I love fall and all of the gorgeous colors that come with the season and this autumn tree painting with cotton balls is a wonderful fall craft that kids of all ages will enjoy. The cotton balls give the leaves a fluffy texture and are a fun way for kids to paint.
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 Autumn Tree Painting with Cotton Balls
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- Printable branch template (optional)
- Canvas paper pad or white cardstock if you are using the template
- Acrylic paint in fall colors
- Paint palette and water container, recycled containers work great
- Cotton balls
Instructions to make your fall tree painting
We used a canvas paper for this project, it’s something we’ve been painting on lately and I really like it. It’s basically canvas that would normally be stretched onto a wooden frame but it comes in a pad with 10 sheets.
It held the paint really well and I think gives the painting a nice texture. My kids really liked using it as well, it’s always fun to find different surfaces to create on.
1. Because this autumn tree painting is more of a branch than a whole tree, you want to cut your paper in half for a horizontal painting, which I think looks pretty cool!
The canvas pad was 12 x 16 inches so our finished size was 12 x 8 inches when cut in half. You could also use whatever canvas you have at home. Or if you are using the template, you will use white cardstock.
2. Mix up your paints. I used a nice bright blue for the sky and gorgeous fall colors in red, orange and yellow for the leaves. We did experiment with using some green as well, but I didn’t like how it turned out, the colors came out a bit muddy looking.
I really like how the red, orange and yellow work together to give the painting depth and interest. We used black for the tree branch, giving the painting even more contrast.
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3. Paint the entire canvas with blue for the sky. Our paint was mixed with white so you can see some white streaks here and there in the sky which I think looks nice.
Using a larger flat brush for the sky works well and makes it easier for kids to cover their entire canvas.
Let the sky dry completely, or if you are wanting to move on quickly, you can use a hairdryer to help speed things up.
4. Draw in a branch with a pencil. Depending on the age of the child, they may need some help to do this. Using my free printable branch template makes this easier, especially for younger kids, while older kids might prefer to draw their own.
Paint the branch black and let it dry before moving on.
5. Now the fun part! Make your cotton ball paintbrushes and start painting. We started with red first, then orange and painted the yellow last. I didn’t worry too much about the colors drying in between and they didn’t seem to mix or smudge together.
Painting with cotton balls was so fun for my kids, it has been fun painting a tree for each season using this technique. I just love how fluffy and vibrant autumn colors look against the blue sky and black branch.
This autumn tree painting makes such a wonderful fall craft for kids and looks absolutely gorgeous when done!
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Pin this fall painting for later
- Printable template
- Acrylic paint
- Cotton balls
- Canvas pad or white cardstock
- Paint palette
- If you are using the template, print it out onto white cardstock. If you are using canvas, then cut it to your desired size. We cut ours in half so it was 12 x 8 inches.
- Paint the sky blue and let dry.
- Let kids draw out their branch if they are not using a template.
- Paint the branch black and let it dry. Using a smaller sized brush for this step will make it easier for kids.
- Get your cotton ball paintbrushes ready.
- Prepare your acrylic paint, we used red, orange and yellow paint for our fall tree.
- Start by painting with red first, then orange and yellow last. You don't need to let the colors dry in between.
Make sure to use one cotton ball per color and remind kids to dab the paint on and try to avoid smudging the paint back and forth.