Purple Twig- Art Exploration for kids. A mom run small business in Los Angeles. Stop by to see the trials and tribulations.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Making Leaf Prints

Aaaahhhhh Autumn. Dreaming of a reprieve from the dry summers here in Los Angeles. One of the many things I love about our ongoing classes is that our projects constantly revolve reflecting and celebrating the season. Leaf printing over tissue paper watercolor is a project I have been doing since I opened the studio 8 years ago. We now do this printed leaf project with ages 2 to 10

The tissue paper painting never ceases to delight all those ages. Discovering a new way to paint, mixing colors and not feeling the pressure to paint something representational can be so rewarding.

Here’s what you will need.

-Watercolor paper- the size you like
- Bleeding tissue paper- torn into shapes about 5”X 5”
- Cup of water
- Leaves- we gather these from the ground on a walk
- Water based printing ink- which is a bit thicker than paint but paint will do as well.
- A Brayer or small paint roller from the hardware store
- A plastic placemat or piece of plexiglass

We make this project in 2 steps. We do the tissue paper painting in one session of class and the leaf gathering and printing in another session of class.

For the tissue paper painting-

I have the kids paint water onto their watercolor paper. I spread the torn tissue paper around the table so the children can choose their colors. Place a piece of tissue paper on the painting. Paint it with water. When soaked, peal the tissue paper away and discard in a bowl so it doesn't get all the other tissue paper wet. Repeat as desired.

When painting is dry we set out into the neighborhood with baskets to look for leaves. Leaves that are still fresh and not dried work best for the printing. We try and find different shapes of leaves.
Back in the studio I put black ink onto a piece of plexiglass and gold ink on another. You can use other colors of course but I find that the dark colors sit nicely on the bright paintings.
Using your brayer or paint roller, spread the ink around the plexi and then onto the leaf. Using the brayer is much more successful than just pressing the leaf like a stamp.

Moving to the printing, place leaf with the ink side down and use a clean brayer or a rolling pin to press leaf down. You can use your hand to press but the brayer does work best. Learning to use new tools is always exciting and helps children to feel independent and self-sufficient.

Repeat until desired.

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