The fall leaves in Minnesota are beautiful right now! My afternoon walks are full of ooh’s and ahh’s, and I don’t want to see it end. To preserve some of that fall beauty, the kids and I completed a fun project to do just that. We used a glycerine solution to preserve some of our favorite fall leaves.
The process was simple, but it took patience. Preserving your fall leaves will take several days. Here’s what we did.
How to preserve fall leaves
Since your pretty fall leaves have fallen from the tree, their stem shaft has already closed, and it’s starting to shrivel up and get brittle. You could always just press your leaves between some book pages and preserve them that way. However, a glycerine solution will preserve the leaves in a way that will keep them pliable and their colors vibrant for years to come.
Step 1: The first thing you want to do is open the stem shaft up again. We just gave the stems a couple of taps with a hammer to open them up.
Note: This process was done with freshly fallen leaves that had not started to turn brittle yet.
Step 2: Make the preservation solution using two parts boiling water to one part glycerine. You can find glycerine in the health and beauty section of your drugstore or on Amazon.
Measure out your glycerine while the water heats up. When it’s ready and boiling, gently add the glycerine to it and stir it together.
Step 3: Now all you need to do is submerge your leaves into the mixture. We used a shallow baking dish, and that worked great. Make sure your leaves are fully covered. We put all of our leaves into one dish. Now you have to be patient because the solution has to work its magic for 5-7 days.
Our leaves soaked for five days, and they turned out great. They all had a shiny look to them after their week at the glycerine spa. :)
We let them dry on a newspaper for a few hours, but the shininess stayed. Now we can bend them, and they will not crack and break into a million pieces. They color is preserved, and we can use them for decoration.
Things to do with your preserved fall leaves
Once you’ve preserved a collection of fall leaves, try some of these ideas for what you can do with them:
- label them and display on your nature table for the season
- write on them with pretty calligraphy and use as place cards at Thanksgiving
- sprinkle them down the middle of your table with candles for a seasonal centerpiece
- tie or tape some to a string for a simple garland to hang on the fireplace
- take them outside and try to find the trees they fell from
- tie them to packages to give a festive gift
Enjoy the rest of this beautiful season before the weather gets too cold! Your beautiful leaves will remind you of the lovely fall you’ve just had.
Do you have any creative ideas for what to do with preserved leaves?