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How to Make a Fall Leaf Painting with Leaf Rubbings

by Jean Van't Hul
September 21, 2022

Learn how to make leaf rubbings for kids. Then turn these into a colorful fall leaf painting activity using the watercolor wax resist method.

Updated September 2022

Do you remember making leaf rubbings as a kid? It’s one of those classic fall art activities. For this project, we took it one step further to create a fall leaf painting using the watercolor resist wax resist method.

This fall leaf painting activity is the perfect thing to hang in a window or glass door. The light shines through the lovely leaves and makings a stunning addition to your home.

child making leaf rubbings on paper for autumn leaves painting
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Painting Leaf Rubbings

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  1. Set up your materials

    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. For an extra secure work area, you can even tape the leaves down by the stems, but it’s not necessary. leaves vein side facing up

  2. Create leaf rubbings

    Using the broad side of an unwrapped crayon, rub firmly over the paper to reveal the leaf skeletons. Use different crayon colors if desired.

    blue leaf rubbings

  3. Paint over rubbings

    Use watercolors to paint over the crayon leaf rubbings, creating a watercolor resist effect.
    watercolor resist leaf paintings
    Watch the watercolors bead up and slide off the crayon lines yet soak into the paper. child-making-leaf-paintings
    For this painting, we made sure to define each of the leaves with paint so it looks more like an Autumn leaves painting and less like an abstract painting.

  4. Hang your painting

    To hang you Autumn leaves painting, you can glue the top edge around a thin dowel, using a hot glue gun. Or you can also just hang with a ribbon or string, or even tape to your door or window.

    autumn leaves painting on door

  5. Optional:

    You can hang your painting up as is, or you can also paint the back of the painting with vegetable oil to give it a translucent stained glass effect.

    light shining through leaf painting

Have you tried leaf rubbings with your kids yet? If so, be sure to try this next step of adding watercolors to create a lovely fall painting!

Photo by Rachel Withers

More Fall Arts and Crafts for Kids

Want even more Fall fun?

Check out our Autumn Creativity Pack!

This 34-page printable eBook is full of Autumn-themed art activities, drawing prompts, creative play ideas, and more!

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autumn leaves painting pinterest

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