How to Press Leaves: DIY Art Guide

by Charles McMahon 08/16/2021

Some might be familiar with the old practice of pressing leaves or flowers inside books to keep them preserved. While this is a fun way to keep and dry plants, you miss out on the opportunity to display those plants as art in your home. If you have fallen leaves from your houseplants or from the outside world and you want to turn them into art, here’s how you can do it.

What Do You Need to Press Leaves?

There are different techniques for pressing leaves, but the easiest way is by using paper towels, wax paper and something heavy to put on top. You can use a heavy book, a small box or even a jug of milk. The only requirement is that the item you choose distributes its weight evenly over the entire surface of the leaf you want to press.

To preserve leaf color, you will also need a hot iron and a towel. To frame and mount your pressed leaves, find a frame, matting board and the hooks or stand for display.

Which Leaves Should You Use?

You can press virtually any type of leaf for this project. However, different types of leaf will dry at different speeds. The thinner the leaf is the quicker it will dry and the more delicate it will be afterward. Some recommended plants to try include ferns, philodendrons, arrowhead vines and pothos. For a bigger and more dramatic art piece, try an alocasia, ficus or ZZ plant.

How to Press Leaves

  1. Place the leaf between two pieces of wax paper. Cover it with a towel.

  2. Use a hot iron (not steam) to press down for a few minutes until the leaf seems dry.

  3. Flip the towel and wax paper over, leaving the towel on the bottom this time. Gently iron again.

  4. After about 2 minutes, carefully peel away the wax paper. This should leave a thin layer of wax on the leaf which will preserve the bright color.

  5. To frame your pressed leaf, simply place onto a piece of matting board and put together the frame as if you were adding a photo. To keep the leaf in place, you can use a tiny dot of glue on the back.

If you’re mounting your finished leaf, try different colors of background to create contrast or harmonize with the rest of your decor. Creative frames are also an excellent way to enhance your final product. This simple art piece will make an excellent edition to any room of the home, whether on a table or on the wall.

About the Author
Author

Charles McMahon

Hi, I'm Charles McMahon and I'd love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having a real estate professional by your side. I'd be honored to put my real estate experience to work for you.