I’m sure there’s something fundamentally wrong with me. I’m a mom, but I just dont swoon for most kids art. It’s not that I dont admire children’s creativity or wonder at their budding skills.. but a lot of kids art looks like garbage… Probably because a lot of it is made from garbage.
Okay, I know this rant is sounding harsh, I’m sure I’ll melt when my own kids come home from preschool with some animal constructed out of egg crate baubles and glitter. All I’m really suggesting is… wouldnt be nice to sometimes give our kids better tools and knowhow and help them create art that is universally aesthetically pleasing?
These leaf rubbings my three year old and I made. I honestly can not tell who made which ones in most case, and when I can, its only obvious to me because I remember using certain color combinations on some of my leaves.
What makes this so great is that I've prepped this project in a way that removes the need for skills that my three year old does not yet possess.
I've removed the need to carefully hold the paper just so to prevent the leaf and/or paper from slipping during the rubbing process.
How? Contact paper.
I could go on and on about the merits of this stuff. It’s not just for the irritating job of shelf and drawer lining anymore..
Lay your sheet of contact paper design side down on a surface that you can tape things to. (so maybe your grandma’s antique hand carved table, yeah?) Secure it to your surface with heavy duty double stick tape, or pull back the shiny paper and tape the corners down to your surface. Remove all the shiny paper backing, leaving a big sticky surface. Perfect!
Now place your leaves on your sticky surface. You should be able to even lift them and reposition them if you want. (as long as you do it before you stop rubbing) Lay paper over the leaves and using the side of a naked crayon (with the paper peeled off, you know) rub gently over the leaf. My three year old did very good rubbing over the leaves!
bad photo of leaves on contact paper
The tricky part is removing the paper from the contact. I found this to be a little challenging, and this part for the three year old. Sometimes the paper curls a bit, but my guess is that a night of sitting under a stack of books would solve that. For us it really wasn’t a concern, because my plan was to just cut them out anyway.
Cutting them out in our case is an adult job. If you do this with older kids who have good cutting skills then just let them go nuts. Laurel has been practicing, but she wasn’t even interested in helping me cut them out. She gets frustrated trying to cut out complicated shapes anyhow. (I’m apparently raising a perfectionist.)
These leaf cut outs will all receive family member names and become Thanksgiving place cards.
Oh So fancy looking. Who would have guessed that the three year old actually did a lot of the work on these?!
More pictures can be found on My flickr photostream