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How to Make Leaf Prints: Fall Crafts for Kids

If you’ve ever wondered how to make those gorgeous leaf prints using colorful fall leaves, I can tell you — they’re easy enough for the kids to do!

Seems like we’ve had a good dose of chaos at our house this month — the kids had 5 days off from school for Fall break, my youngest hurt her foot and is in a leg brace and we started a kitchen reno.

Daily mantra:  breathe, breathe 😉

I’m a HUGE fan of Fall so I try and take every opportunity I have to get out and soak up the season; however, this year I could really use a few quick activities that don’t require many materials or set-up.

If you haven’t seen our Science & Art of Leaf Rubbings activity, be sure to see how to mix things up when making these classic Fall crafts.

But this year, we were also looking for something a little different —

Enter Leaf Prints!



Creating Leaf Prints

Since we are still enjoying the beautiful colors of Autumn in our area so we took advantage by create a quick and lovely leaf print!

Leaf prints are so super easy to do — all you need is a good piece of white paper, a hammer and some colorful leaves.  I’m including affiliate links for the items we used so it’s easy to find them or read the details for each!


Collecting Fall Leaves

Look for a variety of colors — yellow, orange, red, marroon — then you’ll have a nice variety of hues on your paper.  This also allows kids to see what colors are really in the leaf as the print will show a few shades of each color.

Lay out your leaves on a nice heavy sheet of paper (we used Watercolor Paper).

Snap a quick photo and share with us on Instagram (I love seeing foliage shots)!


Hammer leaves for a beautiful picture

Cover the leaves with a paper towel. 

Hint:  this will become part of the project so make sure you have one nice sheet instead of just small ripped up pieces.

And don’t tell the kids what will happen — let them guess or just be surprised 😉


Creating Leaf Prints

Next step: Hammer leaves!!

I can’t tell you how much the kids love to do this — using a hammer and banging on something, it’s just a cool thing, right?!


Life Skills Tip:  This is a great opportunity to teach them how to control a hammer. 

You want small, direct hits on the leaf.  No weilding the tool above your head and make sure fingers are out of the way (you may want them to wear safety glasses if this is their first experience with a hammer)

And a kid-sized hammer is perfect for this project.  It’s got a smaller handle (usually with a really good grip) and a lighter head.  Here’s a link to a Light Steel Claw Hammer like the one we use. 

If you don’t have a Children’s Tool Kit at home, they make a wonderful holiday gift!  It’s really good to have tools of their size around the house if you have kids who enjoy helping with projects.


Make a Leaf Print

Once you hammer around all the areas of your leaves, peel the paper towel and leaves off of your paper.  As you can see above, the paper towel will have some beautiful leaf prints too!

And if you want to sneak in some quick science, tell the kids about how leaves change colors due to the chlorphyll in each leaf. 


Make a Leaf Print

And their mirrored images on paper look just as beautiful. 

There you go — a quick, easy and beautiful project for the weekend!


Leaf Rubbings

And if you’re looking for more leaf ideas, check out our ramped up ideas at the Art & Science of Leaf Rubbings or some great books to take on your own Leaf Hunt!



20 Outdoor Fall Science Activities

40 Fun Fall Activities {free printable list!}

Create a Fall Nature Tray

18 Autumn Scavenger Hunts


Happy Fall!

~ Jacquie