Part II: Pressing Leaves

Saving leaves you have looked at is fun and can be very useful. Just having a plant sample to hold and look at helps us to remember the collecting and gathering experience. The best way to preserve leaves in the classroom is to dry them flat using some kind of leaf press.

A leaf press is a simple tool for the Journey North classroom. Presses can be used to flatten plant specimens. Making one is a simple process. They can be made with wood--or simply by using large books.

'Low-tech' Plant Press

Wooden Plant Press

Here are some suggestions for making a plant press.

1. The 'low-tech' plant press can simply be a large telephone book whose pages serve to hold and flatten your plant specimens.

2. An adjustable press can be made easily using only a few materials:

  • newspaper or absorbent paper, such as blotter paper
  • four- 2 to 3 inch flat screws with washers and wing nuts
  • some pieces of lumber or plywood for the top and bottom covers

(The wood covers can be any size, but should be able to fit into a backpack for field collecting.)

A. Drill holes for the screws in each corner of the wood covers. The flat screws and wing nuts allow the press to be tightened down to flatten whatever amount of plant material is between the papers in the press.

B. Place a generous amount of newspaper between the wooden pages of the press. A deluxe press would have both newspapers for spacers and blotter paper pieces for drying the plant specimens. (An average plant specimen takes 3-5 days to dry in a press.)

Part III: Creating a Time-Line Book

How to Make Your Accordion-Style Book

Adding Pressed-Leaves

or Printed-Leaves