1. Find the best specimens—leaves that are still soft and supple, not curled and dry.
  2. Collect leaves wherever you enjoy a fall walk—parks, forest preserves or your own backyard.
  3. Gently pat leaves dry with paper towels.
  4. Place inside an old phone book—several leaves per page is fine, as long as they’re not touching. Allow about 3/4-inch thickness of pages between each pressing page.
  5. Place weights on the book—two bricks, a gallon water jug or a stack of heavy books works well.
  6. Press the leaves for two weeks, after which they’ll be ready to use in crafting.

Editor’s Note: Early fall, just as leaves are beginning to turn brilliant colors, is the best time to gather them for pressing. Go out after a breezy rain when fresh leaves have dropped prematurely and not yet deteriorated on the ground.

Photo by Maksim