Thursday, October 22, 2015

Leaf Prints Tutorial

I recently made up some cards for autumn to send out in my card exchange group. As I was making them, I thought the printing process would make a good topic for a crafting post!

This is such a simple craft. All you need are:
- acrylic paints
- a small piece of muslin cotton
- green leaves. I used maple leaves, but any kind of leaf will do. It works best if the leaf is still green and pliable. Don't use the brittle leaves that have already turned colour and fallen to the ground as they will crumble if you use them for printing.
- muslin cotton (or other white fabric, or you can print directly onto paper)
- paper towels (important!)

First cut the muslin cotton to a size to accommodate the size of leaf you are using. 
You can use the same leaf several times.

Have a work space set up and all ready as you have to work quickly ... acrylic paints dry fast. I use laminated place mats for my work surface. I picked one up at the thrift store for a dollar.

Paint the back of the leaf with the paints using a small sponge. You can use a wide soft paint brush instead of the sponge. I just find the sponge doesn't show the brush marks as much. Cover the back of the leaf well with an even coat, but don't have the paint too thick, or the details of the leaf will be lost.

Quickly turn the leaf paint side down onto the muslin cotton. 

Next place a piece of paper towel over the leaf and press down on paper towel with your fingers. Hold the leaf in place with one hand, and rub your fingers across the leaf's surface with your other. You want to wipe the leaf from the centre outwards in one direction only. Don't rub the surface back and forth as you will risk moving the leaf and ripping it. Work at this quickly as the paint dries fast and you want to have it absorb into the cotton before it dries.

The paper towel is key in this project. The paint bleeds out from underneath the leaf, but the paper towel immediately absorbs the extra paint and leaves you with a very crisp outline of the leaf on the cotton.

Paper towel laid over the leaf and ready for printing.
Now lift off the paper towel ...

... and carefully peel up the leaf ...

You should have a fairly clear print of the leaf showing the veins. You can use a few different colours on the leaf if you like. I used red, orange and yellow and didn't worry about how the paints mixed together on the leaf.

Once the paint is dry, you can use this print for cards or bunting, or whatever else you can think of. For the cards I made, I stitched the printed cotton directly onto a blank card with my sewing machine. You can print the leaves onto paper or cardstock as well using the same method. Just don't forget the paper towel! I also printed some maple keys the same way, and they turned out great too.




  1. This is such a fun craft to do. It was one I did in school with kids for many years. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Fabulous - as always! Such a simple but very cute idea and perfect for Canadian's who can find some nice maple leaves! I guess that we English could use an English Oak leaf too! xx

  3. Lovely! This is something I want a to try. Thanks for the tutorial :)

  4. These are so pretty! Thanks for the instructions!

  5. Very nice, Wendy! My card is sitting on my fireplace mantel.

  6. Very pretty and effective. The smaller print on the envelope is a nice touch too.

  7. Nice to see how you crafted our cards Wendy and after the season it will go into my card box to take out in the future to enjoy again.

  8. What a fun project. Your cards are beautiful!

  9. Wendy!
    These turned out lovely, I would so enjoy making these.
    Thank you for the tutorial!

  10. Your leaf-print card is sitting on the bookshelf just across from where I'm typing. Love it and like Judith, it will go into my autumn decor box. Thanks for telling us how you made them!

  11. I just love this Wendy! So pretty. ;) Thanks for a wonderful tutorial!!

    Hope your Dad is doing well. Blessings to you both. xoxo

  12. Thank you for this fun and easy tutorial, Wendy! I can foresee my desk turning into a printing press for this project :)



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