Fun Fall Activity – Preserving Leaves

Fun Fall Activity – Preserving Leaves

Finding that perfect leaf in the fall can be a fun adventure.  You can now find as many colors as you would on a paint pallet: earthy browns, deeps reds, vibrant yellows, and even bronco color orange.  If you choose your leaves carefully, you can preserve them, so they last a long time.  They are fun to add to pictures, decorations, and anything your imagination can dream up.

It all starts by hunting to find that perfect leaf.

First, looking for that perfect leaf starts by looking on the ground and not in the trees.  When you find that spectacular leaf, make sure it doesn’t have any insects on it or it has been munched on in spots. In general, the longer a leaf sits on the ground the drier and older the leaf becomes, and the more faded the colors are.  Second, try to find leaves that are flat.  These are easiest to press. Third, keep your leaf out of direct sunlight to avoid fading, and away from moisture to prevent mold from growing.

Pressing leaves with heavy books is the simplest method.  You only need acid-free paper and several heavy books. Take out one book, this is your press, make sure it is bigger than your leaf and not a valuable book because moisture and ink from the leaf can damage the book pages.  Now your ready to press.

  • Take a piece of acid-free paper and fold it in half.
  • Arrange your leaves on one side of the paper, then close the fold, sandwiching your leaves between the halves.
  • Place the folded sandwiched leaves in the pages of your pressing book and add books on top to weigh it down.
  • Try not to let leaves overlap – when they dry, you want to see all the intricate veins and patterns. Keep stems out of the way, as they can stain.
  • If you’re pressing more than one specimen in the book, leave about a quarter of an inch of page space between layers – and be careful not to add more leaves than the book can fit.
  • Keep your leaf filled books piled somewhere dry and where no one will bother them.

Your dried, pressed, and preserved leaves should be ready in a few days to a couple of weeks.  You will know when they are ready when the paper is not cool to the touch.  When they are completely dry your imagination can run wild on how to use them.  Here is a few of the ideas we like.

Make a fall picture collage with your pressed leaves.

Decorate windows and doors.

Personalize your Christmas wrapping paper.

Make a Thanksgiving table decoration by filling a basket with your pressed leaves.

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