Salt dough leaf prints – in a slightly pop art style!

This was an activity that I was really looking forward to from the start of Autumn and it lived up to expectations – Annabelle loved exploring her Autumn leaves and seeing the details in her prints.

I got the inspiration from this pin that popped up on my Pinterest feed. The picture shows tiny little prints of delicate flowers and leaves printed onto clay but I thought we could scale it up using autumn leaves and salt dough.

We had several trips to the park to collect leaves, conkers, pine cones etc for various different activities, so I selected a few with interesting shapes or patterns to explore. We whipped up a batch of salt dough using my standard recipe:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • a ‘gloop’ of oil
  • 1 cup of water

salt dough

salt dough

Miss mix!

Annabelle mixed it all together and gave her finger muscles a good stretch kneading it through (this is fantastic for developing the muscles needed for pencil grip!).

salt dough

knead, knead, knead

We took one piece at a time and rolled them flat ready for the leaves. At first we tried simply pressing the leaves onto the salt dough but our fingerprints cancelled out the effects of the leaf patterns! Instead we used a rolling pin to get an even print which was much more successful!

salt dough leaf prints

Gently rolling

After baking and cooling we had a look to see if the patterns and shapes were still visible, and in fact they looked clearer after baking. We matched the different leaves to their prints and talked about the shapes, the sizes, the patterns, and the features of each leaf.

salt dough leaf prints

After baking

Our next job was to start painting the prints. We gave each leaf a base colour, then when it was dry used a small brush with a contrasting colour along the lines. I thought Annabelle might find this a little tricky, but she was actually pretty good at finding and following the lines with her brush. (Must have higher expectations!!)

salt dough leaf prints

Painting along the leaf lines

salt dough leaf prints

All finished!

salt dough leaf prints

My favourite

The results do have a very ‘pop art’ feel thanks to the contrasting colours, but we don’t mind too much, in fact Annabelle was very keen to show Daddy her ‘pretty leaves!’.

  1. Another fantastic idea Ailsa – I think I’m going to be pinching all your ideas to use with J. I wouldn’t have thought of leaf prints; we usually just paint them and make paint print out of them on paper 🙂

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