Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DIY Fall Leaves Tutorial

Here's a tutorial for how to make realistic Fall leaves for decoration.

You will need the following supplies:
Cardstock paper in Fall colours
Black Tea
Watercolour paints
Pencil crayons
White chalk pencil
First, cut Fall leaf shapes out of your cardstock paper.  I used a Silhouette Cameo paper cutting machine to cut mine.  If you need these shapes, you can contact me through my store to order some.  Otherwise, just use a scissor or edging scissors to cut out more simple leaf shapes.
As you can see, you can use different colours of cardstock paper.  The ones with a mottled or textured design (not texture of paper) tend to work best as the design will show through the paint later on.
Rich colours are nice.
Next, make some really, really dark tea.  Use very little water so that it is murky.  Use this murky water plus dark brown watercolour paint to paint an outline around each leaf.  I used a Q-tip to do this.  

Note:  The tip of the Q-tip will get all loose and droopy, but that helps with drawing into tight corners.  If it starts to get annoying, just use a new Q-tip or pull off the loose end.
Now rinse off the Q-tip in the tea, and use just the tea to blend the outline so that it is a soft blur towards the middle of the leaf.
The goal is to create a shaded outline that helps the leaf pop out from the other leaves.  Plus it helps the leaf look like the edges are starting to wilt.
Bunch up tissues to use for sponge painting.  Use the tea as the water if you want darker leaves, or use regular water in a low tray.
Use water colour paint to create some colour in different areas on your leaves.  For example, put red around the tips and yellow in the center, or green in the middle and yellow on the edges.  
Take your white chalk pencil and draw veins on your leaf.  

Tip:  You can also use a bright yellow pencil crayon.  Also try some variations with green pencil crayon and brown pencil crayon to create different kinds of leaves.
 In this example, add yellow pencil crayon towards the middle portion of the leaf. You don't need/want to colour right to the center line.  So do it roughly and colour in the direction of the veins.
 Take an orange pencil crayon and colour roughly over the leaf.  Press a little harder around the veins or in corners towards the middle so that it makes the veins pop out a little more.
Take a green pencil crayon and look for any areas where you already have some slightly darker patches from the paper design or the shading around the edge was a bit darker.  Add patches of green colour to make it look like slight changes in colour on the leaf.  
Real leaves are not perfect, they have blemishes and spots.  So feel free to add some random patches of colour, dots, etc.  Colour the stem parts too.
Depending on how vivid you want your leaf colours, Add brighter colours to different sections of your leaves.
Now create some dimension!  Crease your leaves where you have drawn big veins so that the veins are indented and the leaf edges curl towards you.  

A good way to do this is to put your thumb nail where the vein is, and to use your other hand to press the other side of the leaf towards your thumb nail.
You can crease just the middle vein, if you want. 
 Or crease all of the main veins for a very curved and realistic leaf.  
 You can pinch the tips of pointer leaves to give them a more curled up look, purposely bend the tip of leaf in the direction it's bending already, etc.  
 I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
See this other blog post for ideas on how to use the leaves as wall decor.

If you would like to purchase these leaves pre-made or just to get the leaf shapes, contact me through my store.

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