Painted Leaf Mobiles

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

By now you know that I am usually very slow in getting my art projects posted here on the blog. This Fall I am mostly writing about things we made a year ago. These beautiful painted leaf mobiles are a case in point. My art students made them last October, but even more comical is that the leaves are from two years ago!! Yes, you read that correctly.

You see, I am a bit absent-minded. In the Fall of 2014, I gathered the prettiest leaves from my lawn and pressed them in some big art books. A few weeks later, I went to get them out and couldn’t find them! It was so frustrating, and strange. I had my kids look, too. We looked in every book, more than once. Where were they? Fast forward a year to October 2015 (last year). My son grabbed a big art book for some reason (probably to crush a seltzer can or something “creative” he says), and out fall the leaves! There were a ton of them, all over the book. I cannot for the life of me understand why we couldn’t find them the year before. But nevertheless, I now had some gorgeous, flat, dry leaves to use for art class!

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

I looked up how to press leaves in a more legitimate way, and you don’t have to wait two years. You can just wait a week! You should know that the pressed leaves are dry and fragile. Some of them did break, but I felt that it added some interest to their mobiles. The good thing about painting dried leaves is that they will never curl up. They will stay flat forever.

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

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Supplies for the leaf painting:

~ Dried leaves

~ Tempera paint (mix colors with white to make them opaque)

~ Metallic tempera paints (optional)

~ Small brushes, water, and damp sponge

~ Glitter (optional)

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

The process:

~ Super easy. Just set out paints, and let them design their own leaves! They can sprinkle the glitter on afterwards. Let them dry overnight.

Invitation to wrap sticks with yarn.

The next step was to wrap the sticks with yarn.

Supplies needed:

~ Sticks from the yard

~ Yarn (I cut them into 15″ pieces)

~ Scissors

Invitation to wrap sticks with yarn.

Invitation to wrap sticks with yarn.

Invitation to wrap sticks with yarn.

The process:

~ The children wrapped all the yarn by themselves (age 5), and I taught them how to tie a double knot. In the end, I did all the trimming and double knotted any loose ends.

Invitation to wrap sticks with yarn.

The last steps were to put the leaves and and twigs together. I used fishing wire to tie the leaves to the twigs, but you could use yarn. (Fishing wire is a little hard to see, it takes some patience.) And then I used a bit of craft wire to make a hanger.

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

Children paint dried leaves and wrap twigs with yarn to make beautiful mobiles.

I love them so much. The five-year olds did such a wonderful job using all the colors and working on their patterns. I was so proud of them!

If you don’t have time, or don’t feel like, pressing leaves, you can paint any leaves that have fallen to the ground. Just know that they may not last as long as they curl up and dry out. But it you are just looking for the experience of painting on leaves, then that won’t really matter!

xo, Bar

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