Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall Wall Hanging

This is a quick and inexpensive craft that celebrates the beautiful colors of fall while teaching children about basic printmaking skills. After I explained the basics of printmaking and showed them a couple of options for layout, I let the children make their own creative decisions on this project. They seemed to really enjoy it!

Some background information on printmaking: Some would say that the most important invention to come from the medieval time period was the printing press. I showed my students the double page spread from the Eyewitness book on the Renaissance which has a wonderful picture of a printing press from that time. I also brought in a wooden letter from a press for them to examine. I explained that printing plates could be used over and over. This seemed like a much better idea than spending one's whole life creating one book (like some scribes and clerks did with illuminated manuscripts!).

I then did a short demo on how to use the stamps I created to make a print and we discussed some of the different ways to lay out the leaf prints (in rows, in a circle, to make an initial, etc.), then the children went to work!


  • Kraft paper or brown paper bags for stamping on
  • Stamps (I glued sticky-backed foam shapes stuck to pieces of foam core)*
  • Brushes
  • Paint trays (I used foam meat trays)
  • Acrylic paint (I used red, orange and yellow)
  • Water and water containers
  • Paper towels
  • Background paper (I used wrapping paper in green)
  • Glue sticks & Elmer's glue
  • Sharpies or markers
  • Scissors (I used regular and decorative edged)
  • Stapler or tape
*If you don't want to purchase the supplies to make stamps, you can use an apple cut in half--this also makes a wonderful fall banner

  1. Create the stamps or cut the apple in half (a grown-up's job). I cut 4" squares of foam core and attached some ready-made foam stickers I found at a craft store to them.
  2. Place a bit of acrylic paint in the meat tray. Using a paint brush, paint a thin coat of paint onto the surface of the stamp. If you put too much paint, the stamp will be slippery and not make a good print. Print the leaf shapes onto the kraft paper in a circle (wreath shape) or in the shape of your initial (or whatever you choose). Once you are done all the stamping, put the piece aside to dry.
  3. Cut a piece of wrapping paper (background paper) to create the background of your wallhanging. Fold over a section of the top to make a casing to hang the finished banner. You can secure the casing with tape or staples.
  4. Use the scissors to create fringe on the bottom edge of the banner. To do this, make a series of cuts up from the bottom about 1/4" apart. The fringe can be any length you'd like.
  5. My students used the Sharpies to decorate the banner and write things like "Welcome Fall," their name, or just make a decorative pattern on the banner.
  6. Glue the kraft paper with the leaf prints on it to the background using Elmer's glue. 
  7. Once the leaf prints are completely dry, use the Sharpies to draw in the veins of the leaves, if you'd like.
  8. Insert a twig into the casing, and hang your fall banner for all to see!

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