How to draw and paint large scale leaves and flowers

Large Scale Tropical Flowers & Leaves



Last summer, I hosted a workshop in Santa Barbara. The event center was rather bland and barren, so my team of fantastic 16-year olds painted large scale flowers and leaves to pair with our Science & Nature theme. We posted the bright painted tropical flowers around the stage area and did the best we could to brighten the dull room.

I was so surprised that throughout the 2-day event, many art teachers had the same questions:

How did you make the flowers?

What paint did you use?

Can I have them when you’re finished?

I was a bit surprised as the flowers were about as easy as you can get in terms of slapping paint onto a piece of paper and cutting them out. But I understand. There is just something special about seeing something so large and colorful. Imagine how you students will feel when they create these large-scale flowers on their own?

This is what you’ll need:

  • 24″ x 36″ white or colored sulphite paper (yes…the same paper we use for all of our projects but order the large size)
  • Liquid tempera paint OR Crayola acrylic paint
  • Large brushes like Chubby or brushes from the paint store
  • Scissors
  • * optional: Mod-Podge and fine glitter


How to draw & paint large-scale tropical flowers and leaves from Deep Space Sparkle

Take some time to mix beautiful paint colors. Give yourself permission not to pour straight from the crayola bottle and instead create your own. Use the handout in the download (scroll down) for reference. 

Here are a few tips for the tropical flowers:

Always add white to whatever color you are mixing. Even if it’s just a dash, the white will brighten the colors.

Use the color wheel as a guide. Mix colors that are beside each other to achieve slight variations of secondary and primary colors

Use plastic containers with lids or mason jars to mix paints. While the paint won’t last forever, this container system means you can save your paints for a few weeks.

How to draw & paint large-scale tropical flowers and leaves from Deep Space Sparkle STEP 2

For leaves:

Use a relatively large brush to paint. The reason is that you want a brush that can hold a lot of paint. Draw the stem first and then add the contour shape for the overall leaf shape.  Draw the stem from one corner of the paper to the other so that you can make the leaf as large as possible.

How to draw & paint large-scale tropical flowers and leaves from Deep Space Sparkle STEP 3

For flowers:

Start in the center of the paper. Feel free to use white or any color of paper. Show children how to paint starting with a dot and painting round and round until the dot gets bigger. Use the lightest color in your palette (yellow).

Without cleaning the brush, dip paint brush into the next lightest color and paint a ring of color around the dot. Start to round the strokes so petals start to form.

Add one more layer of petals with the next color. This time the petals can be more defined or prominent.

How to draw & paint large-scale tropical flowers and leaves from Deep Space Sparkle STEP 4

Finish the leaves and tropical flowers with smaller brush and black paint. This is optional of course, but it really adds great details. Use black sparingly or add many details. It’s up to you!

How to draw & paint large-scale tropical flowers and leaves from Deep Space Sparkle STEP 5

Books about tropical flowers and Leaves

I love a great book to pair with lessons. Here are a few books to pair with this lesson:

Wild World by Hvass & Hannibal and written by Angela McAllister

The Wonder Garden by Kristjana Williams and Jenny Broom

Planting a rainbow by Lois Ehlert


Large scale tropical flowers with color mixing PDF

Posted by Deep Space Sparkle on Thursday, April 26, 2018


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  • Denise

    Never having art when I was young, I am loving all the art projects as much as the kids (actually, I think I love them MORE! ?).

    • Patty

      I know what you mean…when I do these lessons I feel like I’m a kid!

  • Julie

    Thanks for the freebie but mostly for your bright positive attitude that infuses energy into a wonderfully presented project of flower and leaf painting that is good for ALL ages. You are an encouragement to us all who love art and your video presentation is very effective with many good tips. Thank you! Looking forward to your book! Must be a dream come true 🙂

    • Patty

      Thank you so much for saying that. Really. You have no idea it is to hear comments like these. And yes, the book IS a dream come true. 🙂

  • Nathalie

    This kind of detailed and simple information is SOOO useful for people who know nothing about art. Thank you very much for making it easy to follow and not overwhelming with unnecessary words 🙂

    • Patty

      You are so welcome!

  • Sharon

    I always send for the pdf’s but I NEVER RECEIVE THEM.

