September 21, 2011

Autumn Leaves Painting and Painting Tips

Here is a pretty leaf painting which is lovely for autumn when painted in reds and oranges and great for spring when painted in shades of green. And it doesn't use real leaves - it uses contact paper cut into leaf shapes.


This is actually an Autumn version of the Negative Space Painting that Ava did for Easter two years ago. This time, we made leaf shapes and used acrylic paint instead of watercolors. Afterward, we cut the paper into rectangles and glued it onto white, heavy paper to make attractive cards.

This painting project is great for kids of any age, because it looks cool when it's done, and little ones get a great result just by spreading paint around. The more imperfect the painting job, the better the results, in my opinion. Heavy paper, paint, paintbrush, scissors and contact paper are all you need. Check out the steps on our post Negative Space Painting.

From contact paper, cut out leaf shapes, and then let your child
stick them to their paper as you peel off the contact paper backing.
Then let them paint all over!

Grandmas have a knack for this, of course.

After the painting is done, peel off the contact paper! Pretty, don't you think?

Ava made cards, and then we glued the trimmed painting to the fronts.

Ta-da! What a nice Autumn greeting to receive in the mail.

Painting Tips
Also, here are a few simple, general painting tips:
  • Designated painting aprons or old shirts are always a good idea. Enough said.
  • Designated plastic placemats are great for protecting the table. You can also use an old party tablecloth, or an old shower curtain liner cut to an appropriate size.
  • Taping down the paper onto the placemat prevents sliding around.
  • Empty styrophome egg cartons make excellent disposable paint wells. Cut the carton to make the size more manageable. Also, cleaned icing containers (like the ones that come in Pillsbury cinnamon rolls) work great for holding paint or water!
  • Water down acrylic paints just a little bit to help them go farther and last a little longer.
  • Control the paints you give your child (particularly younger children). For example on our Autumn Leaves Painting, I only gave my children red paint and yellow paint. With those, they were able to create orange, and all three colors look nice together when the project is complete.
  • If you don't already have paints at your house, you can pick up a set of watercolors (brush included) at the dollar store or department stores, so painting doesn't have to be expensive. After your watercolors have been used up, keep the brush! Soon you will have a small collection of brushes you can use for more children and other paint projects.
  • After your child's artwork is finished and completely dry, brushing decoupage glue on top using a small sponge brush can give their artwork a nice finished look.

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