How to Paint with Leaves – A Memory Box

Last Updated on September 20, 2020 by Ellen Christian

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Learn how to paint with leaves to create a memory box for your special items. Create art with left painting with this simple technique.

Photos, baby’s first teeth, scouting badges, candles from birthday cakes. There are so many little things that hold special memories for me.

As the kids get older, I’ve been going through things that I’ve been saving since they were little. I decided that I really needed one place to keep everything organized and I wanted to give it a fun fall theme.  

Leaf painting a memory box to hold these items was on my crafting list for this week and now I’m sharing how to paint on leaves with you.

How to paint with leaves - a memory box

How to Paint with Leaves – A Memory Box

I had an unfinished wooden craft box that I ordered a while ago and never used. You can really use any type of wooden box or even one of those paperboard boxes if you’d rather. The important thing is that it has a tight-fitting lid to keep all your treasures safe.

Since it’s the middle of fall right now and everywhere I look I see the gorgeous colors of fall, I decided I would decorate this memory box with a fall theme.  If you don’t have leaves in your area right now, you can use 

I have always wanted to try painting with leaves but I don’t have a roller to smooth the paint on the leaf.  I decided to try a bit of a different technique instead.

Painting with leaves this way leaves a white outline where the leaf was and then paint where the leaf was not.

Learn how to paint with leaves to create a memory box for your special items. Create art with left painting with this simple technique.


  • Acrylic paint (white, yellow, orange, red, brown, etc.)
  • Paintbrush
  • A variety of leaves

How to paint with leaves

  • Paint the box white or the light color of your choice. Let it dry completely.
  • Collect leaves from outside. Make sure they are flat & not too dry or they will be brittle.

painting with red paint over a maple leaf

  • Place one leaf on the painted box & carefully sponge paint around it. Make sure you hold it flat so that the paint doesn’t get under the leaf. Allow this color to dry completely.
  • Repeat the process with other leaves until as much of the memory box is painted as you want. Allow it to dry completely.

a white memory box with a leaf design

Tips for leaf painting

  • Vary the colors you use so that they don’t all blend into each other.
  • Use different sizes and shapes of leaves for visual interest.
  • If you plan on using your memory box a lot, you might want to finish it with a coating of mod podge to prevent the paint from flaking.

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11 thoughts on “How to Paint with Leaves – A Memory Box”

  1. I think this looks so wonderful, and the memory boxes sound very special! I remember doing something like this many years ago, but yours look so much nicer! I would love if you would share this at Celebrate It! It's our blog party where we celebrate the everyday things that we do!
  2. this looks like a fun project to do with my grandsons this coming weekend, I am sure we will have plenty of leaves off the trees after the wet and wild weather the next couple of days!
  3. Pingback: 8 Leaf Crafts Perfect For Fall! - Saving Mamasita
  4. My children and I are going to do this now, we just came in with our leaves and can't wait to get started!! Thanks for the post!

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