Leaf Stamping Tee Shirt Craft
We had a few moments the other day to welcome fall. We had gathered some fall branches and wondered how we could capture their colors for longer than a few days. We decided it would be fun to use some of leaves to make a First Day of Autumn tee shirt. The four kids love painting, but using the leaves as stamps were a new and interesting experience.
A white tee shirt for each person
Tempera paint in fall colors – red, yellow, and orange
Black Tempera paint for stems
Leaves to use as stamps
Paper plates to use as pallets
We started by selecting leaves from our fall branches that were fresh and unique in shape and size. We used yellow paint for the aspen leaves. We squirted a large pool of paint on each paper plate for the kids to use. We only used one color of paint at a time so that the colors wouldn’t become muddy. We had to help the Kindergartener and preschooler quite a bit with this craft. But, our second grader and fourth grader were able to handle the creation of the craft easily enough.
We let each child decide where to place the leaves on the shirt and just let them have fun creating the pattern for the shirt. Each pattern seemed to reflect a portion of the child’s personality who were the creators of it. One thing to note, planning enough space around each leaf stamp will help the leaf be more recognizable as a leaf.
After we had finished with the yellow, we added the stems for those leaves. A parent had to help the preschooler a little with the stems, but otherwise, the other children seemed well able and excited to add the embellishments.
We next used some oak leaves to paint the red onto the shirts. We learned that one side of the oak leaf was fuzzy. Something I’d never known before.
To make a good leaf print, we had to manage how much paint was on the leaf for each impression. We dipped the leaves into the paint, but it would have worked better to have used a paintbrush to apply the paint. A thin coat of paint gives a much better and controllable impression. The more paint applied to the leaf— the more difficult it became to get a good impression.
Hints and Tips for Successful Leaf Stamping
1: Make sure the tee shirts are laid out smoothly. I would recommend a light touch with the iron on the shirts before starting.
2: Be sure to have enough paint brushes for everyone to have one. The little ones lost their patience waiting for their turn with the paintbrush.
3: Be sure to use washable paint, or have smocks for the artists. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. I know using washable paint will mean that the design on the tee shirts will wash out, but no other clothes will be permanently stained either. Using the smocks would have the benefit of the design staying on the shirts, as well as keeping the artists’ clothes clean.
4: If attempting this craft with children under the age of 7, be sure to have enough adults to help each of the younger children. We found an adult could easily help two children at a time, as long as the children were patient.