This is a lovely idea I saw on the internet, but I cannot find it to link to it. When I do I will add it!
Using Plaster of Paris, the children created a leaf impression, which they painted when it set hard. We started off with a rectangle of hessian which the children frayed, to create a decorative frindged edge. A wire loop was attached on the back for hanging purposes. Leaves which I had collected off the ground were rubbed with Vaseline on the underside where the veins are most prominent. These are then set to one side while the plaster is mixed.
Making sure that the children understood the health & safety guidelines of using Plaster (this is so important) they began to mix 2 parts plaster to one part water approx (wearing dusk masks). They mixed until the plaster resembled ‘melted ice-cream’, it was then poured in a circular shape. The hessian was jiggled back and forth so the plaster could flatten out and release any trapped air bubbles. The leaf was placed on the wet plaster and gently patted down.
While the plaster was drying, the children frayed the edges of a small piece of calico, it was glued to the hessian with PVA just below the plaster. Using an ink pad and letter stamps, the children printed an Autumnal word or their name on the calico. Once the plaster was touch dry the leaf was peeled off.
We used water based paints and the children applied the paint with a cloth in a wiping motion, this way the veins in the leaf imprint would show up. Final touches were added with pastel dust using a fingetip.