I love pressing plants! I was given the most amazing plant press for my college graduation and have enjoyed collecting leaves, petals and anything else that I can get my hands on to press in it. Most of the time I never know what to do with the things that I press but it is just so fun to do the collecting and then seeing how they turn out.
I have made small plant presses in the past and decided that it would be fun to make Sam a plant press of her own. Since I don't have access to tools like a saw or power drill making a good one out of wood was not an option so I decided to try making one out of cardboard. I wasn't sure how it would work (or if it would work at all!) but I thought it would be neat if it did and what could it hurt to try!
Here is the plant press that I made. Sorry for the awful picture.
The basic idea is to take two pretty stiff pieces of cardboard for the outer sides. I cut slits about half an inch in on each side (2 on each side). Then I measured and cut newspaper and a bit thinner cardboard to be the pages on the inside. The ribbon is laced through the slits, wrapped around the whole thing and then tied on one side.
For the inside simply place two pieces of newspaper in between two pieces of cardboard. You can have as many of these sets as you want. The leaves or petals that you will press go between the pieces of newspaper.
This is a super easy plant press and it is very light weight which makes it perfect to take on walks, camping or traveling. Collecting leaves and petals is very fun to do when you are away from home because then once they dry you can compare them to plants you have around your home.
Sam collected some leaves from her Nana's back yard this morning and then helped me press them in her new plant press. She has used my big press before and loves being able to do gluing projects with the dried leaves and petals later on.
The Nitty Gritty!
So the stiffer the cardboard the better! Our leaf press has already torn along the skinny edge by the ribbon. I am going to be on the hunt for some stiffer stuff to try and make another one. It still works even with the tear but I have to be much more careful when I tie it shut.
I do not really recommend collecting too often, especially collecting live things. As much as possibly I try to encourage Sam to collect leaves and flowers that have recently fallen off of trees or plants. Right after rain storms is a great time to find green leaves that are no longer attached to the plant.
Pressed leaves can be a great craft item! You can use them for gluing practice, leaf rubbings, card decorations and a million other things. The ideas and options are endless.
For older kids it can also be a great and easy way to practice tree identification. You can use the leaves to make a identification poster or book of the trees and plants in your yard or neighborhood. Simple use glue, modge-podge or tape to attach the leaves to paper and then use an identification book to find out the right plant. You can label the leaves with the right plant name, some of the other characteristics about the plant and then where in the yard or neighborhood that you find the plant.