Skip to content

How to make a leaf print tote bag

Looking down onto a table where someone is hammering leaves onto a cotton tote bag to create a pattern.
Making a leaf print tote bag | © National Trust/Bob Appleby

Autumn is a great time for creativity and mindfulness. Escape into the season with this eco-printing craft, where you can use leaves you’ve collected to create a leaf print on tote bags, cotton aprons or bunting. Follow our step-by-step guide or the video tutorial.

What you’ll need

  • A selection of leaves that you’ve gathered
  • The cotton fabric you’d like to print on
  • Masking tape
  • A hard surface, such as a wooden chopping board
  • A hammer or wooden mallet

Method

Prepare your fabric
Lay the fabric out onto a hard surface, facing down. 
Arrange your pattern
Place your chosen leaves onto the fabric in your desired pattern.
Keep leaves in place
Secure the leaves down with masking tape at their stems.
Get hammering
With your hammer or wooden mallet, tap on the leaf with some light pressure. Make sure to keep your hands out of the way and ask an adult for help if needed. When you hammer the leaves, try and be gentle but firm enough to make sure that they print without breaking or moving them. Keep lifting each leaf to check your progress as you go.
The reveal
Peel off the leaf from the underside of the print – this will leave an impression behind.
Keep going
Repeat the process to create your pattern and your tote bag is ready to use.

Top tip

Look for leaves that have brighter colours. Fresher leaves will work best for this craft. Experiment on a spare piece of fabric if you’d like to try a few pieces of foliage before you work on the final print.

Allow video to play? This page contains content that is published to YouTube.

We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as this content may introduce additional cookies. You may want to read the Google YouTube terms of service  and privacy policy  before accepting.

Video
Video

How to make a leaf print tote bag

Follow along with the video tutorial to see how you can create a print using leaves. If younger ones would like to try this craft, make sure an adult is around to help out.

Visitors sit around a table enjoying a blossom inspired craft activity

More craft activities

Discover more fun craft activities to keep you occupied all through the year.

You might also be interested in...

Two children crouching down and and enjoying gardening activities in the Kitchen Garden at Osterley Park and House, London
Article
Article

How we're improving access to nature with Starling Bank 

We've partnered with Starling Bank to improve access to nature for more than 1 million people. Find out more about how Starling Bank is supporting our work, including funding nature workshops for children and helping vital conservation work.

Carved pumpkin display for Halloween at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire
Article
Article

Carve a pumpkin lantern 

Learn how to make a pumpkin lantern this Halloween and find tips for recycling it afterwards. You can also find ideas for using natural materials as an alternative to plastic decorations.

Making a pinecone bird feeder
Article
Article

How to make a bird feeder 

If you’d like to see more birds in your outdoor space, discover how you can make a simple bird feeder with just a few items and ingredients.

Blackberry and pistachio cake with a slice removed and on a small plate
Recipe
Recipe

Pistachio and blackberry cake 

Light, delicately flavoured and incredibly moreish, this pistachio and blackberry cake is guaranteed to impress your friends and family whatever the occasion.