Arboretum News

Kids Activity: Spray Bottle Leaf Art

Make beautiful art with a few leaves, a spray bottle and some food coloring.

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Spray bottle leaf art. Photo by Reba Luiken.

By Reba Luiken, Arboretum coordinator of informal interpretation

At the Arboretum’s Marion Andrus Learning Center, our youngest visitors seem to gravitate to the greenhouse spray bottles!  They love to spray and water all of the plants. You can recreate the same experience at home. This activity adds an extra step to create some colorful art, but it takes advantage of how much preschoolers love to use spray bottles.

The materials. Photo by Reba Luiken.

– Spray bottle(s)
– Water
– Food coloring 
– Cardstock or construction paper
– Rocks
– Leaves, flowers, and other plant parts

Use rocks to keep the leaves on the paper. Photo by Reba Luiken.


1. Head outside for a nature hunt: Collect flowers and leaves you’d like to use in your art project.  You’ll want to collect some small stones to hold down your plant parts, too. 

2. Mix up your paint: Add water to your spray bottle and then add food coloring. Shake to mix.

3. Test out your color on a piece of paper.  Add more food coloring for a darker hue.

4. Find a flat place outside to work.

5. Lay out leaves and/or flowers on a piece of cardstock to create your design.  Weigh the plant parts down with rocks so they don’t move.

6. Spray color on the paper.  I found that spraying up close and farther away created different effects.

7. Let your artwork dry. 

8. Remove your plant parts to reveal the design.

Credit to East TN Family Fun for the idea.

2 comments on “Kids Activity: Spray Bottle Leaf Art

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