How To Preserve Leaves
Enjoy the beauty of fall foliage year round by learning how to preserve leaves. Colorful fall leaves can be preserved and used for many kinds of decoration like table dressing or a richly colored centerpiece. Using simple drying and preserving techniques will give you the fall colors throughout the year.
To preserve leaves, you will need:
- Newspaper or waxed paper
- Drying and Pressing Leaves. Place the leaves inside the fold of a newspaper or waxed paper. Place the paper covered leaves inside a heavy book. If you do not have a book large enough, lay the paper covered leaves on a flat surface. Place several heavy books on top of the paper covered leaves on the flat surface or wedged in a book. Press the leaves in a warm dry location. Check the leaves after ten days. If the leaves are not completely dry, leave the leaves pressed and drying for another week. Make sure the leaves are completely dry before using.
- Preserving Leaves with Glycerin. Preserving leaves in glycerin has the opposite effect of pressing and drying leaves. Glycerin will make the leaves supple and flexible for many years. Pour a mixture of two parts water to one part Glycerin into a shallow pan. Submerge the leaves in the glycerin and water mixture. The leaves must be weighed down to completely submerge them in the glycerin solution. Cover the leaves with another pan that is slightly smaller, or use a dinner plate. Check the leaves after three days. If the leaves are still dry, leave them in the solution and check each day. When the leaves are supple, transfer the leaves from the solution to paper towels. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels.
Choose leaves that are flat, not curled, have no damaged areas and are somewhat dry. A fun project to do with the kids is to press fall leaves between waxed paper using a hot dry iron. Place the leaves on a sheet of waxed paper and cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Place newspaper on the ironing board. Put the waxed paper and leaves over the newspaper, then cover the waxed paper and leaves with a sheet of newspaper before ironing.
If drying leaves in the microwave, microwave the leaves a few minutes at a time to avoid having the leaves catch on fire. Microwaving leaves for the purpose of drying is not recommended.