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Clay Leaf Prints and Pendants

by Jean Van't Hul
June 18, 2015
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How to make clay leaf prints and pendants with air dry clay. This easy nature craft project is fun for kids and creates a beautiful finished product.

We love making leaf prints, whether on fabric, paper, clay, or even plaster of paris. The process is so satisfying and the results capture the natural beauty of leaves.

We started making clay leaf prints using air dry clay recently after seeing the idea in Cathy James’ new book, The Garden Classroom. The process is much the same as the nature prints in sculpey we used to make quite a bit, but the material is more kid-friendly and easier to work with.

Here’s how we made these beautiful prints…

First, I’ll show you a video tutorial, then I’ll give you the step-by-step instructions.

Air Dry Clay for clay leaf prints

Clay Leaf Prints and Pendants

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MATERIALS

  • Small leaves and ferns
  • Air dry clay*
  • Wax paper, parchment paper, or a plastic placemat/tray
  • Drinking straws
  • String or elastic thread
  • Watercolor paint (optional)
  • Beads (optional)

*A note about the clay: We used Crayola air dry clay and thought it worked well for this project. We’ve tried Sculpt-It air dry clay before as well and it worked okay, but not as well. Homemade air dry clay would be worth a try as well. As would regular potter’s clay.

Making Clay Leaf Prints with Air Dry Clay

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Arrange your leaf

    Lay a small leaf on the wax paper, vein side up.

  2. Prep your clay

    Pinch off a small piece of air dry clay (maybe a tablespoon or two) and roll it into a ball between your hands.

  3. Set the clay ball on the leaf

    Then press down with the palm of your hand to flatten it.

  4. Remove the leaf

    Carefully lift the clay disk, turn it over, and peel away the leaf.

    Making Clay Leaf Prints with Air Dry Clay

  5. Make a hole to hang your disk (Optional)

    If you’d like to hang your leaf print, poke a hole at the top of your disk with a drinking straw.

    Add a hole at the top of your clay leaf print with a straw

  6. Repeat!

    Repeat the process with additional leaves and clay balls.

    Making Clay Leaf Prints with Air Dry Clay

  7. Let dry thoroughly

    This may take two to three days.

    Making Clay Leaf Prints with Air Dry Clay

  8. Decorate Your Clay Leaf Prints

    If desired, paint the clay leaf print with watercolors. Here are Maia’s leaf prints.

    Painting Clay Leaf Prints with Watercolors

And mine.

Painted Clay Leaf Prints

And Daphne’s. All quite different.

Daphne's Clay Leaf Prints

You can also decorate them with colored pencils.

Color clay leaf prints with colored pencil

Make Ornaments and Pendants with the Clay Prints

Add cord to clay leaf prints to make pendants and ornaments

A great way to use these clay leaf prints is to make an ornament or pendant. To do so, thread string through the hole and tie to form a loop for ornaments or a pendant. Add beads if desired. You can also string several clay disks together into a garland.

Make clay leaf print ornaments

Wouldn’t these make nice gifts?

Clay Leaf Print Pendants with Beaded Cord

Maia made these two pendants for friends. And Daphne gifted one of hers as well.

Clay Leaf Print Ornaments

I made a series of ornaments.

Note: If you make your leaf prints without holes, they can be decorations, part of a seasonal nature table, given as gifts, or used for pretend play (ours were used as pretend cookies quite a bit for a while).

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clay leaf prints

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