Leaf painting: Get creative with leaves

Do it yourself instruction

If you like working with colors and shapes, then you've come to the right place! We will transfer nature's patterns onto paper. Together we'll create colourful works of art by printing and designing with the help of leaves. Discover the many different colors and shapes of leaves and use them in your artwork. Let your imagination run wild!


Get inspired

What can you do with yours leaf printings?
Is there a practical application for your colorful artwork?
Below are a few ideas for your leaf prints and what you can do with them.


  • Suitable for age group: 6 years and older

  • Especially interesting for: creative minds, nature- and artlovers

  • Preparation time: 15 min - 1 hour


  • You need:

  • Leaves, fresh or pressed

  • Paint (various options: watercolour, markers, ink pads, ink)

  • Paintbrush

  • Cup with water

  • Desk Pad

  • Triangle or cardboard

  • Paper


Step 1:
Bring colour to the sheet

You will need your desk pad and should work on it, so that you do not stain the table or floor with paint.

The side of the leaf we want to paint on is the one with the leaf veins sticking out, so we can apply this beautiful pattern to our paper later.


If you use watercolor, mix it well so that the water content is not too high and the color becomes intense.
Apply the paint well to your leaves until they are completely colored.



You can also paint your leaf with felt-tip pens and then brush over it with a slightly damp brush. The paint will be dissolved and spread over your leaves.

Another option is to press your leaf piece by piece onto an ink pad. You can also simply apply ink with a dry brush.


Once your leaf is coloured, you should not wait too long before printing.

Step 2:
Printing leaves

Place your leaf where you want the impression to be. Use the triangle and press your leaf firmly against the paper. Press for several seconds. If the leaf is larger than the triangle, carefully move the triangle and press again. As an alternative to the triangle, you can also use other objects that can be colored and won't break.

Step 3:
Decorate and run wild artistically

Next, you can carefully pull off the leaf, but take care not to smear anything. If something is smudged however, that is no problem, it can also look very cool and deliberately done.

But there are still many ways to design your print differently. Before you peel off the leaf you can, for example, carefully paint the edges with watercolour, so your leaf print later has a beautiful border.

Even after you have removed the paper, you can still trace the edge with a pen. You give the whole thing a nice outline.

After one print has dried, you can also apply a second print overlapping.

There are no limits to your imagination!


There are so many possibilities, just get started!

And now?

You now have pretty printed paper! Hooray!
Here you can find a few ideas for what you can do with it now:

  • First, of course, each of these papers is a work of art in itself, which is worth hanging.
  • But such beautiful paper is of course also great to be used as a cool card (for example, an idea for the next homemade birthday card 😉).
  • You can also use it well as wrapping paper for small things.
  • Of course, you can also craft other beautiful things with it (booklet cover, bookmark, anything you can think of).
  • With the leaf printing technique you can also decorate objects.
  • For example, you can print the cardboard spine of a school notebook.
  • With fabric paint you can also print textiles in this way.

Created by Amelie Heilmaier

Naturkundemuseum Bayern
Botanisches Institut
Menzinger Str. 67
80638 München, Germany


Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-411
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Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-422
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