Preparing Leaves for Preserving
Choose beautiful fall leaves that are colorful and free from imperfections. Brush off any dirt or other debris, and wipe them with a clean damp cloth. Beginning with clean healthy leaves will help you achieve satisfactory results.
Fall leaves are easy to preserve with the help of glycerin. You can find glycerin in most stores that sell craft supplies, or you can shop online to locate the best price.
Begin by mixing two parts glycerin with one part water in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Place leaves of your choice in a single layer in the in the bottom of the pan, and make sure the glycerin and water covers them completely. Place something on top to keep them below the liquid if necessary. Allow the leaves to soak in the mixture for three or four days before removing them and drying them with paper toweling.
Drying beautiful fall leaves in the microwave is fast and easy. Dry one leaf at a time by placing it between two paper towels. Microwave the leaf on high for thirty seconds, and check for dryness. If the leaf isn't completely dry, microwave it for twenty or thirty seconds longer. Keep a close watch on it during the drying process because leaves can catch on fire if they become too dry.
Why not press your leaves the old-fashioned way? Simply find a heavy book such as a large dictionary, place a leaf between double paper towels, and tuck them inside the pages. Press several leaves at one time by creating a span of at least ten pages between each one. Set something heavy on the book, and in about a week your leaves should be dry. If they aren't completely dry, place them back inside the book for several more days.
Leaves can be preserved with a coating of wax. All you need is an iron and a roll of waxed paper. Simply place the first leaf between two paper towels, and iron the leaf for approximately five minutes on each side. Since the purpose of ironing the leaf is to extract moisture, don't use steam. If the leaf doesn't feel completely dry after ironing it for about five minutes on each side, iron it for a few more minutes.
Once the leaf is completely dry, don't put away the iron. Place the dry leaf between two sheets of waxed paper, and make sure the waxed side is facing the leaf. Place a third sheet of waxed paper over the top, waxed side down, and iron the leaves until the wax melts. It will take about a minute on mid setting, but iron it longer if necessary.
After the wax has melted, while the paper is still warm, carefully peel back the waxed paper. The leaf will be covered in wax, and it will remain beautifully preserved for display.
Finishing Dried Leaves
Leaves that have been dried in the microwave, pressed between the pages of a book, or preserved with glycerin can be further preserved with spray varnish. Once the leaves are completely dry, spray each side with clear varnish. The clear shine will bring out the colors even more, and the varnish will help to further preserve the leaves.
This art of preserving fall leaves is relaxing and you can make many gifts for family members and friends for the upcoming holiday season.