Tag Archives: mixed media art projects

Make a Colorful Painting of Fall Leaves to Hang on Your Fridge

Winter may be coming, but your children can make a colorful fall painting to hang on your fridge to brighten wintry days ahead.

In this project children will:

  • Learn how to draw a tree
  • Have fun mixing yellows and reds to make orange; reds and blues to make burgundy. They can discover that adding a little brown to yellow gives them a golden color.
  • Choose and experiment with different tools that are easy for little hands to use.

And this art activity can help your children in other areas of learning, because:

  • Opportunities to make choices with color and tools, as in this activity, enhances problem-solving skills.
  • Discussing their choices as they work aids in vocabulary and conversational skills.

Supplies

  • Red, yellow, blue, brown, and green tempera paint and containers for mixing paint
  • blue and green construction paper (for the variation explained below, you’ll need purple and a darker blue)
  • markers or crayons
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • glue stick or white glue
  • round brushes, clothespins to hold cotton balls, Q-tips held together with a rubber band, and small pieces of damp sponge

Directions

  1. For the background cut a wavy piece of green paper and glue it to the bottom of the blue paper. This is the foreground on which the tree stands.
  2. For the tree use a pencil to draw a simple Y tree. You can see this in the photo. On the left is a tree of single lines, each branch formed by the letter Y. In the tree on the left you can see how those lines are thickened to form the tree.
  3. Color the tree with crayons or markers using different browns, grays, and even a little black. Add some greens below to suggest grass.
  4. Mix the paint in shallow containers.  
  5. Let your children try different tools on scrap paper first to discover the different effects they will get. Sometimes the marks will look better after dabbing on scrap paper first.
  6. After they have experimented, they can paint colorful fall leaves all over the branches of the trees and falling onto the ground below.

Helpful Hints: If possible, before starting this project, go outside and look closely at some trees to observe the following:

  • All the colors and textures in the bark
  • How the branches get thinner as they get farther from the trunk
  • How leaves may have mixtures of greens and yellows or reds, as the chlorophyll is no longer being produced.
  • It might also help to stand in front of a tree and look into the distance while you explain that the tree next to them and the one they’ll do in their painting are large as we would expect. But things farther away look smaller in real life and will in their painting, too.

Help your children experiment with mixing and creating new colors from the ones they have. Show them that when you make a color like orange, mix just a little bit of the darker color (in this case, red) into the lighter color, yellow. The other way around, and you’ll find yourself having to use way more of the lighter color and may never get the light mix you want.

Hints for Clean Up:

Have a large plastic container to put the tools in when finished so you can easily throw away used Q-tips and cotton balls and wash the rest in the sink.

Variations:

If you and your children wish, you may add the other two landscape distances to the green foreground of their picture. Add blue water for the middleground and purple or gray mountains for the background. You can also use one of the tools and white paint to add some clouds.

Molly hopes you enjoy Making a Colorful Painting of Fall Leaves to Hang on Your Fridge, We’d love to hear what your favorite part of this project was!

Molly and I hope to see you right back here soon for a Fall Art Project for Older Children!