    • Patty

      We send the PDF automatically to the email address you give us BUT your server might not be accepting our domain. I would suggest whitelisting deep space sparkle so that your email provider will recognize our name and send you the PDF.This can be the care with aol and hotmail servers. Hope that helps!

  • Deborah

    Freebie pdf please! Love your creativity and generous spirit.

  • Rene

    Thank-you so much for the great book recommendations that go along with this lesson. I work as a storyteller and programmer in a public library, so I love using art as an extension activity with school-age storytimes. Your work is awesome!

  • Barb Canterbury

    Thank you so much! Love the tropical flowers and leaves! Congratulations on your new book!

  • Sue

    Love these gigantic flowers….I’m going to begin these with my students to be ready for Mothers Day!

  • lynnwongconsulting

    I enjoyed the tutorial. Please do more of these thank you,

    • Patty

      Will do. You can join me live every Thursday at 3:30 pm Pacific Time on the deep space sparkle facebook page 🙂

  • Christina

    Beautiful and amazingly simple!

  • Libby Dibb

    This is such an amazing resource!!! I love this.

  • jwestland

    Thank you! I love being able to include video demonstration. It is like having a special guest in the classroom!

  • Michele

    I would love to become a Sparkler! Thank you, Patty. You are awesome!

  • ronnie

    You are wonderful!

  • susana

    what a fun and efective lesson

  • Sara

    Can’t wait to try this. Thank you so much!

  • Danielle in France

    I loved this video and your positive spirit made me feel like I (a 41 year old teacher) was back in my elementary school art class. What a pleasure! My students, who are learning about trees and insects, are going to love this project. Thank you!

    • Patty

      Thank you! I’m so happy you enjoyed the video and that you can take some tips back to your classroom!

  • Halima

    The demonstration was amazing. I learnt something very important.

  • Shula Murdoch

    Lovely flowers and easy to do

  • Tammy Click

    I love your lessons and videos

  • Jackie Jacobs

    Thanks for this great lesson. I agree it’s great to allow kids to just paint large and freely. Most are not getting this experience at home.

  • Blainey kern

    You have a wonderful presents you should continue on with what you’re doing it’s fabulous!!
    Blainey Kern in New Orleans Louisiana

  • Belinda Thompson

    I love books that go along with the lessons too.
    Thank you,

  • Sandra Elms

    Really interesting topics and well set out, easy to follow. Thank you for your help in these unusual times

  • Susan

    You are an amazing art teacher!
    Thank you for all you do !
    Please add subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to your presentations. I am a Deaf teacher who teaches Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.

    • Team Sparkle

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you for your kind words. This an older post, please know we are trying to add CC whenever possible on new videos 💗
      t’s very important to us that every child can join in on our new projects and lessons.

      -Hannah (Team Sparkle)

  • Marisa

    I love your art and videos.

  • Johan

    Beautiful and amazingly simple!

  • Amy Losson

    Just watched your tutorial on the tropical flowers and leav es. Great ideas and love your enthusiasm! My question is what would you suggest for minimizing the cleanup in a classroom with 15 kids. Our desks are too small for the large sheets of paper. I’m fairly new to teaching art. I’m teaching 4th grade.

  • Belinda Thompson

    I am trying to find the Tropical Flowers & Leaves Video. Where can I find it?
    Thank you

  • Cynthia Camacho


  • Princy Solomon

    Wonderful ways of teaching

  • Louise Milan


  • Louise Milan

    lovely Patty!

  • Thangamma

    Thank you ! Love the work you are doing

  • Chloe Vandwater

    it is amazing and fun

  • Ede Andrade

    4th and kindergarten students

  • Bee Lee L Tullos

    Thank you so very, very much. We are creating a tropical rainforest in our library and I want the students to paint all of the leaves.
    This lesson is perfect.
    On a cart this year – giving everyone colors of paint is a challenge but is possible.

  • Lucie

    Thank you for this lovely idea! Cannot wait to try it out with my kids in class!

  • Marcia Okpala

    I love the summer Tropical flowers and leaves.

  • Clare Shannon

    I’m doing a term of art based on the Junior Moana Production. This is perfect! Thanks!

  • kajumaire

    Thank you!

  • Cindy Moore

    This is perfect for our upcoming open house and school theme of “Wild About Learning.”

  • Lydia Mulqueen

    My class really enjoyed this lesson, thank you so much!

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