By Noreen Doll.
Did you ever wonder how to preserve fall leaves so you can enjoy their color much longer?
Fall is such a lovely time of the year – my favorite season, really.
And every year when I see the beautiful leaf colors I wish I could preserve that color.
But I quickly discovered that even though you take them home and carefully handle them, the color continues to change until they are completely brown.
A few years ago I read about ironing leaves between 2 sheets of waxed paper to preserve them.
It helped somewhat to preserve the color, though the leaves didn’t stay as bright as when I picked them.
But the leaves still became brittle. Not quite as brittle as when you do nothing at all, but they were still very delicate.
This year I decided to try something different to preserve my beautiful leaves.
I read a post on Gingerbread Snowflakes about using Mod Podge to preserve fall leaves and decided to try it.
Since you need to dry the leaves first, I used my earlier method of ironing the leaves between sheets of waxed paper.
Ironing the leaves promptly after picking them really helps them retain a lot of their color.
The leaves will still be somewhat fragile, but much more durable than when you do nothing to them. Here’s how to preserve fall leaves so you can enjoy their color much longer.
What You Need
What You Do
1. Heat your iron to the Cotton setting.
2. On a hard surface, lay out an old cotton sheet folded into several layers.
3. Lay a piece of waxed paper on the sheet and lay out your leaves in a single layer with a little space between them to allow them to spread as they’re flattened.
4. Put a second piece of waxed paper over the leaves, being careful not to move them too much.
5. Set the iron down on the leaves in one corner, lifting the iron up to move it. Leave the iron on the leaves long enough to allow the wax to melt into the leaves – a few seconds.
6. After you’ve done all the leaves, carefully turn the waxed paper sandwich over and iron the other side.
7. I turned the sandwich back over and ironed the first side again, making sure each leaf was well ironed and the wax was completely melted off the paper and onto the leaves.
You can’t really see the wax on the leaves, but if you used a hot iron it will be there. Just continue with the project.
8. Lay the sandwich aside to cool while you finish ironing the rest of your leaves.
9. Gently remove the leaves from the waxed paper sheets and they’re ready to Mod Podge.
10. With the used waxed paper sheets to lay your leaves out on, very gently brush Mod Podge on one side and leave on the waxed paper to dry.
11. When the first side is dry, turn the leaves over and apply Mod Podge to the second side. Let dry.
The leaves are slightly flexible and sturdier than when they were just dried.
Now that you know how to preserve fall leaves, you can share leaves with friends who can’t enjoy the changing of the seasons because of where they live, or because they are unable to get outside into nature.
Apply Mod Podge to the BACK side of the leaf first so if it gets a little messed up when you do the front it won’t matter.
Even when I was very gentle, sometimes parts of the leaf would break off while i was putting the Mod Podge on.
I used a hair dryer on low to help speed the drying process, then left them for an hour or so to finish drying before turning them over.
Keep the dryer moving and don’t dry too long in one spot.