Need a beautiful, accessible project for first graders? This fall stencil project is perfect.
You’ll need to gather about 50 leaves for a 25-student class so that each child has a couple of leaves to choose from. Make sure the leaves are fresh, not the crispy dried ones that have already fallen. This is important as the paint must adhere to the leaf well.
Pour white tempera paint into a paper plate or plastic palette, and add reds, blues, greens and yellows to another multi-paint palette, then follow these steps:
- Place a leaf and a 12 x 18 sheet of black construction paper on each child’s desk/place.
- Put a stack of scrap paper in the middle of the table.
- Place one palette of white paint with appropriate number of brushes in middle of table.
- Demonstrate how to brush the white paint onto the “rib side” of the leaf. Be sure to coat the entire leaf. Place painted leaf carefully on black paper. Cover with a scrap and gently rub the leaf until you are sure all the paint is rubbed on.
- Lift up the scrap paper then peel the leaf off the black paper. Wow! The kids think this part is amazing. I do, too.
- Repeat step 5 at least 4 times. Encourage the children to go off the edge of the page for an all-over look.
- After all the leaves have been stenciled on, bring out the palettes of colored paint along with some small cut-up sponges.
- Using just one sponge per child, dip sponge in colored paint and dab around leaves. Kids can use two colors, or more. Leave it up to them.
Many art teachers and parents have asked whether or not they should apply the colored paint to the black paper first. You certainly could but you wouldn’t achieve the cool black and white affect with the leaves. If you do paint the background first, limit the color choices so that when you stamp the white leaves in place, they will stand out or contrast nicely.
This is one of my favorites for Autumn! What about you? What’s your favorite Fall Leaf project?