Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Critters

This simple painted leaf tutorial is a keeper for kids of all ages. If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy the fall season, don’t miss our printable list of 50 Family Fall Activities. When autumn arrives, children enjoy experiencing the seasonal shift with related art experiences that build lasting family traditions.

This Art Starter (an open-ended art prompt that’s open to interpretation) is an example of the weekly prompts our members receive in TinkerLab Schoolhouse. If you’d like to receive a new batch of prompts like this each week, join the waitlist and be the first to hear about the next Schoolhouse enrollment session.

fall craft ideas | leaf critters

We’ll start by collecting an assortment of leaves. Choose leaves that have already fallen, when possible. Try not to gather leaves that are too crunchy as they’re more likely to disintegrate at the art table.

When home, collect the rest of your supplies. I recommend acrylic paint because it has the best staying power, but for little ones, Crayola (affiliate) makes an amazing washable tempera paint.


Note: this list contains affiliate links.

  • Leaves
  • Paint. I love this washable paint option from Crayola. If you’d like to invest in some amazing acrylics (on the more expensive side), Golden Fluid glides on effortlessly and is one of my favorites.
  • Small + thin paintbrushes. I love this inexpensive set.
  • White glue
  • Bowl of water to wash brushes
  • Marker. I happen to love Sharpies, and these are a great deal.
  • Rag to dry brush
  • Card Stock paper (optional)
Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Critters | TinkerLab.com

Steps: Painted Fall Leaf Critters

Before you start painting, take a look at the leaf and try to figure out what kind of critter you want it to be. Will it be a fish, octopus, or monster? If you have a toddler or preschooler, they may be very happy just painting lines, dots, and shapes all over the leaves. Whatever they choose, be sure to create space for it and follow their lead.

Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Critters | TinkerLab.com

Paint eyes on with white paint.

Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Critters | TinkerLab.com

Layer on some details…

And then, if you like, glue it to a sheet of paper and add more details with marker.

Snap a photo of your creation!

Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Critters | TinkerLab.com

And there you have it: a fun and simple way to celebrate Fall.

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    Make it a Party!

    Gather some friends together, ask them to bring a small collection of fresh leaves, set up all the materials ahead of time, and serve hot apple cider.

    More Fall Craft Ideas with Leaves

    There are two blogs that you HAVE to check out…

    The Artful Parent has awesome ideas for painting on leaves. Leaf drawing and doodling is lovely for little kids who aren’t yet drawing things that are realistic and Leaf Peepers is like these Leaf Critters with the addition of sticky google eyes. So cute.

    14 Ways to Paint Leaves ArtBarBlog pulls some of the best painted leaf posts together in one place. Be sure to check this out for lots of ways to turn those leaves into works of art.

    Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Critters | TinkerLab.com
    Fall Craft Ideas | Leaf Critters | TinkerLab.com


    1. I love crafts like this but whenever we work with autumn leaves they crumble and disintegrate. Is there a way to preserve the leaves for this project? Thanks! C M E

    2. […] the autumn season with these fun and simple LEAF-inspired art projects: paint critters on leaves, make leaf-shaped coffee filter sun catchers, make negative leaf impressions with a spray bottle […]

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