Preserving leaves is an old pastime and art. The striking colors of fall are in particular demand when it comes to saving leaves and creating beautiful works. Pressing flowers is more common, but to create spectacular fall displays, consider pressing autumn leaves.
Can You Press Fall Leaves to Preserve Them?
Pressing flowers is an ancient art that preserves delicate beauties of nature. The same strategy works with leaves. If you have pressed flowers before, you know that the colors may not remain quite as vivid as with other flower drying methods, but you’ll still get rich, stunning color for fall displays and artwork.
As with flowers, leaves can be preserved through pressing because it removes moisture. Without the moisture, the once living material will last much longer. A fall leaf will dry out without your intervention, but it will also curl and crumble. Pressing keeps leaves flat and intact as they dry.
How to Press Fall Leaves
There is no one best way to press fall leaves. It’s an inexact science, so decide which works best for you by trying out different methods:
- Pressing with weight – This is the simplest way to press leaves. Simply sandwich the leaves between newspaper or waxed paper and place something weighted on top of them, like a pile of books.
- Use a flower press – You can also buy a simple piece of equipment that is designed for flower pressing. Presses may vary by design, but all have some type of mechanism for tightening to press the leaves or flowers tightly between two boards.
- Iron leaves – You can also use a quick method to dry and press leaves. Place them between wax paper sheets and use an iron to flatten and dry them. Iron one side of the waxed paper sandwich and then flip over and iron the other side. Not only does this dry the leaves, but it also creates a light layer of wax on them, for even better preservation.
After pressing, or as an alternative to pressing autumn leaves, there are methods to preserve them for even longer. For instance, you can dip them in glycerin. Look for it in a craft store and follow the instructions. Glycerin preserved leaves are more flexible, so you will be able to use them for a greater variety of crafts.