Hammered Leaves

Fall comes and goes, just like the color of autumn leaves. These leaves don't last very long, but you can preserve them by transferring the colors onto paper. The finished piece works well as a poster, perfect for enjoying the fall colors year round!

  1. Ages: 5 - 16

  2. <30 minutes

  3. A little messy

  4. Grownup needed


Materials you'll need

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Find some colorful leaves to create your masterpiece.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Find a sturdy, solid surface, and place a sheet of watercolor paper down. (Tip: Make sure your surface isn't too soft or too rough or it will make the transfer harder.)

    Place a leaf on the watercolor paper, and lay a paper towel sheet on top of the leaf. It's easiest to do one leaf at a time so they don't shift when hammering.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Take the hammer and carefully hammer the leaf through the paper towel.. You'll start to see the colors bleed through the paper towel. Gently lift up the paper towel to check that you have touched every portion of the leaf.

    Repeat steps 2-3 to create more leaf imprints.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Carefully peel off the paper towel to reveal the colors! If any leaves stay stuck to the watercolor paper, let them dry before peeling them off.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    If you're interested in learning more about plants, you can look up what kinds of plants the leaves come from and write down the latin names!

    Here are the leaves that we gathered:
    Hedera helix (ivy)
    Acer Palmatum (japanese maple)
    Limonium caspium (purple flowers)
    Pistacia chinensis (green multiple leaves)
    Cinnamomum camphora (red leaf)

    What leaves did you find?

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Final result!

    To preserve your leaf imprints, spray the watercolor paper with a coating of UV protectant spray.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

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