Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The seasons are changing and leaves are falling. Celebrate this colorful time of year with your own painted masterpiece! All you need to put this fun project together are some leaves, construction paper and paint.

What you'll need:
3 leaves that have not yet fallen
Heavy, thick book
Construction paper
Hot glue
Paint brush
Acrylic paint in yellow, tan and red
White paper or construction paper

How to make it:
The best leaves for this project are still attached to the tree. Find leaves that are turning colors but aren’t completely dried out. You need one leaf for each color you will paint.Press the leaves in the pages of a heavy book. Leave overnight.Remove leaves from the book. Look at the underside of the leaf. Brush off any debris, pollen or dust that may have gathered there.Fold a piece of construction paper in half.Hot glue the front side of the leaf to the construction paper so that the underside is facing up.The underside has the veins and lines of the leaf, the front side is smooth.Using a paint brush, paint the underside of the leaf with a generous amount of paint. Be careful to paint only the leaf and not the construction paper it is glued to.Using the leaf as a stamp, press it down carefully onto the white paper. Hold it in place and gently rub the construction paper so that all areas hit the white paper.Carefully remove the stamp and repeat this process with your other leaves and colors.Allow to dry completely.

Try this project with an assortment of different leaf shapes and a variety of colors. A great way to decorate your own wrapping paper or paper bags for a Fall party!

Be sure you gather leaves that still have some life in them. Try gently bending the leaf. If it breaks easily, it’s too brittle for this project.

If you plan this as a class project, either do it in steps or prepare ahead of time. To do it in steps, have children gather leaves and press them in books the first day, prepare their stamps the next, and finally paint on the last day.

To prepare ahead of time, have children gather leaves, then have parent volunteers prepare the pressed leaves so that all the class has to do is paint.

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