Featured Guest: Jen of Paint Cut Paste | Leaf-Print Garden Flags

Please welcome Jen from PaintCutPaste today! She's an art therapist and Mom to a four year old daughter, who seems to love creative expression as much as her mama. Jen's training in art therapy shines through the projects she creates, her blog is full of age-appropriate art experiences and material explorations that inspire confidence in a budding artists and above all else -- fun! Spring is in the air and I'm delighted Jen is sharing a tutorial that can be put to use in our garden. What a great way to celebrate Earth Day!

Leaf-print Garden Flags

Spring has sprung and our backyard needed some bigtime revamping – what better than colorful garden flags to do the trick? Last year’s Tibetan prayer flags have faded in the California sunshine, so it is time to replace them with some custom artsy flags! This simple and fun nature printmaking activity scores high with my daughter both in process and product.

First, I cut a piece of white linen fabric I had into 4” x 5” rectangles. My daughter helped me to fray the edges for that rustic sort of look.

Despite my being seriously sewing-machine-challenged, I was able to quickly sew a little pocket across the top of each rectangle through which to string the hanging cord at the end.

My daughter and I most enjoy art activities involving natural materials – especially ones that require a nature walk and collecting. We spent an afternoon in the neighborhood gathering leaves of all different shapes with the intention of using them to make prints on our garden flags.

We chose some analogous nature colors of fabric paint. My daughter easily used a small paint roller to paint the veiny backside each leaf (and part of her hand.)

Then she placed the leaf face-down on a flag. We put a piece of paper on top of it, and used a clean brayer for her to roll across the paper. That way we were sure to get a vivid and detailed print of the leaves.

Seeing the print the leaves produced gave such delight and joy, even on the fifteenth and final flag.

It took about 4 hours for the paint to dry (and for us to admire the detail each leaf produced!)

We strung the flags on a thin white rope, and we hung them in our backyard as an homage to our local life-giving trees! As my little one always says, “I am thankful for the trees because they give us air!” So, these garden flags are prayer flags indeed – carrying our gratitude for nature into the spring breezes!

Consider these as great mother’s day or father’s day gifts. They also make a great end of the school year teacher gifts, letting each child in class decorate his or her own flag, perhaps with little hand

Thanks Jen! I just love this project and can't wait to see everyone's take on it!


  1. Great post and great guest! Those are really cool! I love printing with nature
    and this is a great reminder to try it with my daughter!

  2. What a wonderful idea! I am going to do it just as soon as the trees get some leaves.(so cold here still!) Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jen and Regina--I love this! It's not only fun--I get excited about the process of collecting and rolling the paint, etc., but the end product is so beautiful and display-worthy! I can't wait to try this with my daughter.


  4. These are really beautiful. You should share this over at It's Playtime!

    Rachele @ Messy Kids

  5. I'm a huge fan of Paint Cut Paste, and love this project. N's comment about thanking the trees for air is wonderful! There's so much magic in printmaking, and I've always had huge successes with it as an art teacher. I really appreciate Jen's point of view -- her projects are always full of ideas that reflect her love for the earth and respect for her child. Thanks for bringing her voice into the mix, Regina!

  6. thank you everyone for your kid responses! we are loving watching these flap in the breeze of our backyard right now! :)

  7. I love this!!!! When spring finally decides to stick around, we will be adding some flags to our outdoor rock garden! I can't wait :).

  8. Absolutely lovely. I had to feature this!
    Here's the link:

  9. So cute and colorful! Love getting the kids out in nature and creating with it too!!

  10. thanks again everyone! we just did another version of garden flags with kids' handprints as an end of the school year teacher gift - check it out here: -- happy summer!