School is back in session and fall has arrived. That means you and your kids will be reading lots of books and will need bookmarks! Here is a fun activity that you can do with your children. This project uses petals, leaves, and small flowers from the garden to create bookmarks that ensure the kids will always be able to find the correct page. Plus, you will preserve your fall foliage and flowers forever.

What you will need:

  • Plant materials from your garden (petals, leaves, small flowers, etc.)
  • Clear contact paper
  • A pair of scissors
  • Card stock or thick paper
  • Crayons or colored pencils to color the card stock, if desired
  • Newspaper sheets to absorb moisture from plant materials, and two heavy books protected with plastic wrap. You will use these to press and dry the flowers or petals.

Note: You could also use an old telephone book and place the blooms between the pages.

Making your bookmark:

  1. The first step in the bookmark’s construction is to hunt for botanical treasures. Crepe myrtle petals, small leaves from trees, four leaf clovers, vinca blooms, and small daisy-like flowers are excellent choices for bookmarks. Large flowers like roses contain too much moisture and are too bulky. Choose petals instead. Petals of most flowers are colorful and can be pressed flat.
  2. Next, get your “flower press” ready. Here’s where the two books, or your old telephone book, will come in handy. If you are using newspaper sheets and two books, be sure to protect the books’ covers with plastic wrap. Use several sheets of newspaper to carefully wrap your plant materials to absorb the moisture. Place them between the wrapped books. If you are using an old telephone book, place the blooms between its pages. Let gravity and time do the pressing for you. Allow the plant materials to dry for about two weeks.
  3. When you are ready to assemble the bookmark, cut the card stock to the shape you choose. You can decorate the card with original designs using crayons or colored pencils. Then arrange the dried pressed leaves and petals to create a pleasing arrangement.
  4. Now you are ready to preserve your artwork. Cut a piece of clear contact paper big enough to fold over and cover the front and back sides of the book mark. Peel off the backing of the contact paper bit at a time. Carefully press the contact paper onto the front of the card stock. Then peel and wrap the sheet around to the back. Don’t worry about matching the edges of the paper because you will trim the excess later. Press gently to eliminate wrinkles or creases in the contact paper.
  5. Use the scissors to cut around the outline of the bookmark. Punch a hole into the top and thread colored string or ribbon through the hole. Now you are ready to mark the spot where you will begin to read the next time.
  6. Happy gardening and reading!