suggest using the following supplies: 

  • Watercolor Paint – we used this brand 
  • White Cardstock  – we like the 12×12 cardstock since you can fit larger leaves on your paper


  • Apply a generous amount of watercolor to your leaf. Use a few different colors on the leaf to give it a blend of colors on the leaf impression. We used green and yellow, orange and red, and purple and blue.
  • Do not make the watercolor on your brush too watery when applying to your leaf. If it is too watery the paint won’t transfer nicely to your paper. Just add enough water that you can pick up the color with your brush to apply it to the leaf.
  • If you decide to use liquid watercolors, do not dilute them too much so that you have a more concentrated paint color.
  • Press firmly onto your cardstock making sure to rub and press every part of your leaf. This is so that the veins on the back of the leaf will make an impression on your paper.

Leaf Painting Silhouettes

Another way to use leaves to create art is by using the leaf to make a silhouette. You can use regular paint and a sponge to dab around the outside or you can use watercolors. We love the way the watercolors make the leaves really pop!

Leaf Painting with watercolors

We suggest using the following supplies: 


  • Use your double sided tape to tape your leaves down to your paper.
  • Starting with red or a darker, brighter color paint, paint around your leaves to start. Then slowly work your way out with lighter colors and blending the shades together.
  • We used liquid watercolors for this one since we needed a lot to fill our paper. You can dilute the color more for the outside and it makes blending easier.

Puffy Painted Leaves

This art exercise is more process art since the leaves won’t preserve after a day. If you want to do this and preserve your leaves you will need to either laminate your leaves or use contact paper around them. No method of preservation is perfect however, so your leaves may still change color or change slightly when using a preservation technique.

Puffy Painting on Leaves

We were inspired to try this puffy painting technique by the puffy painted designs done by Color Made Happy.

Puffy Painted Leaves

We suggest using the following supplies: 

  • Puffy Paint (also known as fabric paint) – we used this brand
  • Different leaves – we used hydrangea and maple leaves
  • Contact Paper or you can laminate to preserve your leaves


  • Draw on your design before you paint to help guide where to place the dots from the fabric paint.
  • Use bright colors like the neon colors in this set we used so the colors pop off of the leaves.
  • Paint a shape inside the leaf like a heart or you can paint the whole leaf a color.
  • To preserve these, you can use contact paper or laminate the leaves after you’re done. Be sure to let the puffy paint fully dry before you try to laminate or place the contact paper over top. You can also place the leaves under a few books to flatten them and to make sure they do not curl up. It’s important to note that no amount of pressing or laminating will fully preserve your leaves, they will change color and may not last forever.

We’d love to know which leaf painting method is your favorite?

We loved the process of painting with the puffy paint but the outcome and lasting effect of the watercolor leaf printing is also a favorite!

Watch all of the painting tutorials here before you get started!

More Fall Crafts for Kids

Be sure to see these other fun leaf crafts as well: 

Leaf Suncatchers

Leaf Silhouette Art

Fall Bucket List with Leaf Garland

Leaf Clay Dish

For another way to create art with leaves, see how to make these beautiful leaf clay dishes. This is a great idea for kids to make for Thanksgiving table decor or to give as Christmas gifts!

Painted Leaf Clay Dishes

Grab one of our free leaf templates and make a few different crafts like this leaf silhouette art. This is great for kids of all ages since you can use paint, paper, yarn or tape to decorate them!

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