Dried leaf art projects are a great activity to do with your kids this autumn. The little ones will love to collect fallen leaves and create dried leaf arts and crafts. Leaves can be painted on, arranged in collages or decorated with these simple of dried leaf art projects for elementary students.
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Dried Leaf Art Craft for Kids
My daughter Chloe and I have been getting into the fall spirit lately. We wrote out our fall bucket list of fun things we want to do this autumn and have been busy checking activities off.
We recently went on a nature walk around the forest near our house. We collected leaves to make dried leaf art and explored the woods and trails near our house.
Collecting leaves and going for a walk in nature is a great learning opportunity for kids. Not only is it great to get some exercise and fresh air but when you collect leaves you can use it as a fun way to identify trees and plants.
How do you dry leaves for art?
Once you have collected your leaves, you need to press them so that they stay flat. If you let them air dry by laying them out on a table they will shrivel up and curl at the edges. You need them flat and relatively smooth in order to make dried leaf art.
The best way to do this is to place the leaves between the pages of big heavy books. If you have an old text book or phone book (do people still use these?) laying around simply place the leaves in between the pages and forget about them for a day or so. The next day they will be flat and dry.
If the leaves are wet with rain, blot them dry first with paper towels. Use additional layers of paper towels if the leaves are especially wet or if you’re worried about staining the book’s pages
If you want to dry the leaves quickly you can put them in-between to pieces of paper towel and weigh them down with a plate in the microwave. Place a bowl of water on top of the plate for safety and microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time until they are dry and crispy.
Leaf Art Animals
A fun way to create with dried leaves is to use them to make leaf art animals. This is fun for kids because it lets them experiment with shapes. Dried leaves can easily be transformed into zoo animals.
Arrange the leaves on a paper and once you have the shape you like you can carefully glue them into place.
Leaf Art Painting
Break out the paints and make a masterpiece on your dried leaves. You can do anything from simple shapes and colors or try a get a little more crazy and paint a portrait or landscape scene.
You can also paint one side of the leaf and press it onto the paper to make an imprint.
Halloween themed dry leaf art
We made these fun jack o lanterns by drawing faces on the leaves with a permanent market. This was a fun way to get ready for Halloween without actually carving a pumpkin yet. Teardrop shaped leaves are transformed into ghosts with a few simple strokes of a Sharpie marker.
Have fun getting color coordinated by arranged the leaves by color. Start with dark leaves and then place them on a paper from red to green and use all the colors in-between.
Dried leaf mandalas
Take the dried leaves and arrange them into fun mandala patterns. It’s relaxing to make patterns and shapes out of the different shaped leaves.
How do you preserve a leaf for framing?
Once your dried leaf art is complete don’t forget to display your work. Frame your masterpieces. Here is how you can preserve your favorite leaves for framing or displaying.
Supplies for preserving leaves with wax paper:
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- Wax paper
- Thin towel or paper
- Ironing board
- Place a leaf between two pieces of wax paper.
- Put a towel or a piece of thick paper over the wax paper.
- Press on the towel or paper with a warm iron to seal the wax sheets together. This takes about 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how moist the leaf is. Once you have finished one side, flip the leaf over and do the other side.
- Cut around the leaf, leaving a small margin of wax paper to ensure that it will stay sealed.
- Rather than cutting out the leaves, you may want to try to peel the wax paper off the leaves, leaving a coat of wax behind to protect the leaves. Try this on one leaf first to see if this method works for you.
Children should always be supervised when using an iron.
How do you like to decorate with fall leaves? Let me know your favorite projects in the comments!