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Nature Bonding Time: Leaves and Crayon Collage

Of the many common passions that my 4 year old daughter – Pari – and I share, one is collecting leaves, stones, pebbles, twigs, shells and knick knacks – from the nature….
We’ve figured that it’s one of the best way to de-stress, bond with nature and bond with each other! The best part is – we come back from our nature hunt with a host of activities to do indoors!

With leaves, we have done tons of art projects – printing the leaves directly on paper, making collage with dry leaves, threading them to make necklaces and many more.

This week, we did something very different, fun and beautiful with our freshly collected leaves. After a long, exasperating wait, the heavens opened up and showered us with the music of rain. We went out to explore the greens and came back with the greenest of green leaves from different trees – White Fig, Indian Rock Fig, Himalayan Mulberry, Frangipani, Mango and some more that I could not identify :(

Right after lunch, we settled for our leafy project. We needed a big smooth surface for this. So, chose the dining table instead of Pari’s study table which isn’t as big. First off – I taped the big rectangular white sheet (thick enough to sustain some vigorous crayon rubbing) of paper on the table. I used tape sparingly – just enough to set it in place.

Next, Pari arranged the leaves – veins side up – on this paper. Again, to keep the leaves intact, I helped her tape them in place. Finally, I spread another sheet of paper (same size as the previous one) on top of the leaves just so it covers the arrangement below exactly.




Now, we were all set to have a blast! Pari picked the colours from the wax crayon set. I explained to her that darker colours would suit better. She started off with a maroon/crimson and as I had shown her – rubbed with the crayon on the leafy portion of the paper. She gradually started getting the hang of it. Instead of my telling her how to do, she tells me that she has learnt a nice trick. That, she should keep the crayon flat in her initial rubbings. That’s how the more prominent veins will show. And that’s true! Once you’ve got the markings, rubbing with a slight angle and with the pointed side will show off the more detailed veins.


I was amazed to see how quickly, the child figures out her own way and even teaches a thing or two. And this is because they are not scared to experiment…I can’t tell you enough, in words, how overjoyed she looked as she saw the patterns of the leaf appear magically on the paper.


She had a go at all the leaves for about 20-25 minutes and used a riot of colours – purple, dark green, bright orange, indigo blue, deep red. I was so tempted to try it myself that I pitched in here and there. She was happy to share and chip in with comments like – “I think your patterns are not very prominent, mamma. Do it this way. See…see how I am doing…”.

And these are the vein details we get after 25 minutes of vigorous rubbing! We loved it!






But, there was something else we could do. I gave her some bright (but not dark) water colours. Watered them down enough so that they would spread easily on the paper. With four separate brushes, Pari spread a thin layer of fluorescent lime, orange, green and pink – one by one.



I could sense that she was tempted to do more and more coatings. But, if she did that, we would have lost the vein details. So, I had to declare that the art work is done and we need to wait a couple of minutes for the colours to dry and the effect to show through.

What evolved was really eye catching! You can see it for yourself.


But then, I also really liked the vein rubbings, just as they were – without the water colour. And we were craving to try more…So, one more round. We placed another fresh sheet of paper on the earlier setting and had another go at it. By now, Pari had completely mastered the art of rubbing.
And here is the final result – without the water colour coat.

I pinned one art sheet on the soft board in Pari’s room. And taped the other one on the adjacent wall. I am planning to get a giant wall-to-wall soft board (felt board) so we have more space to display Pari’s art work.



I would have wanted to display it on the sun-facing glass window for, the sun shining through the water colour and veins maze would have been brilliant. But there are some wrought iron bars behind the glass pane which would have taken away from the effect. So, I will let these be in Pari’s room for a while before they are moved to the filing cabinet and another piece finds its way…
The inspiration for this project came from ‘The Artful Parent’ blog. I loved what they did with their leaves to turn it into a sun-catcher!

Pari had a ball with this project. She was elated with both – the process as well as the product. Though, I feel it’s the process and the experience while doing it that really matters rather than the final product. We have many more plans around the same activity. We plan to make greeting cards with smaller leaves. And then, there’s a bouquet coming up. Also, a necklace for myself :) There are a tons of options to keep us super busy and super excited!

Did you do any fun art project with leaves? Pls share it here. I would love to have more inspiration :)

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • The Artful Parent July 24, 2010, 4:58 am

    Those look great, Rashmie! And it sounds like you and Pari both had a blast. I love how you decided to display the watercolor version next to the one with just the leaf rubbings!

  • Manish August 2, 2010, 1:21 pm

    Hey, this is fascinating and gorgeous! I can imagine how much you girls would have enjoyed! You made a great point here when you said “…the child figures out her own way and even teaches a thing or two. And this is because they are not scared to experiment”. So true and something to learn from! With the list of projects that Pari has under her sleeve now, I think she can start an arts class on her own for the tiny ones around!

    The pictures are super gorgeous! One thing I notice is that Pari’s room is turning into an art gallery of sorts! ;-)Once you get the giant soft board and put up all her art work there we should organize a launch event! ;-)

    Great work! Keep it going!

    • Rashmie Jaaju August 4, 2010, 10:13 pm

      Yeah – the launch event for Pari’s art gallery sounds like a fun idea :))
      Let’s have it! This will also turn out to be a way to teach Pari about art galleries, exhibitions and related stuff! Isn’t it?
      I am really scouting for this giant soft board. No luck yet. if you come across something like this, go ahead and buy for us…okay ? :)
      Keep visiting our blog and keep commenting :)

  • sahiba August 4, 2010, 7:22 pm

    hi Rashmie,

    you and your daughter are a power house of talent..i am so happy to have met you. I hope i am able to do something like this with both my kids and involve them in creativity…three cheers to you and your little one..

    • Rashmie Jaaju August 4, 2010, 9:58 pm

      Dear Sahiba,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and for your nice words…
      I am equally happy to have known you…. :)

      And yeah, you must try this project with your kids. It’ll be a delightful experience for them. And then, they will be pleasantly surprised to know that for a change, they can really go on scribbling with the crayons at a stretch! And with mere scribbling/rubbing, the art that will emerge will leave them spellbound!

  • Smile August 5, 2010, 10:11 am

    Hi Rashmie,
    Project with leaves is very good idea and i want to try it with my son!
    Pcitrues are good too and you both rock!! Your daughter is cute!

  • aparna March 13, 2011, 1:44 am

    Excellent post and idea. I’m going to try this with my 5 yo (and maybe my 2 yo as well) :)

  • Ashu March 24, 2011, 6:43 am

    Lovely project Rashmie…few more days to go for khwaish vacation…I will surely try this at home.
    Colour Pari used while colouring has give really nice look to the final product.