Make a Plant Press [4-H Activity]

pressed leaves and flowers

Choose leaves from your garden, a house plant, or on a nature walk, then make your own plant press to make a leaf print!

What have you made with your plant press? Share a photo in the NH 4-H Community Group on Facebook!

Materials

  • Newspaper or newsprint art paper (the paper needs to be absorbent/uncoated) cut or folded into an 8” X 8” square
  • 4 sturdy rubber bands
  • Weights such as heavy books
  • 2 pieces heavy cardboard cut into an 8” X 8” square
  • Interesting shaped leaves (Know what you are picking! Check with an adult. This activity works best with thin leaves and flowers. Large, thick flowers will not dry well.)
  • Optional – crayons or markers to decorate your cardboard covers

How To Do It:

  1. Collect plant leaves or flowers. Make sure to have permission! As you collect, learn the names of the plants. (For ones you do not know, use a guide book or the internet. You could also download an app that will help identify plants.) Make sure the plants are dry before you move to Step 2 (no dew or raindrops!).
  2. Place the plants between the layers of the paper. You can add more layers, but make sure there are at least a few pieces of newspaper or newsprint between each one.
  3. Place a few layers of paper over and under the plants you are pressing.
  4. Sandwich your plants and paper between the two pieces of cardboard.
  5. Put two rubber bands on the cardboard in each direction. It should look a bit like a tick-tack-toe board when you are done.
  6. Put your press in a dry place, place heavy books on top of it, and leave it alone for at least 2 weeks.
  7. After 2 weeks, carefully check to see if your leaves are dry. If they are not dry, check again in a few days.
  8. You can glue the dried leaves to art paper to make a card. You could also laminate them or save them in a scrapbook or make a leaf print using a crayon. Treat them carefully, they are fragile. Make sure to label each with the name of the plant it came from.