5 Ways to Preserve Leaves

by Paul Pultar 04/18/2022

Preserving leaves can give them new life and give you new creative ideas. There are plenty of crafts you can do with leaves both freshly fallen and preserved, but why not take the best leaves you can find and make them last? Here are several methods for preserving leaves any time of the year so that you can continue to enjoy them.

Pressing Leaves

Pressing in a leaf press or inside a book is a traditional way to preserve leaves and flowers. It’s incredibly simple to do and all you need is some parchment or newspaper, something heavy and a lot of patience. Unfortunately, this method takes a long time to complete. However, when the leaves come out, they are paper thin and preserved in excellent detail, perfect for other craft uses.

Laminating Leaves

If you have a laminator, laminating leaves is a relatively straightforward process. All you’ll need to do is wait until the leaves are completely dry and then feed them into the laminator just like you would a piece of paper. Cut out the leaf carefully and use it for a variety of different crafts or decorations. The laminate will protect the leaf from moisture damage and will keep its color looking fresh.

Glycerin Bath Leaves

A glycerin bath produces the most “lifelike” version of a preserved leaf and only requires a few ingredients. You can purchase glycerin in the baking section of your local grocery store and mix it with water in a 1-2 ratio. Pour the mixture in a bowl and then gently dip the leaves into it, holding by the stem if possible. You can also use tweezers, chopsticks or tongs to dip the leaves without making a mess. While you’ll end up with a beautiful final product, the glycerin bath takes 3-5 days to dry.

Mod Podge Leaves

Mod Podge is a crafting staple and easy to find at any craft or hobby store. It functions very similarly to very watery glue, creating a smooth surface that hardens to protect the leaves. To use Mod Podge for preserving leaves, you’ll need a paintbrush or foam brush. You need to paint the leaves on both sides, so either hang them with clothespins or paperclips or wait a day in between sides.

Wax Paper Ironed Leaves

By using two sheets of wax paper you can create an excellent protective layer around a leaf and preserve its color for the maximum amount of time. Lay the leaf flat on top of one piece and cover with the second. Cover with a towel or dish rag. Then, use an iron on low heat to heat the wax paper under the cloth. Peel away the top layer of wax paper after it’s cooled.

With these methods you can preserve any leaf to add a bit of nature to any of your household arts and crafts.

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Paul Pultar

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