Using cotton balls to paint the leaves for this apple tree painting creates texture and interest and is a fun and different way for kids to paint! This is a great project to use in the classroom during the fall season and a nice complement to an apple unit.
We love exploring different painting techniques. Take a look at my collection of painting ideas for kids for more fun and creative art projects to try!
I have created a printable branch template for you to use, that is perfect for younger kids and kids who would prefer not to draw their own branch. You can print it on cardstock and start painting right away.
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Create your own apple tree painting
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- Printable branch template (optional)
- White cardstock (optional)
- Canvas pad (optional)
- Acrylic paint in red, black, and 3 shades of green
- Water dish
- Paint palette
- Cotton balls
- Wine cork
Instructions to make your apple tree craft
1. Print out your branch template onto white cardstock. This is a great option for younger kids or older kids who don’t want to draw in their own branch.
You can also use canvas pad, regular cardstock or any type of canvas if you are not using the printable template.
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2. Paint the sky blue using acrylic paint. We mixed our blue with a bit of white to lighten up the color. Let the background dry completely.
3. If kids are drawing the branch, have them draw it in lightly with a pencil.
4. Paint the branch black and let it dry. Using a small brush for this step will make it easier for kids to paint in the smaller branches.
5. Make your cotton ball paintbrushes with a clothespin and a cotton ball and get your paint colors ready. We used 3 shades of green for this apple craft.
Start with the darker color and have kids paint in the leaves. Move on to the next shade of green and finally the lighter shade, using a new cotton ball with each color.
There is no need for the colors to dry in between and is fine if they blend together in some areas. This is a fun way to paint for kids and they will learn about layering different shades of color together and creating a different texture with the cotton balls.
Remind kids not to cover the branch completely with green leaves. It’s nice to have lots of blue sky and some of the branch showing through.
6. To paint in the apples, you will need bright red paint and a cork. Have kids dip the cork into the paint and paint apples on their tree.
After the apples have dried, kids can go back into the painting and add in some light green leaves if needed.
I love how this apple tree painting turned out. It makes such a fun fall painting idea that can be adapted to kids of all ages!
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Pin this fall art project for later
- White cardstock or canvas pad
- Printable template (optional)
- Acrylic paint in red, blue, black and 3 shades of green
- Cotton balls
- Paint palette
- Water dish
- Decide if you are going to use the branch printable or have kids draw the branch themselves. If you are using the printable, simply print it out onto white cardstock.
If kids are drawing in the branch themselves, get the paper ready. You can use white cardstock, canvas pad or any type of canvas for this painting.
- Paint the sky blue with acrylic paint and let it dry.
- Have kids draw out the branch, if you are doing this step.
- Paint the branch black using a small paintbrush.
- Kids can make their cotton ball paintbrushes with a cotton ball and clothespin.
Get your green paint ready. We used 3 shades of green for the apple tree leaves.
- Start with the darker shade of green and start painting leaves on the branch with a cotton ball paintbrush. Kids love painting with cotton balls!
- Continue to paint the leaves in with the other 2 shades of green. You don't have to wait for the colors to dry, it's nice when they blend slightly.
Remind kids not to cover their entire page and to leave lots of blue sky and branch showing through the leaves.
- Use a cork and bright red paint to paint the apples on the tree.