Forming animals from leaves is easy with a big imagination! Our Crafty Leaves Paper uses unique shapes from nature to inspire children to create great artwork. Make animal artwork with a few simple tips below. Follow along with the instructions or come up with your own ideas!
• Construction paper
Pop out the die-cut leaves from the paper backing. I recommend that you pop out about 1-2 sheets of the R15334 Crafty Leaves paper per student. Set a pile of the popped-out leaves beside the student’s workstation so that they can easily find the shapes they need. Encourage students to pick up each leaf shape and reflect on how these shapes can be used in their artwork.
Circulate throughout students’ desks and ask them what certain leaf shapes remind them of: maybe one looks like an almond shape which can also be used to represent an eye! The many points on an oak leaf can be used to make a bird’s wing. Below, I’ll talk about the different leaf shapes and how you can construct each animal in the images.
Tip: Once students have finished making their images, they can glue their layered leaves onto the construction paper. There are only about 5-7 leaves per animal so the layering steps will be easy to remember.
This is how to make a flying bird!
Find 5 leaves that represent the bird’s head, its body, two wings and a tail. In this image, we’ve used a small round leaf for the head, a large almond-shaped leaf for the body, two large, spiky leaves for the wings and an ivy leaf for the tail.
Align the two leaves that represent the wings together. Overlap the bottom points of the leaves, then angle the tops of the leaves outward to make a V-shape. Place the almond-shaped leaf for the body at an angle pointing up to the left. This leaf should go in between the two wings. To do this, lift up the leaf on the right side then place the body right up against the left wing. Set the right wing back down on top of the body. Hint: This is a great chance to introduce perspectives with this activity. As students place their leaves at various angles and overlap them, they will be learning about how certain parts of an illustration can appear nearer than others. In this example, the right wing of the bird is nearer to the viewer than the left wing, which appears behind the body.
Place the head at the top of the body. Point the leaf that represents the tail downwards to the right. Slip the top edge of the tail just underneath the bottom of the body. Tip: Draw in some eyes with a marker!
For this animal, you will need to find 4 leaves that represent the fish’s body, two fins and tail. Choose a large almond-shaped leaf for the body. For the fins, choose leaves that have at least two or three points to them. If you look at the shape of some fish fins, you will see that it tapers to a point, so look for a shape that best represents this. Finally, the tail is very extravagant, with at least 4 or 5 points.
Place the leaf that represents the body horizontally across the page. Place the leaf that represents the top fin in the middle of the top edge of the body. Place the leaf that represents the bottom fin in the middle of the bottom edge of the body. Orient the point of the top fin so that it faces upwards. Orient the point of the bottom fin so that it points downwards. Slide the bottom edge of the top fin just beneath the edge of the body.
To add the tail fin, decide which end of the body will be the fish’s head and which will be the fish’s tail end. Position the point of the tail in the direction it will be placed.
Make this funny rabbit before he hops away!
For this animal, you will need 8 leaves: Two slender leaves for rabbit-ears, one small round leaf for the rabbit’s face, a large, round rabbit body, two slim leaves for the rabbit’s front legs and two round leaves for the rabbit’s hind legs.
Place the rabbit’s round body in the center of the paper. Put the little round head at the top of the body. Next, position the points of the two ears upwards and slide the bottom tips of the ears behind the top edge of the head.
The round hind legs go on either side of the body. You will have to slide the legs underneath the body to indicate the front view of the legs. To finish, stand the two slim leaves for the rabbit’s front legs vertically and put in the center of the body. Slide the legs slightly downwards so that the bottoms of the paws are touching the bottom of the body.
This squirrel’s all ready for the pickings!
You will need 6 leaves for this animal craft. The acorn can be found in the same package as the Crafty Leaves. You will need 3 small round leaves for the head, feet and the tip of the squirrel’s tail. In addition, find a medium-sized leaf for the body, a small thin leaf for the arm and a large oval-shaped leaf for the tail.
To start, place the long leaf representing the tail vertically on your sheet of paper. Turn the body leaf vertically as well and slide up against the left edge of the tail. Place the three small round leaves in the following areas. For the head, place a round leaf at the top of the body leaf. For the feet, place a round leaf at the bottom of the body leaf. For the tail tip, place at the top of the tail leaf. Finally, take the small thin leaf representing the squirrel’s left arm. Tilt the top of the leaf to the right and place just below the squirrel’s head onto the body leaf. Slide the leaf representing the acorn just underneath the squirrel’s arm.
This dainty butterfly is perfectly camouflaged by its surroundings!
To make the butterfly, you will need 5 leaves. You will need two large oval-shaped leaves and two smaller oval-shaped leaves for the wings. In addition, find a small leaf with a stem for the butterfly’s body.
Take the two large oval-shaped leaves to make the top half of the wings. Place the leaves side by side then tilt their bottom points inward so that they meet. The leaves should be making a V-shape. Next, place one small leaf just below the large leaf on the left side to complete the bottom half of the wing. Tilt the small leaf so that its point is facing to the left. Repeat for the right side and tilt the point of the leaf to the right. Make sure the small leaves are slightly overlapping the large leaves.
Finally, take the leaf with the stem and flip it upside down so that the stem is facing up and the point of the leaf is facing down. Set the leaf in the center of the wings. Slide the butterfly body leaf up to meet the edge of the large wings. The stem should emerge right from the space in between the two wings; this will be the butterfly’s head.
Once you have pasted your project onto a sheet of paper, cut the shape out and leave a border of paper–about 1/2″ (1.5 cm)–around the edges of the animal artwork. You can tape these student projects onto an autumn or nature-themed mural or use to decorate your classroom!