How to Make Animals From Fall Leaves

When you get tired of raking those falling autumn leaves, think craft time. With a little glue, maybe some paint or markers and some outside-the-box thinking, you can create a whole menagerie from the different-shaped leaves.

Using the Real Thing

After talking to the kids about the project, pile the leaves and some paper on the table and let the children get creative.

Things You'll Need

  • Leaves, soft, not too crisp

  • Waxed paper

  • Heavy books

  • Cardstock or construction paper

  • Craft glue

  • Acrylic paints (optional)

  • Markers or crayons (optional)

  • Sponge brush

Press the leaves flat by laying them between sheets of waxed paper and placing them in or under the heavy books for a day or two.

Arrange the leaves on the cardstock or construction paper to create your favorite animal. Turn the leaves in different directions and combine different shapes to make the different body parts. Part of the fun is the challenge of combining leaves to create the animal shapes, but sometimes a little trimming will be needed.

Glue the leaves into place before embellishing them with painted faces and details. Add background details with paint, crayons or markers, as desired.

To prolong the life of the leaf art, mix equal parts of craft glue and water and paint the mixture over the picture. After it has dried completely, add a second thin layer of the mixture and allow it to dry.

Longer-Lasting Leaf Art

Natural leaves will become brittle over time, and they may flake off of the picture. Take advantage of a little technology to preserve your leaf art indefinitely.

Things You'll Need

  • Leaves

  • Copy machine

  • Artist’s canvas

  • Craft glue

  • Water

Flatten the leaves in a heavy book before placing them on the glass of your copy machine and photocopying them.


  • Experiment with enlarging and reducing the images to give more options to assemble.

Cut out the leaves, and arrange them to make your animal.

Brush the canvas with water to dampen it. If you prefer, use cardstock or a wood plaque as the base for your artwork. Those options do not need to be dampened first.

Mix equal parts of craft glue and water. Brush a thin layer on the surface of the canvas.

Transfer your animal to the canvas. Smooth the papers from the center to the edges to adhere them well and to remove air bubbles.

Paint a thin layer of the glue mixture over the entire surface, and let it dry. Add a second thin layer and allow to dry.