Metallic Leaf Relief

One of our most fun art projects at school so far: metallic leaf relief! The students pickedo out a few leaves and glued them to a small canvas board. I then spray glued thin aluminum foil over the top, pressed it into the leaves, and covered the foil with black spray paint. After it was dry, the girls used steel wool to carefully rub away the black paint, exposing the outline and veins of the leaves in bright silver.

Making “Foil Leaves” is a fun, multi-step, mixed-media art project that young art students really enjoy. Due to use of spray paint and adhesive, this project requires a bit of adult set-up and assistance.


  • Various leaves
  • Aluminum foil (cheaper the better in this case – thin foil works best!)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Black Spray Paint (again, cheaper is better as you will be removing paint to create an “etching”)
  • Poster board or canvas panel
  • Steel wool


  • Gather leaves in various shapes and sizes.
  • Lightly spray surface of board with adhesive.
  • Place leaves (vein side up) on the board pressing into glue to secure, careful not to overlap leaves.
  • Take aluminum foil and cover the leaf.  Wrap the foil around the entire front of the board and neatly tuck the ends around to the back.
  • Rub your fingertips over the leaf until you can see the impressions of the leaf. Smooth foil on rest of board.
  • In well-ventilated area (preferably outside), place foil-covered board on scrap paper or cardboard to protect adjacent surfaces.  Spray with black spray paint to create even coat of black paint.  No silver should show through.  Let dry completely.
  • Using steel wool, gently rub over the leaf to make the veins of the leaf come out. They will shine through as bright silver as you wear away the black paint.
  • Optional: Mount board to card stock or poster board to “frame” art piece.

3 thoughts on “Metallic Leaf Relief

  1. Pingback: Fall Faces | Design in Play

  2. Pingback: Watercolor Leaves – Observation, Line Drawing and Color Mixing | Design in Play

  3. Pingback: Zentangle Turkeys | Design in Play

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