Making Things with Pressed Leaves : A Bookmark, Gift Card and Notepad
I was recently flipping through some old hardcover books and found a pressed red maple leaf between some pages, that I would have put there back when I was at school. What struck me was how the colour had stayed so vibrant.
So I decided I’d try to capture and preserve some of the autumn colour that has been swirling around overhead and around our ankles these days. I did it by pressing, which dried the leaves at the same time, and then sealing them between some thick paper and regular old packing tape.
The trickiest part was finding leaves that were tiny enough to fit under a single width of tape, my roll being 2 inches (about 5 cm) wide. While there are hundreds are huge leaves in my midst, the small ones were a bit more challenging to find.
Here’s what I did:
Supplies – Some pretty small leaves, a magazine you no longer want, some thick paper, cotton embroidery thread, two-sided tape, and clear packing tape.
(1) Begin by pressing (and drying) your leaves by placing them, while they’re still fresh and pliable, in between the pages of the magazine. Put this magazine under a stack of others and let it sit for a couple of days. (Note: use something you no longer want because the leaves might leave a mark on the pages as they dry out.)
(2) Cut your paper into the square or rectangle shapes, making the pieces as long as you want, but keeping them slightly more narrow than the width of your packing tape.
(3) Using a small piece of double-sided tape, arrange your leaves onto the paper. (The tape will keep the leaves in place as you flip the paper in the process of laminating them with the packing tape.
(4) Cut a piece of packing tape off the roll, that is about 6 inches (about 15 cm) longer than the paper. Stick this down to your working surface at either end, so the sticky side is facing up. (As shown in the pictures)
(5) Carefully place your paper and leaves face-down onto the tape. Repeat with the back side. Using your fingers, press the tape down really well, all over the piece.
(6) Trim the edges of overlapping tape, and if you have a corner-punch, add some rounded corners if you want.
Use these to make:
Bookmarks – Punch a hole in one end. Measure out 3 pieces of embroidery floss, about 13 inches (about 33 cm) long. Pass the thread through the hole, lining them up and make a knot (you’ll have 6 pieces of floss to work with). Braid the thread, using two strands of floss per braiding piece. (as pictured). Finish with another know and trim the ends.
Gift Cards – Make a small card out of some more paper, in a complimentary colour. (To make a nice fold, score the paper using a ruler and blunt item, like a letter opener.) Stick your laminated leaf piece on the front of the card using two-sided tape. Cut two pieces of embroidery floss, measuring 6 times the height of your card. Tie these over the spine of the card, with the knot at the top. Divide the individual strands of thread into three (each piece of floss comes with 6 threads, so you’ll have 24 individual threads (4 x 6), which will mean 8 threads per braiding piece (24 / 3).) Braid both ends, to make two strands to use as ties for the gift card. Knot and trim the ends. If you’ve used dark paper to make your card, consider adding a lighter piece inside, adhering with two-sided tape, so it is easier to write inside.
Small Notepads – This was made using the technique to make a matchbook style notepad, that I previously demonstrated in this post. For the one I am showing today, I used one piece of regular 8×11 white printer paper, which gave me 20 pages.
Thanks for checking out my tutorial. I hope you try out this technique and preserve some gorgeous autumn colour for yourself.