Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Kindergarten: Tempera Leaf Prints

Posted on: March 2, 2010

The finished product... can you see the flower shaped prints? Those were even more popular than the leaves.

Kindergarteners pressed the faux leaves into the paint on the trays, then transferred the leaves to their papers to leave prints.

Creative Reuse Lesson Plan         Kindergarten: Plants

Written by Keri Piehl for SCRAP /Whitman ES 2009-10

Tempera Leaf Prints

Cost per student: $.10 (this includes items that will last many lessons)

Materials: Leaves, either real or fake, colored tempera (I am using primary colors and black and white to reinforce color theory), trays, brayers or wide brushes to spread the paint, large sheets of paper (I’m using 12”x18” newsprint), old plastic tablecloths or something to protect tables, clean wet rags for hands.

Students will use plants to create prints highlighting the shape and symmetry of leaves.

Elements of art: color, texture, value (if you use black/white paint in addition to color)

Vocabulary: print, symmetry

1. Pass around and examine many different leaves. Feel the real textures, and notice the symmetry of most leaves.

2. After having put plastic tablecloths over the tables, lay out a few trays (1:4 tray to students is a good ratio) and have each child write their names on their newsprint. Demonstrate that you will be using the leaves to make a print using paint.

3. Squeeze out some paint (I have mine in clear condiment bottles, mixed with a little dish soap – it comes out without spurting) and use a brayer or brush to smooth it out across the tray. You may need to experiment first to figure out how much to apply so you get enough without being too soupy. Blend 2 or more colors for an interesting effect.

4. Show the students how to press the leaves into the paint, then gently peel them back and press them onto their papers. Smooth them down gently and peel them off the paper, leaving a leaf shaped print! Point out that you can see the veins and other features if you don’t press too hard.

5. Repeat, perhaps with other colors – I might rotate the trays, so I don’t end up having kids walking around repeatedly with wet large paintings. That way the colors can rotate but the kids can stay put. When they have filled their pages or tired of the experience, have them put them out in the hall to dry.

Management tip: have them push in their chairs and stand up behind them to do this. Make sure all coats are off and all sleeves are rolled/pushed up before you begin!

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