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…
(I’ll include a video tutorial at the bottom of the post.)
Clay Leaf Prints and Pendants
- 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.
1. Lay a small leaf on the wax paper, vein side up.
2. Pinch off a small piece of air dry clay (maybe a tablespoon or two) and roll 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. Carefully lift the clay disk, turn it over, and peel away the leaf.
5. (Optional) If you’d like to hang your leaf print, poke a hole at the top of your disk with a drinking straw.
6. Repeat process with additional leaves and clay balls.
7. Let dry thoroughly. This may take two to three days.
Here’s the video tutorial of the process ::
8. If desired, paint the clay leaf print with watercolors. Here’ are Maia’s leaf prints above.
And Daphne’s. All quite different.
You can also decorate them with colored pencils.
9. 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.
Wouldn’t these make nice gifts?
Maia made these two pendants for friends. And Daphne gifted one of hers as well.
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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