How To: Printing With Leaves

Nothing reminds me more of Fall than leaves. Five years ago I wrote a post on using watercolors with the leaves on paper. You can check that post out here.

But today we’re talking about printing with leaves on fabric with Jacquard Textile Paints. There is a short video at the bottom of the post. If you are receiving this blog via email, you will need to come to the blog to view the video.


So let’s get started. First gather up some leaves to print with. You are looking for leaves that have thick veins that will print.


If you want to save your leaves or the extra ones you pick now for future art projects, preserve them. I did that with the bunch I picked this past week.

Leaves soaking in preserving solution

Here is my tutorial on preserving botanicals.

Now that we have our leaves, here is what else you’ll need:

  • Plastic to cover table
  • Daubers or foam brushes – See my instructions on making foam daubers.
  • Fabric paint – I’m using Jacquard Textile Paints
  • Fabric – the smoother the better
  • foam plate for palette
  • spoons for paint
  • newsprint or computer paper
  • brayer
  • iron and ironing board

Let’s get started! With spoons add paint to your palette. I really love Jacquard Textile Paints. They are the perfect consistency for this project.

paintonpaletteWhen using the dauber, touch it in the paint and then pounce on the plate to remove most of the paint. Less is best for this technique. Turn leaf vein side up on plastic and apply paint with dauber.

addpainttoleafPlace leaf paint side down on fabric.

placeleafCover leaf with paper. I’m using newsprint, but you could use computer paper.

placepaperUse a brayer to smooth the leaf down on the fabric.

brayerpaperRemove the paper. There will be some paint on that leaf side of the paper. Don’t use that side of the paper again, or you will have unwanted paint on your project.

I like to take my fingers and smooth down the leaf again. This probably isn’t necessary, but I like to make sure the leaf has good contact with the fabric.

pressleafNow for the reveal! Gently pull the leaf up by the stem and reveal the printing.

liftleafThat’s all there is to it. Let the paint dry and then heat set by ironing on the wrong side of the fabric.


The leaves can be used over and over again until they fall apart. If they have been preserved, just wipe them off and replace them in the storage container.

I like using the daubers because of how the paint looks on the fabric.

daubberlafThe following print is where I used a foam brush instead of a dauber to add paint to the leaf. It works, but you can see brush strokes which I don’t like it as well.


Now for what to do with this fabric. I added one piece to canvas. See this tutorial on how I mounted the fabric to the canvas.


This fabric can be made into potholders, journal covers, bags, wall hangings, or even pillows.

Here is a cloth napkin.

leafnapkinHere is a silk scarf I had previously dyed orange.


This piece I thought would be perfect for a pillow, but I’ve decided I’ll mount it on canvas and hang in our living room. Or then again, I might free-motion stitch it into a wall hanging.


I’ll also be making some blocks on the different individual leaves. Here are a couple of those prints.

tulippoplar oak

Here is a little video on the process.  If you are receiving this blog via email, the video will not come through. You need to come to the blog to see it.


I was on WEHT Local Lifestyles Friday demonstrating this technique. Here is the link.

Hubby was also be on the program making hot sauce!

I’m linking up today with Off The Wall Friday. Check out the link for other creativity!

Thanks for dropping by. Hope you feel all ready for Fall now!