Bark and Paint Swatch Trees

Bark and Paint Swatch Trees: kids can explore nature’s colours and textures while creating beautiful Fall art.

At this time of year, the hooligans and I are still spending most of our hours outdoors, playing in the yard and neighbourhood and observing the changes of the season. We’re also doing lots of Autumn crafting. Yesterday, I thought it would be fun to explore, the colours AND the texture of the trees that are starting to take on the shades of Autumn with these bark and paint swatch trees.  This is just one of several really neat fall tree crafts that you’ll find among the pages of my blog.


We set out on walk, looking for bark. I talked to the hooligans about how important bark is to the health of a tree, protecting it from bugs and disease, and that we shouldn’t peel bark from a live tree.  We do however have some play logs in our yard which we were able to remove some bark from, and we found lots of it in my neighbour’s wood pile.  We also found a few pieces in some bark mulch in another neighbour’s garden.

Back home with our treasures, we set out about making our trees.

To make our bark and paint swatch trees, you’ll need:


paint chip samples and bark pieces

  • paint chip samples, in an array of Fall colours, cut into small “leaves”
  • glue gun
  • glue
  • paintbrush
  • sturdy white cardboard as a canvas (you could paint the inside of a panel from a cereal box)

a bowl of bark and paint chip "leaves"


I set out a few “pots” of glue for the hooligans to dip their paintbrushes into.  While learning to squeeze a glue bottle is an essential skill for preschoolers, I find the paintbrush method easier and less frustrating when crafting with toddlers.  Fast-food ketchup cups are perfect for holding the glue.gluing bark to a cardboard canvas

The glue didn’t do a great job of holding the bark, so we resorted to a glue gun for that part.  Low-heat glue guns are safe to use with and around children, but if you’re using a high heat gun, please use caution.

gluing fall paint chip "leaves" to our project

Once they had their bark glued in place where they wanted it, they used their brushes and glue to decorate their “trees” with leaves.

Aren’t these pretty? 2 finished "bark and paint chip trees"IMG_3993

 All it needs now is a twig frame to give it a finished look!


Looking for more Fall Art projects to do with your hooligans?  We have lots!   Check out:

Popcorn Fall Trees

Sandpaper Apple Trees

Tissue – Button Apple Trees

Paint Chip Fall Trees

Fall Tissue Twig Trees

Handprint Tissue Trees

Apple Stamping


Apple Stamping with Real Leaves

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  1. says

    This is a nifty way to explore arts and crafts through the nature all around us. Thank you for sharing and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop :-)

    • happyhooligans says

      Thank you, Ashley! I’ll be sure to get over there and check out all the other goodies that were shared last week!

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