Autumn Leaves Painting

Autumn Leaves Painting

Autumn Leaves Painting with Kids

We try to change out the front door stained glass artwork with the seasons—always keeping it fresh and seasonal. So last week, we made an Autumn leaves painting and hung it in place of the spring/summer artwork that had been up for months.

We’re not surrounded by Autumn leaves outside yet but there are a few, and there’s a nip in the air at night. Fall is definitely here and we were ready to make a new welcome to our house artwork.

Here’s how we made it:

Autumn Leaves Painting

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Making a Crayon Leaf Rubbing

1. Arrange your leaves together on the table, vein side up. Place the sheet of paper over the leaves and tape down the corners to hold it in place. (You can even tape the leaves down by the stems if you like, although we don’t usually bother.)

Making a Crayon Leaf Rubbing

2. Using the broad side of an unwrapped crayon—or a crayon rock—rub firmly over the paper to reveal the leaf skeletons. Use different crayon colors if desired.

Autumn Leaves Painting - Watercolor resist

3. Paint over the crayon leaf rubbings with watercolor paint for a crayon resist effect.

Watercolor resist with crayon leaf rubbings

Watch the watercolors bead up and slide off the crayon lines yet soak into the paper.

Autumn Leaves Painting

We used vibrant liquid watercolor paints, but any watercolors would work (you can see the more muted effect of regular watercolor paints in this leaf rubbing version we did a while back).

Autumn Leaves Painting

Something we did a little differently this time, is define each of the leaves with paint so it looks more like an Autumn leaves painting and less like an abstract painting.

Autumn Leaves Painting on the Door

4. For hanging our Autumn leaves painting on the front door, I glued the top edge around a thin dowel-like curtain rod using a hot glue gun. You could do that with a regular wood dowel for hanging on the wall as well if you wanted and just hang with a ribbon or string.

Autumn Leaves Painting on the Door

5. You could hang your painting up as is, as Daphne chose to do with hers, or you could paint the back of the painting with vegetable oil to give it a translucent stained glass effect as I did with our joint artwork.

Have you tried leaf rubbings with your kids yet? With or without watercolor paint?

Autumn Arts & Crafts Ideas & Supplies

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See our FALL family fun list on my Amazon storefront!

It includes supplies for fall arts & crafts (including the best paper leaves for painting!), autumn toys, Halloween ideas, and picture books about autumn.

Plus, we have lists of the best kids art supplies, open-ended toys, children’s games, and more!

Fall craft bundle graphic

Get our new Autumn Arts & Crafts for Kids workshop! 

This is an online workshop with 10 fun fall arts and crafts activities that your family can enjoy all autumn long. Use coupon code KASHALFOFF for $9.99!

Plus a bonus of 10 fall-themed drawing prompts!

30 September Activities for Kids Free Printable Graphic

Download our FREE printable idea list of 30 autumn activities for kids & families!

Or just check out the blog post with the links… So many fun ideas for fall!

Pin It For Later

Autumn Leaves Painting
Autumn Leaves Painting


  • Reply
    Deborah @ mommycrusader
    September 16, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    What a fabulous activity! It looks like a lot of fun. We’ll be giving it a try to welcome fall to our home too. Thanks for the post and the ideas!

  • Reply
    Carla Enrici
    September 19, 2014 at 2:45 am

    This looks great, going to set this up for today’s activity. My 3 will be able to join in together at 5,3,1! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Rachel C.
    September 2, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    We tried this today and thoroughly enjoyed it. Our leaves are still all green (summer is looong in Texas!), so 6yo did his own rubbings and then painted fall colors from his imagination. I helped my 3yo do his rubbings and then he painted them. Such a fun process with lovely results. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Annette Jacobs
    October 28, 2018 at 10:15 am

    I like your creation. We made scarecrows this week and just have finished up to the contour lines. My goal is to do a paint resist work of art with my kids. I have a few question since I just read about this activity . Does the child need to color the whole scare crow first or is it okay to have them color parts of the scarecrow and then paint over their work. We used a heavier piece of white construction paper for our scarecrows. I am interested in leaning more about painting the back with vegatable oil. I would appreciate it you would help me out with answers or where to look.
    Mrs. Jacobs

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      October 29, 2018 at 8:05 am

      Hi Annette,

      You can do a watercolor resist artwork by drawing with crayons or oil pastels first and then painting over it with the watercolor paint. You don’t need to color the entire picture with the crayons first. Whatever you don’t color with the crayons will be filled in with the watercolor paint.

      As for painting the back with vegetable oil, the reason we do this sometimes is to make the paper more transparent so we can hang it in the window and let the sun shine through. You can use any paint brush or foam brush and a light-colored and light-smelling vegetable oil such as canola oil (olive oil is not the best for this). This technique works better with paper that is not too thick. The thinner the paper, the more transparent it will become (for example, don’t do this with watercolor paper).

      Good luck!

  • Reply
    Martha Neyman
    September 6, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    What great ideas! So glad you live next door to my daughter, but wish you lived next door to me. My grandson here loves art projects.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      September 11, 2019 at 5:55 am

      Thanks for the comment! Do you and your grandson like to do art activities together?

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