Leaf Printing – Nature Craft For Kids While You Do Your Chores


Printing with leaves has to be one of the all time easiest nature craft activities you can do with your children.

Your kids will love making pictures with leaves because it gets them outdoors foraging for stuff, and they get the added bonus of being as messy and paint covered as they like creating masterpieces that will look amazing on Grandma’s fridge!

Leaf printing also has the extra advantage in that it’s something the kids can do with the minimum of supervision, which means that they can be busy at the kitchen table while you get on with washing the dishes or knocking off a couple of chores.


  • Leaves from the garden, park or street and a little bag to collect them in.
  • Poster paints in different colours.
  • Paint brush or anything that you can use to apply paint.
  • Plastic tray (recycled food packaging) as a paint palette.
  • Paper, whatever size and quality you have to hand. White, coloured or both.
  • Plastic table cloth or newspapers to paint on.
  • Pinny or apron for the little ones (and the big ones if you’re messy).

Leaf Printing

Optional Materials

  • Grass heads to paint with.
  • Sycamore seeds for dragonfly wings.


Step 1 – Gathering leaves to print with

Leaf Printing Collecting Leaves

You can find leaves in any season. Perhaps by the end of the winter they may be a little the worse for wear, but there are always evergreen leaves. If you have a friendly gardener with a few evergreen shrubs I’m sure if you ask nicely they’ll donate a few leaves to your budding Picasso.

Fall is obviously a great time for leaves and also for sycamore ‘helicopter’ seeds which make awesome dragonflies – see below.

Kids love being outdoors, my grandkids nag me like crazy to go outside, no matter wht the weather is doing.


Step 2 – Leaf Printing

Back indoors, get the plastic tablecloth out, and don pinnies.

Squeeze a few blobs of poster paint onto the corners of a plastic tray – recycle these from your food shopping.

Leaf Printing

Grab a leaf and sparingly daub some paint onto one side. You can use one colour or mix colours on sides. Get creative! Don’t go too heavy with the paint, you want to see the leaf veins if possible. But if you are doing this with 2 year olds then whatever!

Leaf Printing

Press the leaf, paint side down onto your paper and peel back. Ta Dah! Instant art.

Leaf Printing

Leaf Printing - 5

Hey Presto! A leaf print appears by magic.

Leaf Printing

Leaf Printing

Step 3 – Making Dragonflies from Sycamore Seeds

This will turn a regular print into something magical.

Dragonfly Printing

If you found any sycamore seeds then you can paint one side and print onto the paper four times to make the wings of a dragonfly.

Dragonfly Printing

If you were lucky enough to find one of those grass or barley seed heads with the two pronged ends, you can use this as a paintbrush to gently pat onto the paper to make a dragonfly head and antennae: see the picture…

Dragonfly Printing

Loads of amazing abstract leaf and dragonfly prints.

Big pat on the back (check for paint on fingers first!)

Leaf Printing

Ramp it up

Go large with a group of kids.

Get a roll of backing paper and do the whole thing outdoors – tarp optional.

If they know their letters, have them print their names, or print a giant heart with lots of individual leaf prints and colours.

You are only limited by your imagination!

Brilliant for a kids party in the autumn.


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