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August “Branches” Activity: Leaf Collecting

Take a walk in your favorite park and gather some leaves from the trees. Find a guide online and see if you can identify the trees from the leaf shapes.

You can keep the leaves to do a “pressed” collection, turn them into a  stamps activity or create leaf skeletons.

Pressing Leaves:

Find a heavy book like an encyclopedia or dictionary. Place leaves between 2 sheets of paper to protect the pages of the book. Leave at least 1/8″ of pages between pressings, weigh the book down and wait a couple of weeks.

Alternatively, you can put the leaves and paper in between two ceramic tiles, rubberbanded together, in the microwave and zap in short bursts, 30 seconds to a minute at a time Let cool between zaps, opening your press to let moisture/steam escape while cooling. Don’t over do it; avoid burning your flowers. Repeat until almost done, then put in a different book or flower press to finish drying.
Making Leaf Skeletons

  1. Press leaves between old book pages. They should remain inside the books or heavy objects in a dry, undisturbed place for several weeks.
  2. Make a solution of washing soda. Carefully lay the pressed leaves into the solution.
  3. When the flesh becomes pulpy, take the leaves out of the washing solution.Rinse them carefully in cold water.
  4. Gently brush away the pulp with a toothbrush. They’re now ready for use as a craft or art item.


 

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