Monday, October 15, 2007

Make Your Own Pressed Leaves

Today is Blog Action Day and thousands of bloggers will be posting articles that relate to the environment and the earth. The weather has suddenly turned cold and, for us northerners, that means the leaves are going to change and fall from the trees. That, of course, means that the fall leaves will be available for art and craft projects! So I thought this would be a good opportunity to post a leaf pressing project. By sealing fall leaves between wax paper you can keep all those natural earth colors around to enjoy and appreciate through the winter.

You'll notice that all the leaves in my pictures are yellow or still green. The yellow leaves seem to have begun to change before any other color. It's still a bit early here for this project but it shouldn't be long before all the leaves have changed.

I know this isn’t a serious post about the environment and what you can do to help, but it will allow you to take some time to appreciate the art that nature has created. Maybe the beauty of nature will inspire you to try to protect it. Plus, we can’t be serious all the time!

Supplies Needed:

Leaves in a variety of shapes and colors
Wax paper
Ironing Board

Begin by cutting two pieces of wax paper. Place one sheet on your ironing board and set the other sheet aside.

Choose a leaf to press. Put the leaf on the sheet of wax paper, making sure the leaf is as flat as possible. Lay the second sheet of wax paper on top of the leaf. Line up the edges of the two sheets of wax paper.
Cover the top with your dishtowel. Set your iron to the hottest setting and iron over the dishtowel to melt the sheets of wax paper together. Try to create a tight seal as close to the edge of the leaf as possible. My towel was too thick so I used a paper towel. This worked a lot better but there is the added risk of starting a fire.
You can then cut off the extra wax paper, leaving just your beautiful leaf. Please note that the wax paper does not melt to the leaf itself. It will only stick to itself or another sheet of wax paper. When you cut out your leaf, leave enough wax paper around the edge to maintain the seal. You’ll be able to enjoy it through the winter and all year long.

Repeat these directions with as many leaves as you’d like to preserve.

Tomorrow I’ll post some projects that will let you use your pressed leaves.


You can create a leaf mosaic between your sheets of wax paper, too. Just arrange different colored leaves into patterns, shapes, or pictures. When you’re happy with your mosaic, lay your dishtowel over the top and iron the two sheets of wax paper together.

Try cutting the leaves into different shapes and then arranging the pieces of leaves into patterns. This will work best if you cut out the stems because the wax will create a better seal if all the pieces are the same thickness.


If you really want to get creative, combine leaves with melted crayons to create a fall leaf sun catcher to hang in the window. Choose a beautiful fall leaf to be the centerpiece of your sun catcher. Lay the leaf in the center of a sheet of wax paper.
Use a pencil sharpener to create crayon shavings in different colors. Arrange the shavings around the leaf. It’s okay if they overlap the leaf but no light will shine through the shavings that are on top of the leaf.

Place the second sheet of wax paper over your artwork. Lay the towel on top and iron until the crayon shavings and wax paper have melted to seal your sun catcher together.

Now you can use some construction paper and glue to make a frame. Then punch a hole in the top of the sun catcher, thread some ribbon through the hole, and tie a knot.

Hang your sun catcher in the window to enjoy.

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