Use the instructions below to make your own leaf presses to press different types of leaves that you find to keep them for longer.
This activity must be done with an adult as it uses a saw.
1. Rest your piece of wood on something so one end is slightly elevated off the ground by
about 30cm. If you are outside, a crook of a tree is good for this. If you are indoors a
piece of wood with a notch cut out will suffice.
2. Saw 2 x 1cm discs from the wood – if there are more than two of you, it is best for the saw to be used by two people, while anyone else is at the other (lower) end of the piece of wood kneeling or holding it down. This keeps wood still and extra people away from the saw. An adult should always be in control of the saw when working with younger children.
3. The child sawing places both hands on the handle of the bow saw while the adult takes the other end. You both need to be kneeling on the ground at opposite ends of the bow saw, far enough apart so the blade will not catch your legs.
4.Each of you only needs to pull the saw towards you – the other person will pull it back towards themselves. For extra stability and safety you will need to use the hand through saw motion (if you are not familiar with this, please research it and ensure you are confident before starting this activity). Also explain to the child that they must not reach down and pick up their disk from the floor until it is safe to do so, when the saw has been moved.
5. You need two disks for each leaf you want to press. Once you have enough, put the saw away somewhere safe and you can now make your leaf presses.
7. If you are at home, leaves could have been collected in advance, if you are outdoors you could go for a short walk or look around for some leaves.
8. Use identification books or sheets or look online to identify the trees the leaves came from.
9. Write on the top disk of wood what the name of the tree is and decorate the bottom disk with a picture, then secure the two disks together (with the leaf in the middle of the leaf presses) with the string or elastic band.
10. If you have used pale wood you sometimes get an imprint of the leaf on the wood
After a few weeks when the leaves have dried you can open up your presses and retrieve your pressed leaves.
Take it further
You could use them to make your own tree identification book out of an old scrap book by sticking them in and labelling them; or use the leaves to make a picture.
If you enjoyed this activity and want to do more bushcraft you should try making Bushcraft Pencils