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How To Leaf Punch Like A Pro

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

If you have a precious house plant with just one leaf - don’t punch it. There are so many others to choose from. Pick them up off the ground, or select plants with loads of leaves they plan to lose with the seasons anyhow.

What to punch?

The best plants for leaf punching have relatively large leaves with even edges, smooth texture, lots of foliage, and are not too fibrous. Ligustrum, Bay, Pecan, Elaeagnus, English Ivy, and Mountain Laurel are some of our favorites. They’re common in our neighborhood. Leaves with high moisture content, like succulents, don't seem to fare as well. Test out your veggie garden leaves. We’ve had great luck with long lasting smiles on strawberries and cucumber plants! Round Eucalyptus leaves work wonderfully in a bouquet.

Where to punch?

In our experience, as long as you don't hit the central vein down the middle of the leaf most leaves do just fine while sporting their happy faces. Our leaf punches have relatively shallow trays that help you avoid going too deeply into the center of the leaf, sparing that central vein in most cases. More fragile leaves may brown or tear around the perforations after a week or so, but many leaves will be fine with their new smiles. Making Smiling Leaves is a fun activity, but not on every plant and every leaf.

Don’t hurt my plants!

The good news is that leaf punches don't do any more damage than a grasshopper or leaf cutter ant. Leaves, by nature, are designed to grow, fall, and regrow with the life cycle of the plant. In our yard we have a Silverberry Eliagnus covered in smiling leaves, all of which have thrived for months. We have a Kitchen Bay sporting smiling leaves older than that!

Smiling Leaf punches are not sharp enough for use on paper. Paper waste makes more than a few holes in a leaf- it tears holes through entire ecosystems.

Our best advice is this: Make Smiling Leaves in places where it's allowed, on leaves that don't mind.

If you still don’t feel great about making holes in a living leaf, pick one up off the ground. As long as it’s not too crumpled up and the edges haven’t curled, you’ll be able to create adorable little faces with ease.

Enjoy your time outside. Don’t forget to share your #SmilingLeaves with us!

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