DIY Home + Garden

Published on October 10th, 2011 | by Julie Finn


Fall Crafts: 4 Ways to Preserve Autumn Leaves

fall crafts preserving fall leaves

Preserving autumn leaves allows you to use their beautiful colors in fall crafts all year long.

Even if you already have a go-to method for preserving leaves, check out these other options–you might discover a way that will work even better for a particular project, or you might find a new favorite preservation method altogether.

1. Pressed Leaves

Pressing leaves is the easiest, most user-friendly method of preservation, although it does take some time. Sure, you can press leaves and flowers between the pages of any heavy book, but a handmade leaf press opens up the options to customize your press to fit your life–you can make a tiny leaf press to fit in your backpack, a giant leaf press just for sycamore leaves, or a different leaf press for every person in your family, if that’s what you’re feeling.

To make your own press, check out this leaf press tutorial from Curly Birds. It’s absolutely gorgeous, the construction is simple, and it saves your dictionary for actual reading!

2. Fall Crafts: Preserving Leaves with Beeswax

Preserving leaves with beeswax is kid-friendly, offers instant gratification, and best of all–it makes your whole house smell like honey!

Local beeswax usually isn’t too hard to find at this time of year; check out your farmer’s market or local natural grocery store, or browse the gift shop when you’re at the pumpkin patch or apple orchard.

3. Vegan Alternative to Beeswax Leaves

For a vegan alternative to beeswax leaves, try out this tutorial for glycerin leaves from Ordinary Life Magic. Use liquid vegetable glycerin, and watch as your leaves turn out soft, silky, bendable, and amenable to a wide variety of craft projects.

4. Mod Podge Leaves

If you do much crafting, you likely have a half-used container of Mod Podge sitting on a shelf somewhere. Gingerbread Snowflakes shows how you can preserve leaves with matte Mod Podge, simply by applying a couple of coats!

This method is especially good for preserving leaves for decoupage or scrapbooking, since those are projects that are already amenable to Mod Podge.

I haven’t tried these last two methods, but I’m intrigued by the fact that they’re listed in a publication put out by North Dakota State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Imagine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has an opinion about good ways to preserve flowers and leaves!

Check out this publication on Methods of Preserving Flowers for instructions for sand drying, drying with silica gel, and microwave drying, and recipes for homemade drying agents including salt, cornmeal, pumice, and borax.

[Image Credits: Julie Finn and Curly Birds, used with attribution]

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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