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How to Preserve Autumn Leaves

Updated on September 30, 2010

Use Preserved Autumn Haloween or Thanksgiving decorations


Preserving leaves

Autumn leaves are one of natures most colorful and prescious gifts. The reds, yellows oranges and greens are vibrant and beg to be gathered. Leaves from maple trees, especially Sugar Maples, offer the widest color variations and if collected early (as soon as they fall) they are very sturdy and excellent for drying. Here are some ways you can save autumn leaves from just about any variety of tree to use in craft projects or keep just for the memories.


The easiest and simplest way to preserve leaves is by pressing them between the pages of a book. The best book for this is an old phone book. Books with heavy, pourous pages also work well, such as old hard-cover books. The leaves will not harm the pages, so no need to worry about that.

Simply place the each leaf between the pages of a book, but keep at least ten pages between each one. The leaves will dry out a bit, but will retain their color if handled gently.

These leaves are excellent for making dried flower/leaf 'paintings'. Use a piece of heavy watercolor paper and arrange the leaves (and or flowers) onto the page in a pleasing arrangement and then place a small amount of craft glue on the back of each piece and press it to the paper. Allow to dry for a day or tow and then matt and frame behind glass.

Wax Paper:

Place your leaves between two sheets of waxed paper and press with an iron set on low.

Let cool before moving the paper.

Clear Plastic (contact paper):

Roll out the clear contact paper and lay the leaves in a pleasing pattern.

Place a second sheet top of them, sticky-side down.

Gently roll the plastic pieces together to remove any bubbles and wrinkles.

This is a great way to make an autumn table runner for Thanksgiving Dinner.


Glycerin is a liquid that can be found in your local pharmacy.

Mix one-part glycerin to two-parts water in a glass or ceramic baking dish. A lasagna pan is excellent for this project.

Lay the leaves in a single layer on the mixture and make sure they are submerged – use a flat plate or other heavy flat object to hold them under the liquid.

Let this sit undisturbed for a week or so. Remove the leaves and gently remove the excess glycerin solution from the leaves and they will remain colorful and supple for years.

Glycerin is the most permanent way to preserve fall leaves.



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