Leaf Paintings




Fall leaves art project

Looking for a quick Fall art project? Inspired by the amazing Laura at Painted Paper and her O’Keeffe Inspired Leaves, my Kinder classes looked at leaf shapes and discussed the common features in the leaves. We looked at the stems and the veins plus the various shapes the leaves created. In Santa Barbara, few leaves are turning yet so I didn’t have any great samples. I brought in a few pictures to look at.

All you need for this project is: a piece of paper (we used 12″ x 18″ yellow sulphite paper), some oil pastels, and some black liquid tempera paint (watered down a bit) and some medium brushes.

To draw a leaf, the children drew their own stem and then decided what type of leaf they wanted. We concentrated on drawing wiggly or big arching lines that expanded away from the stem. Some kids still drew their leaf lines close to the stem, but that’s okay.

To build those little finger muscles, the children divided their leaf into shapes and colored the shapes in colors from a tray of Fall-like oil pastels colors.

Fall leaves draw, color and outline

I was a bit surprised at how quickly the children colored in their leaves! I had to rush to put out the trays of black paint. It’s helpful to have these paints in containers with covers. This is my third year using the same containers and I have never washed them out. And no, they aren’t smelly.

I had originally planned to have the children cut out the leaves and then paint the contour line and veins. I somehow forgot and ended up having the children paint first. We placed the leaves on the drying rack and a few helpful 6th graders cut out most of the leaves for their little friends. Just a note on this: Like I said, my plan was for the Kinders to do the cutting so in the end, allowed the 6th graders to help. The big benefit is that now the Kinders can move onto another art project next week!


Want more lessons for your fall art activities? Download this lesson guide by clicking the yellow button below and we’ll send you a PDF on How to Draw a Pumpkin!

What do you think?

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  • Danielle Fleming

    Wow! what wonderful ideas. Can’t wait to try these activities with my Pre K and K classes.

  • Lori Kidder

    I’m going to look like a crazy lady on my way to work at 6:30, stopping to pick up leaves so I have a variation for my pre kinders! Thank you for your wonderful site, I’m a displaced librarian who landed up in Young-5’s. I often turn to your site for ideas, and they ALWAYS work!

  • Melissa H.

    These are great. FYI, laminate some leaves, and you’ll have them whenever you need them. The teacher before me laminated them, over 10 years ago, and they’re still going strong. I just realized this year, that they are older then most of my students!

    • Lisa Denuit

      We can not get fall leaves here In Phoenix until December, and then, not many. I had parents bring me some from up north, over ten years ago. I laminated them and they are just now starting to wear. Great idea!

  • Molly S.

    Wow! This is such a helpful site. Thank you so much. Your school is lucky to have art classes and you. Keep up the good work

  • MaryLee

    Where did you purchase containers for paints with covers? They sound like a great investment.

    Mary Lee

    • Patty Palmer

      As you can see in the pictures, most can be found for free. The yellow and black ones are yoghurt containers. I like to buy clear plastic containers at a kitchen supply store. $4/100.

  • Christina Beauchemin

    Beautiful project! Once the leaves are cut out, how do you display them? Just thinking that they would curl up when drying.

    • Patty Palmer

      You can display on a bulletin board or around your classroom mixed with other Fall-based art or projects. I don’t experience much curling. Make sure to use Sulphite construction/drawing paper and liquid temper a paints. When hanging, use thumbtacks or putty.
      Should work out fine. 🙂

  • Sue Blewett

    I am a volunteer Catholic Religious Education First Grade teacher. I found your site a few years ago and I am so grateful to you for all of your lessons. You inspire me. I did the Santa Barbara Mission and the parents loved it. I am going to try the seal painting and incorporate the theme of God’s creation. Thank you so much for your sharing!

    • Patty

      So happy you found us!

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