The leaf print activity crosses disciplines of botany and art. Using leaves will promote learning about trees, the function of leaves, different shapes and classifications of leaf arrangements. In art the discussion can be about choice of image placement on the shirt, the size of leaf to use, and paint colors, prompting thinking about patterns - which loops back around to the pattern of leaf arrangement on a branch.
Hang a gallery of examples of printing with leaves with your own work (which prepares you understand the opportunities and limitations) of the process. (Hint - save work from year to year for the gallery).
Ideas - You can either randomly print as many impressions of one leaf, or multiple leaves, on the shirt, or you can plan the placement of the impression(s) ahead of time. Consider the season - in the spring the paint color choice would be light and delicate, summer would be evoked by more intense colors, and autumn by yellows, reds, oranges, and browns. If you overlap colors be careful - the colors may mix on the fabric.
If your school has trees consider printing squares of fabric with different leaves from your “forest” and assemble into a quilt or wall hanging - it would be a nice way to commemorate the school environment.
- clean light colored poly-cotton blend t-shirt or fabric,
- acrylic paints (textile medium is optional),
- a piece of cardboard to slide between the front and back of the t-shirt,
- wax paper,
- paper towels,
- containers for water,
- newspapers to protect work surface,
- smock to protect clothing,
- and leaves (or something else that would leave an imprint, such as a hand).
- Put the leaf on a piece of wax paper and paint with a thin layer of paint.
- With clean fingers pick up the leaf and lay it paint side down on your shirt or fabric, cover with a paper towel and press down. Lift the leaf straight up off the shirt.
- Hang the shirt to dry; after the paint is dry rinse the shirt or fabric in a mild solution or vinegar and water before washing for the first time.
Tree Name Word Puzzle - just a little word puzzle to download and print out as an extra activity for age appropriate group.