This is the time of year when I am lagging behind while hiking or even strolling through the park because I am staring at the color of the trees or looking at the ground and collecting. I like to squirrel a little of it away so I can use it for crafts in the future, and when I return home I lay my new finds out to dry or press.
1. Pine Cones
4. Fall Leaves
Something I find super useful in the fall is a plant press. A phone book, if you can find one anymore, can certainly be used, but I like having a large press on hand so I can save a bunch of leaves over several weeks. Based on the measurements for the Professional Plant Press, I made my own:
1. Two pieces of 1/2" plywood cut to 12" x 18". To help moisture escape I drilled a bunch of 3/4" drilled holes through both pieces of wood.
2. Lots of cardboard cut to size. Great time to reuse those cardboard boxes!
3. Blotter Paper. Other options are newsprint or newspaper. I personally feel I get a better pressing when I use blotter paper, and there is no risk of ink transfer like when using newspaper.
4. Two straps to tighten all the layers, so everything gets super flat.
Layer the press in the following way: wood, cardboard, blotter paper, leaves or flowers, blotter paper, cardboard. Continue with the sandwich layers, until filled to desired amount. Lay second piece of wood on top and wrap the straps as tightly as possible around the press. Check pressings in two to three days, to see how things are going, sometimes a little adjusting needs to happen. The pressings can be left in the plant press, or removed and stored flat in glassine envelopes.
I also love using plant presses for pressing seaweed:
Finally, I believe in and encourage the utmost respect for nature while collecting. I hope all my fellow collectors, like me, remember to gather a little at a time, keep moving, and make as little an impact as possible.