Have you ever wondered how to preserve leaves? We tried out two different methods- one using glycerin and one using wax paper. Here are our results and how you can try with kids for a fun fall craft!
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Once the first local trees started changing colors, I went out with my family to collect some beautiful autumn leaves that had fallen. We brought the leaves home and read up on different ways to preserve them. We settled on trying out one method using glycerin and another method using wax paper. Our goal was to try to preserve the color so we could use the preserved leaves in some fall crafts! (This post contains affiliate links.)
How to Preserve Leaves with Glycerin
- Glycerin (We found ours in the first-aid section of our local drug store.)
- Two baking dishes, containers, or trays that can stack together
- Fall leaves
1. Place your leaves in one of your containers. (We used a large plastic storage container.)
2. Mix 1 part glycerin and 2 parts water. (Since we used a fairly large container, we mixed 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of glycerin.)
3. Pour the mixture over the leaves.
4. Stack the second container on top of the first container so that it keeps the leaves submerged in the mixture.
5. Let the leaves soak for at least 3 days.
6. Remove the leaves from the mixture and blot them dry with a paper towel. Then let them completely dry.
How to Preserve Leaves with Wax Paper
- Wax Paper
- Two thin towels
- Surface to iron on
- Fall leaves
1. Turn your iron on a high setting that does not use steam.
2. Lay one towel down onto your ironing surface. Lay a piece of wax paper on the towel.
3. Place your fall leaves onto the wax paper in a single layer.
4. Lay another piece of wax paper on top of the leaves.
5. Place the second towel on top of the wax paper.
6. Iron the leaves for about 20-30 seconds.
7. Flip everything over and iron the other side for another 20-30 seconds.
8. Let everything cool.
9. Remove the towel. Slowly and carefully peel off the top layer of wax paper. Then gently peel the leaves off the second piece of wax paper.
*We placed these leaves inside a heavy book while we waited for our other leaves to finish in the glycerin.
The kids and I decided we liked the feel of the leaves soaked in glycerin the most. They were soft and could be gently bent without breaking. And we liked the shininess of the leaves ironed in wax paper.
We found that some leaves kept their color longer than others. Our deep red leaves have kept their color for over a month now! The pinkish leaves also seemed to keep their color fairly well. The yellow leaves we had found didn’t keep their color well with either method. They eventually turned a light brown.
Trying it Yourself
I would definitely recommend trying these methods at home or in the classroom with your kids. It’s such a fun activity and you can even turn it into a wonderful learning experience. Take a walk with the kids and collect some of your own fall leaves. You can then compare the texture and color of the leaves after trying out both methods.
Fun Ways to Use Pressed Leaves
- Have you read the book, Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert? It’s one of our favorite fall books! You can use your leaves to create some leaf creatures just like in the story!
- Why not use your thread your leaves to make some beautiful fall decorations!
- We used our leaves to make a fall leaf mobile. We simply tied our leaves to an old embroidery hoop using beading thread.