DIY Fall Printing Projects for Middle School

As students return to the classroom in September, it’s the perfect time of year to ease them back into their studies with some engaging, hands-on projects. DIY fall-themed printing activities allow students to get creative and take home a physical copy of their work to share with family members; they might even use it to decorate their home for Thanksgiving.

Before you can set these tasks for the class, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary materials on hand for a successful art project. Gather the correct paper, paints and templates for your students to embrace the harvest season.

Check to make sure your school printers are up to the task for the kids to craft a masterpiece. All you need are some high-quality dell printer ink cartridges, so you can produce printables that are visually appealing and engaging for students.

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  1. Use Leaf Printables to Collect Leaves

Fall is an excellent time for walks in the woods and exploring nature. With these fall leaf printables, you can help kids learn how to identify different leaves, remember the names of trees and introduce the idea of environmental conservation. The perfect crossover project for science and art class, teachers can use these printables to educate students on tree species, identification and how different trees impact the local ecosystem. 

Once the printables are ready, you can ask the students to go out to a park or their back yard during the weekend and collect leaves, using the printables as a tool for identification.

  1. Overlapping Leaf Prints Collage

Help kids de-stress after midterms with a fun and therapeutic collage project. The materials you need are real leaves, paper, cardstock or fabric paper, paint, brushes and a mat or newspaper. Both fresh or fallen leaves will work for this project. For paper or cardstock, you can use tempera or poster paint. For fabric paper, use fabric paint or acrylic paint. 

Once you have all the materials ready, prepare the work tables with a mat or newspapers. To get the paint ready, mix it with a bit of water on a palette without making it too runny. For printing leaves, you want the paint to be slightly thick. 

To make the collage, take one leaf and paint a single side of it. Then put the leaf on the paper and press firmly for a few seconds before removing it. To make a collage, repeat this process using a variety of colors. You can use fall colors such as orange, yellow, red and brown to make a beautiful fall painting. 

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  1. Make a Leaf Rubbing Thanksgiving Card

Before Thanksgiving, give students in-class time to make a beautiful and creative holiday card for their families or friends through this project. You need fresh or dry leaves, paper (preferably thin or lightweight) and crayons or oil pastels. 

For this project, find a hard surface on which to do the rubbing. A flat, solid surface reduces the sliding of the paper and leaf. Place a leaf with the vein side up on a piece of white paper, and then put another piece of paper on top. As you hold the paper steady, rub with a crayon and pastel on top of the paper, and you should see the shape of the leaf appearing through the page. 

You can use four different leaves on each corner of the piece of paper to create a beautiful combination of shapes and colors. Thin white paper is a bit too soft for a holiday card. If the drawing is small enough, paste it on a piece of colored folded cardstock paper. You can teach your students how to scan and print it in a smaller size before gluing it onto some cardstock to make their card. You’ll need to invest in quality printer supplies so the card comes out with vibrant colors. 

This project is perfect to combine with an English poetry unit, so you can have your students write meaningful content inside the card. 

  1. Make Gift Wrapping Paper with Leaf Rubbings 

Another fun project with leaf rubbings is making a colorful fall wrapping paper that students can use when giving their family gifts over the holidays. For this project, you’ll need the same materials as #3 but, instead of white paper, use thin kraft paper. Discuss the importance of sustainability with students and emphasize that many store-bought wrapping papers are non-recyclable. Creating their own wrapping paper using kraft paper can be eco-friendly, and the handmade design makes the gift inside even more special. 

Provide an array of oil pastels to students but, for best results against the brown paper, ensure there is plenty of selection in autumn tones such as reds, yellows and oranges. 

  1. Have Fun with Apple Print Pumpkins

Use cut apples to create cute pumpkin shapes on fabric, allowing students to design their own trick-or-treat candy bags. You can use tempera, poster paint or acrylic paint. You’ll need orange for the pumpkins and green to paint the pumpkin stems. For a Halloween aesthetic, provide students with black fabric tote bags as their work surface. 

Cut one apple in half for printing the pumpkins. On the other side of the apple, carve out a handle by removing two apple chunks on each side. This will make the printing process easier. Take the half apple and dip in the orange paint or paint the flat surface of the apple with a brush. Then, apply the apple on the black fabric and, with a thin brush, add a small green stem. Repeat the process until the tote bag has the desired pumpkin design. 

Once the paint is dry, use a black marker to draw faces on the pumpkins. Draw a different face on each one to make the drawing look interesting and fun. Middle-schoolers will love designing a custom bag that they can trick-or-treat with this year. 

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  1. Fingerprint Fall Tree

Organize a fun art activity that involves drawing, leaf printing and fingerprinting. The first step is to draw the trunk of a tree. This can be done on cardstock using crayons or oil pastels. Once the students have drawn the tree, they can put leaves on the tree with their fingerprints. At the tree’s base, they can print overlapping leaves with paint to create the effect of fallen leaves on the ground.

While this is a simple project, it’s fun for students of all ages and is a great opportunity to teach students how to use the color wheel to create eye-catching combinations. 

Projects Your Students Will Cherish 

These fun fall printing projects are a fantastic way to encourage creativity in your students and have them create lasting pieces they can take home to put on display each year as the leaves change color. Ensure you’re prepared for these classes with the necessary printing supplies, including the correct ink cartridges, paper type and size and printer quality, so your students will have a blast creating some exciting projects this fall.