Apple Tree

Special note from Leanne: The tree template is originally drawn by me, but I learned this textured painting technique while doing a painting tutorial with The Art Sherpa on YouTube. If you are into acrylic painting, check her out!


  • Heavy paper – Card stock, multimedia paper, or painting paper
  • Printed black and white copy of the Apple Tree Template on regular printer paper
  • Pencil
  • Green, yellow, and red paint (check out our blog about the different paints we use and what’s right for you!)
  • Brown crayon or paint
  • Cotton swabs – group of 7 swabs bundled together
Click here to download PDF


  1. Print out a black and white copy of the Apple tree template.
  1. Rub your pencil on the back of your apple tree template, following the outline of the tree.
  1. Place the template on top of a blank paper and trace over the outline of the tree. The pencil rubbings will transfer to the bottom sheet. 
  1. Color the trunk of the tree brown
  1. Draw in and color the ground brown.
  1. Set out a small amount of green and yellow paint.

    Use the bunch of cotton swabs and dip it in the paint.

    You can use as much of each color as you want.

    I dipped the bunch in the green and then lightly dipped it in the yellow.

    Notice I didn’t try to mix the colors. Just let the paints sit on my cotton bunch. 

  1. Dab the top of the tree to color the leaves.

    Careful not to rub or drag your bunch over the paper!

    The leaf shapes and texture are made from dabbing your cotton bunches.

    Reload your paint as needed.

  1. Continue dabbing until the whole top of the tree is colored in.

    When finished, set aside to dry.

  1. Have your child dip their finger in the red paint and place all over the tree to make the apples.

    Set aside to dry completely!

Suggested project uses

This project can be used in the following ways:

  • I used acrylic flow paint for this project. Acrylic paint is great to use because it dries quickly and can be layered on top of each other without changing the colors too much. However, please be careful when using acrylic paint! It is a permanent paint that can stain! When I use this paint with my kids, I make sure they wear clothes we don’t mind getting dirty and set them up on a hard floor with drop cloths as needed. A sink is nearby with paper towels just in case! 
  • Use this project to supplement an apple unit, as an A activity, or as a lesson about trees!
  • Use this project as an art lesson to teach about different coloring techniques and the dabbing technique. Use paint instead of a brown crayon to show trunk techniques. Also, you could add grass or flowers to the ground and a blue background!
  • Experiment with different types of paint and see if you get different results!
  • Whatever you use this project for, remember to proudly display your child’s masterpiece!

Discussion suggestions:

Here is a list of things you can talk about while doing this project with your child:

  • The life cycle of an apple tree. When apples turn red on the trees. Discuss what season the apple are ready for picking. Imagine with you think a ripe apple would look like.
  • Make up a story while you’re painting. Is this tree like the tree in The Giving Tree? Does this tree have a story to tell?
  • If you are teaching about art techniques, you could take about color history, why the paint needs to dry before placing the apples. Demonstrate the difference of color when painting wet on wet vs wet on dry. 


While working on this project, your child will be practicing the following skills:

  • Fine motor
  • Eye-Hand Coordination 
  • Imagination and Creation
  • Color recognition and blending
  • Letter recognition
  • Scientific discussion
  • Discovery moment!