I love the changing seasons. The cooler temperatures in the fall are always welcome after a hot summer. This time of year, we like to take a drive up into the mountains to see the changing colors. The vibrant colored leaves amaze me every time. I take pictures each year, but somehow the pictures just don’t do the colors justice.
I always wish I could preserve the beautiful leaves so I can scatter a few on my table or to make a pretty Thanksgiving centerpiece. Now, I have found a way to preserve them and keep the leaves pliable.
When gathering the colorful leaves, try to find the most perfect. Look for leaves that are not brown or dry on the edges. Make sure that their stems are still attached and that they don’t have signs that they have been eaten by insects. (Don’t feel bad about pulling a few leaves off of a tree; they’re going to fall off anyway!)
After you have gathered up a nice variety of colors, rinse them off and put them into a zipper seal bag. Mix up a solution of:
½ c. water
¼ c. vegetable glycerin
Pour the solution over the leaves in the bag making sure they are laying flat, not folded or bunched up.
It’s only necessary to have enough of this solution to cover the leaves. (If I have a lot of leaves and need more, I just double or triple the recipe accordingly.) Then, press out the excess air and seal the bag so that all of the leaves are covered in the glycerin solution. Keep the bag of leaves in a cool place to “marinate” for 3-4 days (be sure to keep away from pets and small children.)
I have found that any blemishes in the leaves will become more apparent after soaking in the solution. This is why it’s important to be choosy with the leaves I want to preserve.
Remove the leaves from the solution and carefully blot them dry with a paper towel. (Don’t rinse them.) You will notice that the colors have changed slightly. The yellow leaves have become more intense. The orange and red will have turned more of a rusty color.
The leaves in the photo above were soaked in the solution for 3 days. They will stay pliable and soft for a good long time. You can use them for all kinds of crafty things like table decorations or making fall wreaths! They are beautiful tied to the outside of a clear glass candle. The colors really glow!
Try to grab some colorful leaves while the leaves are at their peak of color. At Thanksgiving time, you’ll be glad you did!