Recommended for ages 5 and up
you need to make a leafy T-shirt:
- Wax paper
paints (three or four colors will do: greens/browns for camouflage;
reds/golds/oranges for autumn; lavenders/pinks/blues for fantasy)
- Two paper
or styrofoam plates (one plate will be used for a paint palette,
the other will be used to press painted leaves onto T-shirt)
- Paint brushes
white or light-colored T-shirt
- Damp washcloths
materials are available at your local discount store.
Collect an assortment
of leaves of different sizes and shapes. Fresh green leaves work
best for this project, but for the sake of the tree's health and
appearance, be sure not to pick too many leaves from any one tree.
Lay the leaves out, flat and not overlapping, between layers of
newspaper. Set the newspaper where it won't be disturbed and place
a pile of books on top of it. Let it sit for about a week, until
the leaves are pressed flat.
Cover your work area with newspaper and set out the leaves, paints,
plates, brushes, water, sponges and T-shirt. Fold the wax paper
inside the body and sleeves of the shirt to keep paint from seeping
through to the other side. Lay the shirt down on the table and smooth
out any wrinkles.
Before printing onto the T-shirt, try some test prints on a piece
of newspaper. Choose a leaf and find its veined side. Wet a paintbrush
and squeeze most of the water out of it. Pick a color and paint
a dry sponge with it. The sponge should be coated with paint, but
should not be gloppy. Put the brush back in the container of water.
the painted sponge on the veined side of the leaf, including the
stem. Do not rub back and forth with the sponge, but press down
repeatedly on the leaf until it is fully painted. Turn the leaf
over, painted side down, onto the newspaper and gently press down.
You can either press gently on the leaf with your fingers or take
a clean styrofoam plate and place it over the leaf and rub your
fingers over the plate. Using the styrofoam plate will prevent paint
from getting on your hands and the T-shirt. Remove the styrofoam
plate, pick the leaf up by the stem and check your print. (If the
print isn't clear, press down more firmly. Take care not to move
the leaf while printing.)
Once you like the way the practice prints are coming out, go ahead
with your T-shirt. Arrange your prints in a pattern or cover the
shirt. If you prefer, overlap the prints in contrasting colors.
As you work, be careful to keep your hands wiped clean to avoid
fingerprints. You can use the same leaf several times, as long as
you keep printing the same color. To keep colors from getting muddy,
use only one color per sponge and rinse brushes before using them
to apply a new color.
you want to print both the back and front of your shirt, wait to
let the painted side dry completely before flipping it over. Leave
the wax paper inside the shirt until the paint is dry. Clean brushes
and sponges in warm, soapy water. These T-shirts can be machine
washed, but only after the paint has been heat set according to
the manufacturer's directions.
was adapted from an activity originally published in FamilyFun