Pressed paper clay leaves — a little fall craft project

Leaves are changing colours and falling in Amsterdam and the colours of the trees are so pretty. When we’re going for little walks in our neighbourhood, we can’t help but come back with some colourful leaves in our hands. Little treasures!!
The colourful autumnal leaves were the inspiration behind this little craft project: beautiful, pressed paper clay leaves which can be used for decoration. The craft supplies we used for this craft were:

  • Air drying paper clay (we used a package of 400g)
  • Watercolours (we used these plant-based natural watercolours)
  • Gold paint
  • Varnish
  • And a few pretty leaves of course!

pressed paper clay leaves

Using a rolling pin, we rolled out the paper clay on a sheet of baking paper. Then, using the rolling pin, we rolled the leaves into the clay. Following the contours of the leaves, we cut out the clay leaves and made a little hole in them so that we will be able to hang them later. This part the children really loved! Casper, who is 5, as well as Ava (8) and Sara and Pim, who are 13 and 11, were so into it. We let the clay dry on the cookie rack.

pressed paper clay leaves

pressed paper clay leaves

The next step was painting the leaves, using simple watercolours. It’s fun to use bright colours and play around with them. Again, everybody loved this! Once the leaves were dry we used gold paint to make them extra pretty. (We discovered that it’s quite easy to use a toothpick for this, especially for Casper whose dexterity with a paint brush is not good enough yet for this detailed job.)

pressed paper clay leaves

pressed paper clay leaves

The last step is to apply the varnish. I just did this part myself, as it’s a bit of a boring job and everything gets sticky.

autumn wall decoration

We used the finished pressed paper clay leaves to decorate our living room (using the square we painted a while ago), but you can also use them for table decoration or tie them to presents. They’re really pretty!

xxx Esther

PS Fall leave lanterns. Another wonderful craft that all ages will enjoy.


Comments (4)

Courtney in Australia
October 12, 2018

I love this project! These leaves are so pretty. It actually makes me miss Autumn in the northern hemisphere! 🙂

October 21, 2018

Hi there,

As soon as I read this, I went out and got some modeling clay. Last Wednesday, we picked up some pretty leaves and followed your instruction to roll the leaves on the clay and cut them out. We are going to paint them tomorrow. Can I ask you what kind of glaze? The modeling clay can air day and does not require any firing. After I apply the glaze, will it just dry or does it need firing to settle in?

Esther in Amsterdam
October 22, 2018

Hi Katherine, I used paper clay, which dries up like paper and thus you can use water colour and (air drying) varnish. I don’t think varnish works well for modeling clay – I would ask your craft store what you can use best. Xx

March 5, 2021

Helo Esther.. I have a question for u
Hw u made the clay at home
Can u share the receipe ?!

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