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Have you ever played with leaves?

   

Playing in the leaves makes a person full of joy!

Children love to do it . . . but so do I!

     One of my favorite things to do as a child was to play in leaves! 🍃 How can you not be joyful when running and jumping in a pile freshly raked leaves? God's bounty is a source of eternal merriment. Another thing I did was press leaves.

      Believe it or not, there are still leaf presses around. We used to collect leaves then press and preserve those treasures for school projects and scrapbooks 📚. I even had a book on how to press and use leaves in printmaking. It was a kinda messy project but gave such interesting and creative results. Fun!

     THIS leaf press is really a tool borrowed from lampworking. Anyone working with hot colored glass knows what this tool will do. (Dale has had one on his lampworking bench for years.) When it was offered by one of my suppliers, I thought it might make an interesting leaf in polymer clay.

So without an intent or specific project in mind I tried it out so see if it worked well. Here is what I found out in the process that might help you in your creative exploration with it.

 

1. It works best with a thick sheet of clay, so use the thickest setting on the pasta machine. Condition well, but the softer the clay gets the less likely it will be to hold it's shape after pressing.

 

2. It needs to have a release on the jaws of the tool so the clay won't stick. I don't use cornstarch, but found that baking soda didn't work very well, allowing the clay to stick. I found that a spritz of water works the best. Repeat the spray with the press of each leaf. Be sure to dry off the tool when finished making leaves.

3. It takes a little effort to press the clay so the pattern will be prominent. So I needed to exert a lot of umpf using both my hands and arms. However too much umpf will make the clay squish out of the jaws and the pattern will not be aligned on both sides. So this is something where you will need to PRACTICE YOUR TECHNIQUE!

4.  Using a sharp scalple blade will make cutting the leaf out smoother and more accurate on the curves. The pressed leaf has a nice curl to the surface so when cutting out the leaf be careful not to press the leaf flat on the table. Let the blade do the work.

5.  The cut edges can be easily smoothed with the Glass Burnisher by gently rolling it on the clay. If you want to make jewelry charms it is best to add a hole after the leaf is cured by using Small Drill bitts in a Pin Vise.

6. Cure on a bed of baking soda or other support to retain the curve of the leaf. This makes them look more lifelike but it can be adjusted to your preference and use. 

     I have yet to assemble something with the leaves I have made, but I can think of many ways to use them. Since they make one size of leaf it will be easy to make matching earrings and even overlap them on a bracelet form! With a little selective cutting they can also be made smaller for some variety.

     Overall I find this tool to be an easy way to produce multiple leaf shapes that already have the veining pattern on both sides all in one SQUEEZE!

Get one for yourself here - Leaf Masher - and I'd love to see what you make with it!

#leafpress #leafcollection #polymerleaves #leafpatterntool #leaffun

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