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Pick leaves and flowers for crafting, they will quickly wither and lose their color. If you want to have something of the treasures of nature for a long time, you should conserve them properly. In order to preserve plants for a long time and keep their color, you need to dry them or, even better, press them to remove the moisture from the material. A plant press works particularly well for this, but there are other ways to achieve good results.

collect materials

Just collect the prettiest leaves you can find. Especially in autumn, the selection of specimens with beautiful shades of color is large. But it is also worth looking for particularly young and fresh leaves in spring.

The best time to collect the leaves is around noon on a dry day, when the foliage is not wet from dew and rain. Thin leaf varieties with flat leaf veins are ideal for drying. Thick fleshed and therefore very water-containing leaves, on the other hand, are less suitable because they are difficult to press and dry very slowly. There are several options available to you to make the collection durable while preserving the pretty color.

freshly collected leaves

Absorbent pad

For pressing and drying you need a surface that can absorb the moisture. Foil or plastic is not suitable because the water contained cannot be drained off.

  • blotting paper
  • Newsprint (normal daily newspaper, no glossy magazines)
  • recycled paper
  • Toilet paper
  • kitchen roll
  • filter paper

Various methods

a book

The classic book method

A tried and true method of preserving leaves is to press them between books and dry them.

You need:

  • at least one big book
  • good absorbent paper
  • scissors
  • to weigh down: more books or other weights
Book and kitchen paper to dry the leaves


Step 1: Cut two sheets of blotting paper to fit the book pages.

Step 2: Open the book on one side in the middle area and place one of these blanks on it.

Step 3: Then spread the sheets individually on the paper. Make sure there are no unsightly creases or creases. If possible, do not place the plant parts overlapping and not too close to the edge, but rather towards the middle of the book.

Insert leaves in book to dry

Step 4: Another paper blank is placed on the flatly spread sheets and the book is carefully closed.

Step 5: Place the book on a flat, firm surface in a dry and warm room and weigh it down with other books or other heavy objects.

Step 6: After about three to six weeks, the plant leaves are sufficiently dry. It has proven helpful to change the blotting paper two to three times during the drying phase in order to press as much residual moisture as possible out of the plant material.

plant press

Basically, a plant press consists of two large boards between which the material is clamped to dry. A screw is attached to each of the four corners, with which you can press the boards together tightly. Even with this gentle drying method, the color is well preserved.


  • Plant press with accessories
  • Blotting paper or other absorbent paper
  • scissors
  • cardboard box
Plant press with foliage


Step 1: Loosen the screws and remove the top of the two boards.

Step 2: Place a sheet of cardboard on the bottom board that you have cut to size beforehand.

Step 3: Place one or two layers of blotting paper on the cardboard so that the base is completely covered.

Step 4: Place the plants flat next to each other on the blotting paper with a little space between them. There should still be a few millimeters of space towards the edge.

Step 5: As a cover, two layers of blotting paper are placed on the leaves and covered with a second piece of cardboard.

Step 6: Clamp the contents of the press by placing the second board and tightening the screws one by one.

Step 7: Place the plant press in a shady, warm place. Depending on the size and, above all, the thickness, the leaves have to dry for between three and six weeks.

Step 8: It is best to check the drying process once a week. You may have to replace the pressing leaves with very juicy parts of the plant so that the residual moisture can be better drained off.

Build your own plant press

Appropriate flower presses are available in various sizes and designs in craft shops and on the Internet, but on the other hand such a press can also be made without much effort.

You need:

  • 2 boards of wood, about 30 x 40 x 2 cm
  • preferably use hardwood
  • Drill and drill
  • four screws, at least 6 cm long
  • 8 washers of appropriate size
  • 4 wing nuts for the screws
Build your own plant press

Lay the two boards on top of each other and fix them with a tension belt or two clamps. This way you can easily drill through both boards so that the holes line up exactly. Drill a hole the diameter of the screws in each of the four corners. Make sure that the drill holes are at least 2 to 2.5 cm from the edge so that the wood does not break out later when tensioned.

Insert the four screws and washers through the holes in one of the boards and turn the board over so that the screw heads are facing down on the table. The second board is only screwed on when the flower press is filled and ready for use.


This method is very time-saving, as drying takes minutes and does not take weeks. Microwave drying should preferably be used with small or delicate plant material. Unfortunately, when drying and pressing very juicy and thick leaves for a long time in the microwave, the consistency and color are not preserved.


  • 2 solid, microwave-safe plates (e.g. tiles)
  • rubber bands
  • cardboard
  • kitchen roll or toilet paper
  • microwavable weights to weigh down
dried leaves


Step 1: Place the first tile on the table with the glazed side up.

Step 2: Cut the cardboard and place it on the tile.

Step 3: Cut one or two layers of kitchen roll to the right size and place on the tile.

Step 4: Arrange leaves side by side on kitchen roll.

Step 5: Carefully place two more layers of kitchen paper on top and press open.

Step 6: Cover with appropriately sized cardboard.

Step 7: Place the second tile glazed side down and gently press together with two rubber bands.

Step 8: Then place the press in the microwave for about 60 seconds at the highest power level.

Step 9: Check whether the drying is already sufficient. Be sure to use oven mitts or gloves to remove as the tiles can get very hot.

Step 10: If the material is still damp, repeat the process until the leaves are dry. You may also have to press the two tiles against each other more strongly with a weight.

fix color

Although the plant materials are preserved after pressing and drying, this does not guarantee that the pretty color will be retained over a long period of time. Unfortunately, the sunnier the handcrafted objects are, the faster they lose their color again. Therefore, we describe below a method with which you can better preserve the color in the leaves.


  • wax paper
  • normal writing paper
  • kitchen roll
  • Iron


Step 1: Fresh leaves are first pre-dried. To do this, place them between two sheets of kitchen paper and put a sheet of writing or printer paper on top and bottom.

Step 2: Set the iron (without steam) to medium heat and iron gently from both sides for a few minutes until the plants are dry to the touch.

Step 3: Place the dried leaves on a layer of wax paper and cover with a second layer. Gently smooth down the papers.

Step 4: Place the wax paper sheets between two sheets of writing paper. Make absolutely sure that no wax paper sticks out at the side, otherwise it will stick to the iron.

Step 5: If you slowly slide the iron (medium setting) over the sheets of paper, the wax will melt into the sheets from both sides. Always keep the iron moving. If it stays in one place for a long time, it can get so warm there that the wax burns and turns dark.

Step 6: Before removing, wait until the wax has completely cooled.

Step 7: Now all you have to do is cut out the leaves with fine scissors. Leave a thin edge of wax.

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