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Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Spray Stenciling Leaves With Liquid Watercolors

Step 1. Place real leaves on the copy machine and cover them with a piece of white paper before Xeroxing them.

Step 2. Spray the back of each copy with spray adhesive and affix it to a piece of tag board.

Have students carefully cut out the leaves exactly along the lines so that both the shape they cut out and the background paper left over look like leaves. If this is done correctly, the background paper can be later used as a stencil.
Arrange your cut out leaves and stencils on your paper the way you want them. Do you want it to look like a leaf canopy over your head? Do you want it to look like leaves blowing on a windy day? Do you want your picture to look like autumn leaves gently falling?

You can use both the cut out leaves and the negative leaf shapes

I had each class save the leaves they cut out for other groups to use. That way each class had a large variety of design choices.

Here is what my finished sample design looked like. After I was done spraying the page, I removed the leaves, rearranged them, chose different colors and created a new layer, until my page was full of overlapping shapes. I wanted to evoke the feeling of walking in the woods and looking up at the leaf canopy.

Allow your painting to dry before painting your landscape with diluted black acrylic paint. When painting trees, always start at the bottom and paint upwards, lifting the brush slightly to make the branches get narrower as the branches grow. Here I used both a small round brush and a fan brush for texture.

The sprayed leaf silhouettes remind me of the feeling I get when I am walking in the woods and look up at the light shining through the leaves overhead.

Student art gallery


  1. Very nice technique! Thanks for share it!

  2. Rachel, I love how complete your lessons are. How would you like to write this one up for the back to school issue of SchoolArts? I wouldn't need it until April or May.

  3. So much informative post.Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.Click here to know more