Using Leaves as Stencils


Having experimented with brush techniques, colour layers and textures, I am adding a section about using leaves in this module. The process of making leaf impressions and transfers onto deli paper is something that is fun to explore and adds a different element and dimension to making paper collages.

What is Required?

Deli paper, matte medium, High Flow paints and a selection of suitable leaves. Leaves should be pliable, not too thick or rigid, similar to thin paper - leaves that are not too fine or intricate work best.

The Process

Working in the same way as the previous project where you made textures and colour mixes, the addition of leaves as stencils goes a step further.

The aim is to create a recognisable leaf impression on the deli paper. You can use smaller leaves and recreate a sprig of leaves on the paper by replacing any thicker twigs with a thin strip of paper instead.

Arrange the leaves on a clean clear deli sheet. On another sheet, mix your chosen colours with about a teaspoon of matte medium, Darker colours are better to achieve a good contrast and leaf details. Work quickly, spreading the paint evenly on the surface. Apply the painted sheet onto the one with the leaves, and ensure the paint is transferred to the other sheet. Pull them apart. You will now have a negative leaf impression, as well as an outline of the same leaf on the other sheet. Remove the leaves and set aside. You can mix a translucent coloured layer to go on top, creating a softer effect. Note that if the paint is not quite dry it might mix into the new layer.

Experiment with different colours by mixing three or four colours together to get deeper tones and shades. Keep it simple and refer the colours to the samples shown for this module if you wish. Do not use white at this stage in order to retain a level of translucency allowing for layering. These leaf patterned sheets will be used in this module’s bigger art project.

Have a look at the video demonstration to see how the sheets are created.

© 2020 Esté MacLeod

© 2020 Explore Colour