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Making Leaf Prints with Ink

Making Leaf Prints Ink @handbookofnaturestudy

I love it when we can mix nature study and art together and this week we found an excellent project to work on together.

The Handbook of Nature Study suggests making leaf prints as a part of studying a tree (Lesson 173). The directions in the book include gasoline and kerosene and I thought there had to be a more modern and easy way to accomplish lovely leaf prints.

I found this website with easy to follow instructions.
Naturalist’s Apprentice: Making Leaf Prints

We used ink on stamp pads for this project. I have a small collection of colors and we started off with brown. You might try using washable ink pads since your fingers do get a little messy.

You really need to press the leaf firmly onto the ink pad so you probably do not want to use dried up leaves since they will more than likely crumble on your ink pad and leave behind a mess.

After pressing onto the ink pad the leaf doesn’t seem to have a lot of ink on it and I was surprised how beautifully the impression turned out on the paper.

We made a few test prints on scratch paper and then we got busy working in our nature journals. We found that using multiple colors on the leaf made a really nice print.

You can really see the veins and the leaf shape if you press the leaf firmly onto the paper and work carefully so you don’t move it around before lifting it up.

Once you get started you can be a little creative if you have the desire. Wouldn’t it be pretty to have a tree with blue leaves?

We made our prints, added some labels, and now they are securely tucked into our nature journals.

This will be a project we use more often since I like it even better than leaf rubbings. We will be adding an ink pad and a few Wet Ones into our nature pack to use when we are out and about.

14 thoughts on “Making Leaf Prints with Ink

  1. Ooo. I love this! My niece is coming to visit and I have been planning crafty arts to add to our fun. This is perfect! Our nature journals will love it..thank you.

  2. These are just beautiful! I can’t wait to try this with my kids. Our gigantic sycamore leaves will be fun to try!

  3. Did you use a sheet of paper on top of the leaves or just press down on the leaf itself?
    I may have to borrow this for cub scout day camp.

  4. They look beautiful!

  5. Sebastian,

    At first we just used our fingers to press the leaf onto the stamp pad but after getting really inky, we started to use a paper towel.

    So it was ink pad on the bottom, then the leaf, then a paper towel, and then we pressed on top of that. It worked out just fine.

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  6. These are amazing ideas. We are so glad we found your site! We want to give you the “One Lovely Blog” award to say thanks for the constant inspiration! Come pick it up at and post it on your site!
    Karen and Michelle
    Layers of Learning

  7. Blue leaves and purple rain *grins*

    Beautiful… we’re gonna do this too..

  8. Oh, I love the stamping idea. That is so pretty. I’ll put a few in my bag.

  9. What beautiful prints! I, too, had read about making prints in the Handbook, but didn’t think we were up to it. I think I could give this a try. And the boys love any excuse to play with my ink pads! Thanks for the idea!

  10. What a coincidence. I was just looking through my copy of Handbook of Nature Study, came upon the instructions for making leaf prints, and thought “I don’t think so!”. It’s good to see there’s an alternative to the gasoline and kerosene! LOL Thanks for sharing.

  11. These turned out so beautiful!!!!!!

  12. good idea, I will try it

  13. I recently found an idea on pinterest that suggests using new colored markers that are still very wet and coloring the back of the leaf using several colors that look nicely together. Then she presses the inked leaf on a fold card, which is more absorbent than copy paper and laying a piece of wax paper over the top. Then she can press it with her finger without damaging the leaf or tearing it, and makes sure to press on the veins of the leaf . This makes an attractive leaf print and it can be enhanced in the blank spaces with colored pencils to fill out the forms.

    I think a good print could also be made on copy paper for use in a 3 ring nature journal.

    1. Did you try this? I would be interesting in knowing if it gives a good print. Thanks for the idea!

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