This month’s Craft Challenge theme is autumn. My goal is always to create something different and exciting for each of these challenges and this month is no different. I struggled a bit with this one because I’m not quite in the mood for fall yet. It’s sunny and 90 degrees in my area and leaves are still green. I haven’t quite hit the sweaters, boots and pumpkin latte craze yet.
To get there, I did a brainstorming session with a friend (thank you, Aarika). We kept coming back to leaves. Do you remember doing leaf coloring in 2nd grade? You put a leaf under a piece of paper and color over it with a crayon to bring out the texture and outlines? We’re going to make the adult version of that today.
It’s a really fun project, and I really enjoyed making it. I’m going to paint several more this week and frame them for some festive decor. Follow the tutorial below to make some of your own!
Materials needed for leaf relief paintings
- sponge brush
- acrylic paint
- paper towns
- thick paper
- craft bond / adhesive
- light grit sandpaper or steel wool
Go outside and find some leaves, flowers or other plants.
Make sure the paper you choose is pretty thick. I used paper from a mixed media notebook. You can also use watercolor paper, bristol board or some other variation.
Choose steel wool over sandpaper if you can.
Step 1: set up your workspace
Usually, this isn’t part of my tutorial because your workspace is a given. However, this one can get a little sticky (pun intended).
Make sure you lay down newspaper or paper towels all over your work area if you’re working indoors. Craft bond is pretty sticky and it takes some time to get it out of clothes, off your skin and table.
Crafter’s tip: If you’re working over wood like I am, and happen to get the adhesive on your table, dab some vegetable oil on a towel and wipe it up. The oil releases the bond on the wood. Make sure you use cleaning products to wipe up the oil when you’re finished!
Step 2: adhere paper towels to the paper
Spray the adhesive on your thick paper and cover it will a paper towel.
I used paper towels with swirl designs because I wanted extra texture for the background. You don’t have to use a bold texture if you don’t want to.
Step 3: adhere the leaves
Spray the adhesive again and press the leaves into place.
Step 4: adhere the foil
Spray the adhesive again and press a sheet of foil overtop of the leaves.
Step 5: bring out the natural texture
Ball up a paper towel and press lightly over the veins and outlines of the leaves and their stems to bring out the texture. Be careful not to rip the foil.
Step 6: paint the foil
Using your sponge brush, dab the paint onto the foil like in the image above. You want to lift the brush and set it back down to ensure the paint gets into all of those little crevices.
Then, pull your brush from one end to the other in a typical painting motion. Get rid of the texture the sponge brush created by dabbing on the paint.
Let it dry.
I decided, half way through painting, that I wanted to go with the red paint, so I painted over it a second time with that color only.
I suggest painting on a second layer of paint either way.
Let it dry.
Step 7: sand down the paint
Very lightly sand down the paint on and around the leaves so that the veins and foil shows through. Be careful not to rip the foil.
This is going to be a very slow process, but it is so worth it in the end.
When you’re finished, you’ll have something that looks like the above. I love the way the foil makes all of the lines pop!
Next time I am going to try paper towels with less texture and black or dark blue paint. I really enjoy the red but a higher contrasting color will make the leaves stand out so much more.
This project is part of the Craft Challenge.
Be sure to check out Emily’s craft over at A Pop of Red! She will have her tutorial posted later today.