Nature art and craft · Painting · Process art

Process art with natural materials

In a previous blog post we talked about the importance of process art for kids, which simply means focusing on the creative process, rather than on the finished product.

These process art activities use a range of natural materials, including leaves, flowers, pine cones, shells, rocks/stones, branches and wood slices to create some wonderful works of art.  They teach kids how they can use things from nature for their artwork and experiment with different patterns, textures and colour combinations.

All you need to do is collect your natural materials, give your kids some paint/crayons and paper and let them explore and create to their heart’s content.

process art with natural materials

Go on a nature walk and see what interesting things you can find that might make some cool prints/effects. Attach each piece of nature to a stick and explore the different patterns and textures each nature paint brush can produce – from Messy little monster.

nature paint brushes

If you collected flowers on your nature walk, you could also use them as paint brushes on their own.  Use them individually to scrape paint across the paper, or join them together with twine and scrape them in different directions. You could use the decorated paper as gift wrap or to make note cards, or paint onto a canvas and hang it up at home – from hello, Wonderful.


You could use some leaves from your nature walk to make leaf prints. Make sure you collect leaves of different sizes and shapes to make lots of interesting patterns – from Parenting chaos.


Or why not try putting some leaves together to create a heart shape, painting the leaves and letting them dry for a pretty Mother’s Day gift – from How wee learn.

painted leaf hearts

My son’s favourite thing to collect on nature walks is pine cones.  Just put some paper in a box, squirt in some paint, then let your little artist roll the pine cones around the box until they are happy with the results – from No time for flash cards.

pinecone painting

Or you could decorate the pine cones themselves by painting them with a paint brush or just rolling them directly in the paint.  Remember to let your child decide what they want to do with the pine cones and paint – there are no rules! – from Arty crafty kids.


You might like to go on a nature walk on the beach and collect some shells with different textures and shapes – smooth, shiny, pointy, ridged and round.  Your kids can have fun seeing what happens with the paint on the different types of shells – from Fun a day.


Another technique you could try with shells is melted crayon art. Just gently heat the shells in the oven, then use crayons to decorate. Watch how the heat from the shells melts the crayon and creates different effects – from Fun at home with kids.

melted crayon shell art

You can also create melted crayon art on rocks. All you need is some small, smooth rocks and crayons.  Then, as with the shells, gently heat the rocks in the oven and draw on them carefully with the crayons. They would make lovely gifts as paperweights, or you could use them for imaginative play – from The artful parent.

melted crayon rocks

You could also try painting with rocks and create some large artworks in the process. Just add small amounts of paint to the top of the paper, then roll or slide the rocks down and watch the paint spread and the colours mix as the rocks move down the paper – from Fantastic fun and learning.

(This is a similar technique to the one using cars in this post.)


Use a fallen branch for some collaborative art with your kids and their friends.  Just put the branch and some paints on a table and let them go for it!  It’s a great opportunity for each child to be creative, while sharing and taking turns with the paints and different parts of the branch and working as a team to create one big piece of amazing art – from Art Bar Blog.

collaborative branch painting

You could do the same thing with some wood slices – either ones you cut yourself from a thick branch or bought from a craft store.  Just place them on a table with a variety of paint colours and let them explore how the paint looks on the different textures of the wood – from Homegrown friends.


Which one of these natural materials will your kids try first?

We would love to see their artwork – just post to Facebook or Instagram with #littlegreencrafters 🙂

This is part of a series of posts about process art for kids.  Check out the other posts below:

The importance of process art for kids

Process art with unique painting tools

Process art with print making


4 thoughts on “Process art with natural materials

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