Preserving Leaves

This is something else I have been wanting to do for absolutely ages.

I have been collecting leaves from my garden and putting them in a book to flatten and dry out for I don’t know how long with the intention of using them to print with, use as a mask etc but to also trying stitching them.

They are quite brittle when they are dried so I turned to the trusty Tinternet to see what to do with them.

I decided to go with soaking the leaves in glycerine which makes them softer and therefore more workable.

Where to buy glycerine I asked myself.  So the supermarket is where I looked and found the smallest bottle on the planet!  But thought hey I’ll go with that.2016 May 28 Preserving Leaves 1 t r a c y f o x

Needless to say the leaves have sat in the book and the tiniest bottle of glycerine has sat in the cupboard (too embarrassed to say how long but measured in years and months)…until yesterday.

I mixed the glycerine with hot water then put the leaves in, apparently to magic ratio is 1 part glycerine to 2 parts water. My solution wasn’t exact, I needed a bit more water to make sure the leaves were covered.
2016 May 28 Preserving Leaves 2 t r a c y f o x

I am only trying a few to see if I am happy with it plus I didn’t really have lots of glycerine.

To keep the leaves from just floating on the top of the water, I put another container on top and poured water into that to weigh it down a little.
2016 May 28 Preserving Leaves 3 t r a c y f o x

I have left it outside over night and am dying to take them out and dry them but the information I found said to leave them for about a week.

Can I wait that long I ask myself…patience is the reply!

I did sneak a peak today though – sorry, couldn’t resist, just checking they were ok you understand!
2016 May 28 Preserving Leaves 4 t r a c y f o x
2016 May 28 Preserving Leaves 5 t r a c y f o x

Anyway, I shall share the results with you next week and if they are good to use then onto the monster fronds of my tree ferns.
2016 May 28 Preserving Leaves 6 t r a c y f o x


So the results are in, what do you think?

Here are the leaves after a few days soaking in the glycerine solution.
The liquid was becoming darker and I was worried all the colour would disappear from the leaves so I tested them and they seemed to be bendy enough (technical term!) so I took them out.
2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results1a t r a c y f o x

I patted them dry with paper towels and pressed them in My Leaves Book for a couple more days and here they are in all their glory, dried and finished.2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results1 t r a c y f o x 2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results2 t r a c y f o x

Here are the backs of the leaves which are more gorgeous than the fronts I think with all that lovely detail.
2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results3 t r a c y f o x
2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results4 t r a c y f o x
2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results5 t r a c y f o x
2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results6 t r a c y f o x

2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results7 t r a c y f o x

Did I get the results I wanted?

Pretty much yes I think.

As you can see they are definitely more bendy and not brittle at all.

I like the way they have turned out especially the detail on the backs of the leaves.  I do like the colour they are now but would have liked to retain the deep reds that they originally were.

What next with these leaves?

Playing with printing with them to see how they stand up to paint and being cleaned.  It will be interesting to see if the lovely detail is transferred to the print.

I will also be putting them to the test with a needle and thread at some point.

Will I do more?

Yes definitely!  I have gone from buying the smallest bottle of glycerine in the world to perhaps the biggest so I had better use it!!  I’m not sure I had enough in the solution this time as it was supposed to be 50:50 but it wasn’t.
2016 June 06 Preserving Leaves Results8 t r a c y f o x

I am eager to see how different leaves behave.  I have a bucket full of some that I have been collecting from my Moody Magnolia. I will definitely try the ferns and Acer leaves from my garden.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think or if you have tried this yourself, it would be lovely to hear from you.

Thank you for stopping by, it is much appreciated…

t r a c y

* If you like what I do, then others might too – thank you for liking and sharing *

5 thoughts on “Preserving Leaves

  1. Ooh, this sounds interesting… I quite fancy the idea of stitching into leaves. If you manage to perfect the technique, are you likely to sell any of the leaves?


  2. Oooo hey Mrs! I think you are deffinately good to go with them. Can’t wait to hear about the stitching results. It is a shame that nobody has found a way on how to maintain the lovely reds and golds on the leaves. I think they will be great to print with and will have a longer printing life now they are bendy. x:)


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