How to Dry Leaves

    by Kate Lee

    About the Author

    Kate Lee's how-to articles have been published in "Sew Simple," "Craft Stylish" and "Soft Dolls & Animals" magazines. She has been sewing for more than 20 years and has a master's degree in technical writing.


    Leaves can make a wonderful addition to many kinds of craft projects. Colorful fall leaves have are a great addition to projects, but you can also use green leaves for crafts in the spring and summer. Drying leaves can be a fun project for kids and adults. You can do it by placing them in a book or, if you’re in a hurry, heating them them in the microwave.

    Things You'll Need

    • Leaves
    • Paper towels
    • Heavy books
    • Microwave oven

    Choose leaves that have bright colors and good shapes. You may want to use a variety of colors, sizes and shapes. You can pick the leaves off a tree or off the ground, but make sure to choose leaves that aren’t damaged.

    Blot the leaves dry with a paper towel if they’re wet from the rain.

    Place one large leaf, such as a maple leaf, or a few small leaves, such as birch leaves, on a dry paper towel. If you want to dry several different types or sizes of leaves, it’s best to dry each size or variety separately, since some types of leaves will take longer to dry than others. Cover the leaves with another paper towel.

    Press the leaves by placing them inside a heavy book, then closing the book and placing another heavy book or weight on top. Change the paper towels before you do this. Check the leaves every week until they’re dry, changing the paper towels again if necessary.

    Dry the leaves quickly by microwaving them for 30 seconds, using a medium or low power setting. If the leaves aren't dry yet, microwave them for about 10 seconds longer, then check them again. Continue microwaving in 10-second intervals until they are dry.

    • Large leaves, such as maple leaves, work best in the microwave. Very small, crisp leaves, on the other hand, dry too quickly.
    • If you want to make sure the leaves don’t stain the pages of the book, use extra sheets of paper to protect them. You can also use a flower press to dry leaves.
    • After you’ve dried the leaves, place them on a flat surface in between plastic towels or in a plastic zip bag to store them until you’re ready to use them in craft projects or as a decoration.
    • Do not microwave the leaves too long, or they may catch fire.
    • Make sure the leaves aren’t wet when you microwave them, or they’ll cook instead of dry.