Tree Cork & Utensil Painting

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles

Autumn — colorful foliage, spicy aromas, warm apple cider, and sensory heaven! On this cold winter afternoon (not here, but still), let’s adventure back in time to a beautiful fall day and create a tree — cork and spatula style! Dig into your utensil drawer and pull out a spatula, slotted spoon, old corks, and let’s paint!

Fun Fact:

Why do leaves change colors?  As the days become shorter and the nights get longer, the temperature slowly drops.  Autumn comes, then winter.  Trees respond to the decreasing amount of sunlight by producing less and less chlorophyll.  Eventually, a tree stops producing chlorophyll.  When that happens, the carotenoid already in the leaves can finally show through.  The leaves become a bright rainbow of glowing yellows, sparkling oranges and warm browns.  Fact Source


  • wine corks, cleaned and dried
  • brown paper bag
  • tempura paint, non-toxic
  • plastic containers or paper plates for paint
  • masking tape
  • butcher paper
  • scissors
  • glue

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles


Cover your work surface.  Tape the corners of your paper down to prevent shifting.  For a flat tree base — trace and cut a tree trunk out of brown butcher paper, construction paper, or the inside of a bag paper bag.  Depending on your child’s ability, encourage them to draw their version of a tree trunk.  I’ve included templates to print and trace as a guide on the bottom of the page. Let work on making an elevated base.

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles

1.  For an elevated base — cut down the seam of a brown paper bag.  Cut the bottom of the bag off too.

2.  Twist it in a circular, tube-like motion to create the stump.  Once you twist it, you’ll need to manipulate it to get a chunkier base.

3.  Next, apply glue.  Add a heavy book on top and allow to dry, roughly 15 minutes.  Now, let’s create the branches while the base is drying.

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles

4.  Cut a smaller piece of the bag.

5.  Roll and twist.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

6.  Twist your branch and squeeze the middle pint to create the V.

7.  Rip or cut the ends to create branch tips and twist.

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles

8.  Once you have all your branches cut out, glue them on. Use a heavy book to help the securing/drying process.  Tip:  Squeeze the main glue points flat, it makes it a lot easier to glue.  You’re ready to start painting!  Dip and push, dip and push to create the beautiful colored leaves.

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles

 C started to use the cork, but decided to use his finger instead!

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles

9.  Encourage your child do use different colors. Discuss why the leaves change colors, seasons, and weather.  C lost interest after three leaves, but he came in the end to do the grass and sky.

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles

10.  To create the grass, use a slotted spatula, dip, and cross the lines.  To create the sky, dip flat spatula w/ hole in blue paint and rock it back and forth on the paper.  At the end, tap it sideways to create splatter and paint drips.  Once its dry, display your child’s masterpiece for everyone to enjoy!

Tree Cork & Utensil Painting @ Crayon Box Chronicles

Templates for trace and cut method:

tree_trunk autumn-fall-tree-leaves-craft-preschoolers-free-tr1

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12 thoughts on “Tree Cork & Utensil Painting

  1. Leah Mastilock says:

    Going to try this out in my art class tomorrow. Thanks for the great tutorial. Proof read #3, the same sentences are repeated and the glue instructions need correcting. 😉


  2. Leah Mastilock says:

    love the twisty tree! My son made a tree, just with his fingers and enjoyed making fingerprint leaves! Thank you for linking up on the Learn Through Play hop! You’ve been pinned! Come back for more fun activities throughout the month and don’t forget to share the fun!


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