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.
Painting Leaf Rubbings
- Leaves (the fresher and less brittle the better)
- Easel paper (or other thin paper)
- Watercolor paint in Autumnal colors (liquid watercolor paint works great)
- Vegetable oil (optional)
- 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.
- 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.
- Paint over rubbings
Use watercolors to paint over the crayon leaf rubbings, creating a watercolor resist effect.
Watch the watercolors bead up and slide off the crayon lines yet soak into the paper.
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.
- 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.
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.
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!
More Fall Arts and Crafts for Kids
- How to Make Autumn Leaf Suncatchers
- How to Make Autumn Leaf Art with Chalk Pastels
- What to Do with Autumn Leaves
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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