On a scale of 1-10, kids love fall leaves maybe an 11! And what’s not to love with so many fun colors and piles of leaves swirling around outside as the weather turns. My fall leaf printing monoprint art lesson was SUCH a hit with my preschool and kindergarten kids and with my own girls. I hope you try this one either in the classroom or at home- it’s so much fun!
fall leaves of varying shapes, sizes and colors
scrap crayons for rubbing- papers removed
black acrylic paint
a smooth surface for rolling paint (plexiglass works or plain old tin foil!)
heavyweight paper (cardstock or watercolor paper)
This lesson has two parts: creating the rubbings and exploring the leaf printing monoprint process.
First, have the kids arrange leaves under their paper for the leaf rubbings part of this project. You want the kids to explore how the veins of the leaves show up (it’s magic!) and how interesting the shapes are. Layer different colors, trade leaves with their neighbor, see how dark the stems get when rubbed. The kids were SO excited to see the leaves and veins appear like magic. It was awesome to watch them explore this process!
Leaf printing process art:
This is a great lesson to talk about leaves in general. Reggio Emilia schools really value inquiry based and process learning so we combine all kinds of learning into “art” lessons in the atelier. What kind of tree did these leaves come from? Why do they change colors? What are all the veins for? I am forever impressed with how curious these kiddos are and love the questions we all get to explore together while we are creating.
After your kids have created interesting papers by covering them all over in leaf rubbings, you can move on to the monoprinting portion of this lesson. I have help in my art room and am able to “man the paint station” so to speak and give each child a turn with this process. If you can’t do this, I suggest creating a few different print stations and letting the kids rotate through in small groups.
Leaf printing as an intro to mono printing.
I modeled how to gently use the roller (too much muscle causes the roller to suck up too much paint!) and create a smooth black surface. Next we gently arranged a few leaves on the black paint nice and flat. Lay your paper down on top of the leaves and paint and gently but firmly rub the back of the paper all over. Make sure to rub the entire thing with decent pressure especially around any leaf stems.
Help the kids peal back their paper to reveal the magic!
You could break this leaf rubbing and monoprinting lesson into two separate lessons. Alternatively, you could also do them in reverse order or with black crayons and colored tempera paint so the crayon shows through. Try skipping the leaves and use scraps of paper or practice cutting and cut out your own leaves. You could make the monoprint with leaves then use another drawing tool to practice line drawing the leaves and their veins back into the negative space.
An exciting byproduct of this lesson is a print you can make after removing the leaf rubbing print and the leaves. There is a really neat impression left in the paint that makes another really interesting type of monoprint. Such an unexpected bonus.
I kind of think these need to be framed and hung up in my house. So good, right?!
Happy Thursday friends.