This project is great for spring and fall, when the leaves and flowers first come out, and then right before they start changing color. It provides a great opportunity to talk about the season change as well. The finished prints can be used as soap dishes, saucers, or turned into wall hooks.
- Low-fire clay
- Wire cutter
- Sharpened pencil, chopstick or skewer
- Rolling pin
- Paintbrushes-wide with soft bristles
- Canvas mats
- Collect leaves and flowers. The leaves should be as fresh from the tree as possible so they are not brittle. Ones with more contour around the edge work best. The drier flowers actually work better for this project.
- Cut clay into approximately 4” x 4” x ½” slabs.
- Put out canvas mats to work on.
- Pick the leaf or flower you want to use.
- Roll out slab so it’s about 14” thick.
- Place flower or leaf (if it’s a leaf, place it VEIN SIDE DOWN) on clay.
- Use roller to roll over top of the leaf or flower and really press it into the clay. Really make sure the clay is picking up the details of the leaves/flowers. You may want to talk about the veins in leaves and what job they have.
- Cut out around the leaf and flower. You can make a square, oval, or circle, or any other cool shape. Leave a bit of room around the edge of the leaf/flower for underglaze.
- Optional: For leaf prints, you can trim around the edges of your leaf, so you are essentially creating a clay replica of the leaf. Then, when you lift the leaf up, you can add little bugs and inch worms to live on the leaf. It’s important, though, if doing this step, not to paint the leaf, as that will disturb the vein structure imprinted on the clay.
- Use a large, soft paintbrush to paint over the flower and leaf while they are still embedded in the clay. This will make a negative effect, so the leaf/flower is white clay and the surrounding area is a bright color. Make sure you paint the underglaze on thickly so there is a nice contrast.
- Lift off the flower of leaf to reveal the textured print underneath!
- Turn your creation into something useable by curling up the edges for a little plate or soap dish. You can also simply poke a hole in the top so it can hang on the wall.