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