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Leaf pressing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and preserve the beauty of the season long after everything goes drab and brown. I didn’t get nearly enough autumn this year (partly because we had a windstorm that stripped the leaves off the trees almost overnight) and after the weatherman mentioned snow (!) the other day I knew this weekend might be my last chance for getting outside and doing anything ‘fallish’ before everything switches over into Christmas mode. So outside I went! After winterizing the lawnmower (had been dreading that for awhile) I went for a hike with the dog on a mission to find some pretty fall ‘pressables’.

Sadly it looks like I was a little late this year. Most everything was already dry and losing its color.

But there were a few treasures left, this one is torn but I think has character!

Leaf Pressing

What you’ll need:

  • 15 minutes to go walking on your favorite trail or just around in the yard
  • A heavy book with non-glossy paper pages

What to do:

Go for a walk and keep a look out for any leaves that catch your eye (much like for creating our November centerpiece). The fresher the better for pressing but feel free to experiment — theoretically anything that can be flattened without breaking apart will work. I found a few things that were mostly dry but still pliable enough to press.

Put the leaves between the pages of a book, being careful not to overcrowd each page or stretch the binding, and let them sit in there for a few weeks to a few months until they’re completely dry.


Helpful hints:

  • Designate a particular book for pressing so you don’t forget where your leaves are later (or buy something like this just for this purpose). Pick one that you don’t open very often and won’t care if the pages get a little discolored with a leaf stain here or there. Dictionaries and old encyclopedias work great! The bigger the better for keeping the leaves flat and protected.
  • Feel free to experiment but generally speaking you’ll get the best results with leaves that have a substantial “skeleton” and aren’t super fleshy or delicate.
  • Press things other than leaves like grass, seed pods, and of course flowers. Worst case if they don’t look good pressed you can just throw them back outside!

October 2017 update: I originally wrote this post before I was a mom, but now that I have a toddler it’s even more fun! Kids love hunting for good leaves to press, and this is a great way to get them outside for a little fresh air (and I can only stand going to the park so many times in a week, ha). It’s also a great opportunity to practice identifying colors (brown, red, orange, yellow), learn about what types of trees different leaves fell off of, talk about the seasons, etc.

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