Plaster Leaf Cast Impressions

  • Young Adult
  • Grades 1-3

Make Leaf Cast Impressions using plaster to compliment a discussion on history and fossils!


  • Finger Paint 6 Pack
  • Jumbo Craft Sticks
  • Small foam plate or tray
  • Leaves (newly fallen)
  • Measuring Cup
  • Water


Step 1. Gather your supplies.

Plaster leaf tile

children's plaster leaf cast project

Step 2.

Measure 1 cup of plaster in your measuring cup. Slowly add approximately 1 cup of water to the plaster, stirring with a jumbo craft stick. Tip: You may need more or less water based on altitude.

mixing plaster to make a relief tile

Step 3.

Continue mixing the plaster until it is the consistency of pancake batter. Tip: test the plaster by sprinkling a small amount of dry plaster on top of your mix. If it sits on top, you are good to pour. If it sinks, you may have too much water.

How to make a relief tile with children

Step 4.

Pour the plaster into the foam tray.

Make leaf impressions in plaster

Step 5.


Touch the plaster lightly to test the surface, it should be wet, but offer a little resistance.  If it is too watery wait just a minute or two and try again. Once the plaster is ready, place a leaf, face up, into the plaster. Press gently on the leaf, making sure it doesn’t sink too far into the plaster.

Fall plaster project for children

Step 6.


Use fingers to decorate around the leaf as it sits in the plaster. Many kids will enjoy the tactile experience with the plaster in this stage.

How to make a leaf impression in plaster

Step 7.

Use Finger Paints to add color to the plaster. 

Working with plaster to create a leaf impression

Step 8.


Once the plaster is firm to the touch, pull the leaf from the plaster. You will be left with the impression of the leaf and the veins, much like a fossil!

Plaster Leaf Cast Impressions

Step 9.

Let the plaster dry in the tray overnight and then pop out of the tray to display your creation.

Further Discussion: 

Turn the fall season into a great learning experience! Have children make leaf rubbings with fallen leaves. Then take the same leaves and create the above plaster leaf printings. Afterwards, you can have a discussion about achieving texture. This plaster leaf printing craft can also be paired with a discussion about history and how fossils are made!

Tip: This can be a fun project, but sometimes a bit messy. Cover the table with a plastic table cloth or newspaper while crafting in single or larger groups. Make sure children wear smocks and keep a box of wipes on hand to clean messy fingers.