{Day 2} Autumn Leaf Watercolor Painting for Young Naturalists

Have you discovered the beauty of watercolor pencils?

We love watercolor pencils and store them in vintage blue Mason Jars.

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Watercolor pencils are similar to standard colored pencils. However, you can use these beauties to create lovely watercolor paintings. They are very easy for young children to use as they can simply draw a nature scene and color like they would with colored pencils. When a bit of water is applied with a brush (or other tool), the colors meld beautifully into a watercolor art piece.

In our home, we add in nature study with our regular science studies. Whatever the season or weather, there is always something to discover and explore in God's vast creation!

Today, I will share a simple art project to celebrate autumn.

Autumn Leaf Watercolor Painting

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You only new a few basic supplies for this project. This project is suitable for any child that can manipulate a watercolor pencil. Our students are 2, 4, 6, and 11.

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Items Needed:
  • Dry leaves
  • Watercolor or mixed media paper
  • Watercolor pencils
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Small container of water
A heavier weight paper (watercolor or mixed media) works best with watercolors. If you do not have this on hand, go ahead and use standard paper.

Frugal tip: Look online for the discount coupons for Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and JoAnn Fabrics. You can buy art paper at a discount. If you have a smartphone, you can download store apps and have immediate access to the coupons when you are shopping.

Step #1

Go on a nature walk in your front yard and collect autumn leaves. Involve your senses in this activity. Ask your children:
  • What do you see?
  • What can you hear?
  • What can you smell?
  • What can you feel/touch?
If you have edible plants, vegetables, or fruit, you can ask what they can taste.

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Step #2

Pick out your favorite leaf and trace it on watercolor paper. This artistic project is all about the process and not the final product.

Do you have children that worry about the final result? Encourage them to relax and take creative license in drawing their leaf. If you want a rainbow leaf, then by all means create a bright rainbow leaf!

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Step #3

Fill in your leaf with multiple colors using watercolor pencils. The colors will blend beautifully once the water is applied.

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Step #4

Be creative! Use the watercolor pencils to create scenery around your leaf sketch. Don't worry if your leaf is bigger than your house, bird, and acorn. Maybe the leaf is in the forefront, falling gently in the wind, as you look upon your happy home. Remember, it is all about taking delight in the process.

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Step #5

Blend the watercolors using the cotton balls and swabs as brushes. Dip them lightly in water and use as you would a paintbrush. This is a fun part. The cotton ball will make wispy strokes with the watercolors. You will want to squeeze some of the water out so that it is not so wet. The cotton swab can be used as a brush for finer details.

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Step #6

Enjoy your masterpiece! Hang your artwork up in your home or give it as a present to a loved one.

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You can use your leaves to create other art projects. Here are a few ideas:
  • Create leaf rubbings by using white copy paper and crayons or pencils.
  • Use leaves as stamps. Dip them in paint and stamp art paper, card stock, or a canvas.
  • Press the leaves in waxed paper, store in a heavy book, and save for a nature collection.
This post is part of a series: 31 Days of Nature Study for Young Naturalists. You can find all of the daily posts linked on the introductory page. I hope you will continue to join us for this journey through October!

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jeana said…
Love this!! Thanks for letting me know you posted on IG. I always need ideas and motivation to keep up with nature studies. Can't wait to read more!
Amy Maze said…
I've never even heard of watercolor pencils! Thanks for enlightening me and sharing how you used them!

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