Are you the kind of artist that sees the world as your canvas? If you answer “yes” to that question, chances are that you are constantly looking for unconventional platforms for your artwork.
If you haven’t tried to paint art on leaves before, prepare to meet your new favorite medium! There are so many types of paintings that you can do on a simple leaf, from abstract and understated pieces to intricate ones. The best part is that you can stop spending money on expensive canvases at the art store—these leaf canvases are available for free right in your backyard!
Here’s what you’ll need to start your stint as a leaf painting artist:
- A collection of large, broad leaves collected from the ground in your garden or neighborhood
- Small paintbrushes (for painting details)
- Paint (acrylic or watercolor)
- Glitter (optional)
- Spray paint (for certain ideas)
- Sharpies (for certain ideas)
Glitter Leaf Garland
Let’s get right into it with an adorable glittery leaf garland. While you could certainly go out to a home decor store and buy a garland that is made from plastic glittery leaves, making your own out of fallen leaves is a much more eco-friendly option. It’s very easy too since all you will need is a collection of leaves (duh), some white glue, and some glitter. You will also need a piece of ribbon or string in order to pull it all together as a garland. It’s the perfect decoration for autumn — check it out here.
Here is a great one for the kids. After all, what kids don’t love to put on a puppet show? Now they can make their very own puppets out of leaves, of all things. This craft idea consists of painting leaves and attaching them to a popsicle stick to use them as a “puppet”. This idea is totally toddler-appropriate and will 1) help them garner an appreciation for nature and 2) help them flex their creativity.
This craft is a fun one for Halloween. When you think about it, leaves make the perfect ghost, especially if they’re maple leaves. The leaf pattern seen in maple leaves is the perfect shape for a ghost’s arms and body. Check out the tutorial here — this one should definitely be on your list for Halloween craft ideas.
Marbled Fall Leaves
What a cool and unique idea this is! We absolutely love how this marbled leaf creation can be made by using shaving cream of all things. It’s a great way to involve young children and to also give them a bit of time for sensory exploration.
We’re not sure what it is about space exactly, but all things intergalactic are super in as of late. Maybe it could be tied to the popularity of zodiac signs in general? No matter what, we love how pretty “galaxy” patterns are, like the one shown in this galaxy leaf tutorial. This craft design is completely…wait for it…out of this world!
What’s not to love about owls? These fluffy nocturnal birds fill our neighborhoods with soothing “hoots” and look adorable. For whatever reason, owls are also commonly associated with the autumn season, so it makes sense to make one out of leaves! This idea comes from a website that also shows you how to make a number of other animals, but we especially love the owl idea.
Not every craft has to go all out — i.e., it doesn’t have to be an elaborate operation filled with glue, glitter, and paint. You don’t have to do the works, you just need to have a bit of creativity. Case in point: these mandala leaves are created using only metallic sharpies. Amazing how such a beautiful piece of artwork can be made out of something so simple!
Leaf Painting for Toddlers
Toddlers are natural craft enthusiasts. Not only are they inclined towards curiosity, but they also enjoy working with their hands and getting messy! As we stated earlier, using leaves as your canvas is a great way to instill an appreciation for nature in your toddler. It is also a great early opportunity to teach them about ways to recycle materials and reduce waste. Check out the handy guide to leaf painting for toddlers here.
This feather garland is so pretty that we can’t believe that it is actually made from fallen leaves. As you can see from the photo, the artist behind this took the time to paint every leaf with an individual, unique pattern. The end result is a beautiful decorative hanging garland that is completely Instagrammable.
Fall Leaves on Canvas
So this one isn’t technically a tutorial for painting on a leaf, but it involves the use of leaves, so we thought that it was close enough to include. As you can see, this unique painting idea shows you how you can paint over leaves on a canvas to make a beautiful autumn-inspired piece of art. Because you’re encasing it in paint, this should be able to be displayed as a decoration all year round.
Did you know what a zentagle is? Personally, I didn’t know before writing this list. But it turns out that a zentagle is a “tangled collection of dots, lines, and swirls.” Basically, it’s a relaxing way to create a pattern that doesn’t have to follow a particular set of rules. While usually zentagles are made on a piece of paper, you can also make them on leaves! This is such a fun idea. Check out the original source over here.
Simple Leaf Painting for Kids
Some of the options that we have included on this list are pretty complicated and, as a result, not that well-suited to kids. Fear not, here is a leaf painting idea that is specifically designed with kids in mind. It’s a very abstract idea, as it basically consists of throwing paint at a leaf. But the end results are honestly stunning and will prove to be a valuable keepsake for years to come.
Painted Leaf Mobile
Did you have a mobile in your room as a young child? If you’re not aware, a mobile is a decoration that is suspended in the air and designed to spin. It can feature shapes, animals, or various characters. This painted leaf mobile uses a collection of colorful painted leaves and glitter-covered leaves. The end result is stunning and perfect for the room of a child or an infant. We absolutely love its pastel color palette, too.
This is another example of beautiful glitter leaves, except this time it comes with a twist. Instead of covering an entire leaf in glitter, this tutorial puts glue just around the spine of the leaf to create a different kind of design. It’s unexpected and really cool. For something even more different, you could make a collection of glitter leaves — some that are fully glittered and some that only have glitter around the spine. Glitter is in, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Spray Paint Galaxy Leaf
As we said, galaxy patterns are super “in” in the crafting world, so why not have another option for painting one on a leaf? Although the word “galaxy” brings up images of complicated asteroid belts and star constellations, it’s actually a lot easier to paint a galaxy than you might think. This tutorial stands out as different because it uses spray paint and features a video to fall along with. A great project to do outside.
Have you ever tried scratch art before? Instead of drawing on a piece of paper as you would in a traditional piece of art, “scratch art” involves scratching away at a surface to reveal a pattern underneath. The result is a particular look that is created only with scratch art. This is also not technically a project that involves the use of fallen leaves, but you could always trace a real leaf if you wanted. Otherwise, you can create the appearance of an authentic leaf by making one out of scratch art.
Painted Oversized Leaf Artwork
This is definitely one of the more intense tutorials on this list, but don’t let that discourage you! If you are determined to make a piece of artwork for your home using real leaves, you will want to look no further than here. This shows you how you can make a beautiful collage from fallen leaves. All you will need is a canvas with a painted background, as well as metallic paint or glitter to paint the leaves with. Then, finally, you’ll need a hot glue gun to glue the leaves to the canvas. The result is stunning!
Gold Spray Paint
We will round this list off with one more example of a metallic glitter leaf — and this one is simply exquisite. The leaf is spray painted so beautifully that it doesn’t even look real (but the cool part is that it is because it’s completely made from a dried-up leaf). This looks so professional that you could even give them away as gifts.
Nature is beautiful enough on her own without us adding our human creative touches. However, leaf painting can take nature from beautiful to gorgeous! Which leaf painting are you going to take on first?