This beautiful Leaf print butterfly can be turned into affirmation postcards, cards, artwork, mandalas or butterfly collages. Kids love painting on the leaves and pressing them onto paper. If they wish to cut it out, the print gives them a nice outline to follow to make a perfect butterfly.
Make them as large or small as you’d like, and any colour! Each one will turn out uniquely. Are any shape or colour you’d like. Even the ones we printed with the exact same colour has unique variations. That’s what we love best about leaf pressed prints. It reminds us of a linocut but without all the work!
Maple leaves work really well, or any leaf of that shape so that you can easily cut into a butterfly shape. Choosing plants with thick veins will help make the print easier. Knotweed leaf is a great option because they have such big leaves and it allows you to make any shape that you’d like.
The best part is going outside, getting exercise and fresh air on a nature walk and finding the perfect leaves. You can even make the craft outside in your yard, if you don’t mind bringing out all of the other supplies!
Fresh (or dry) Leaves of choice
Washable paint or non-toxic acrylic paint (for older children)
Set of alphabet stamps - if making affirmation cards
Round wood slice or round canvas - for Mandala
Be respectful when collecting leaves in nature. Find leaves that have fallen from a branch. The best time is after a windy day! You can also wait for them to naturally fall, or grab some when you are pruning your backyard tree. We took a few from our driveway that was encroaching onto it and needed to be trimmed back.
1. Cut out a leaf so that it looks like a butterfly! If you chose a maple leaf, simply cut off the top section of the leaf into a V.
2. Paint the leaf with the veins facing up, so that you paint the side with the most texture and biggest veins.
You may not want to add too much paint, but for kids just let them paint it and then press print the leaf a few times onto the paper to remove some of the paint, you’ll probably get the best print on the second or third print. You can print one painted leave about 4 times before you need to paint it again.
3. Turn the leaf paint-side down onto the paper you wish to print it on. We painted some of our paper prior. You can print it on white or coloured paper.
4. With the painted side down, Press the top part of the leaf with you fingers or hand to press it onto the paper. Place a paper towel over the leaf before pressing, if desire, this keeps hands clean of any paint. Make sure all of the leaf is pressed.
5. Slowly start to peel up one side and lift the entire leaf up off the paper.
Since these are made by kids, you might not always get the perfect print, but we think they all look good regardless. Embrace any imperfections, Practice also makes perfect.
Teach about symmetry and imperfections!
Keep painting and printing your leaves a few different colours.
Cut them out of the paper and create a fun Mandala like the one below, matching the colours to create a pattern,
You can also create beautiful and unique postcards for friends and family. Use only the image or create them into affirmation cards and write or stamp different sayings onto the postcards.
For some of our cards we used bright orange painted paper with painted black leaf prints and stamp.
Try these great words and sayings for the butterfly postcards:
Fly free butterfly
Seize the moment
Reach for the sky
By choosing colours and leaves that suit you, you‘ll make this into your own unique creation!
We hope that you have fun playing outside, collecting leaves and making beautiful leaf print butterflies! I know that we had a blast and look forward to making more someday. If you create this craft and would like to share it with us, tag us on Instagram @acorns.and.aprons! We would love to see what you came up and may end up featuring it in our stories!