Many times in Autumn I have strolled out along the wet grass and found blown into the hedge a single perfect leaf, in which a sensational mixture of beautiful reds, golds, and browns, flow into each other. It makes you sad to think that in few days, that gorgeous leaf may be tattered, sodden and ragged, rotting away into the mud. But there is a way of saving such perfect specimens of autumn leaves from this melancholy fate.
Leaf preserving is great fun; you can gather the beautiful red and gold leaves while the sun shines and the garden is radiant with gold, and then when one of those cold and windy autumn days was playing outside is out of question comes along, you can do the preserving part.
We tried two ways of preserving leaves but the only really successful one involved glycerine, which is thick liquid that comes in bottles. The instructions for preserving in glycerine are as follows
1 Place all the leaves you have gathered in a large bowl or tray
2 pour in two jars of water, half a jar or less of washing up liquid and one of glycerine. There ought to be enough liquid to cover all the leaves. If not, rinse out the jar with more water and pour it into the bowl/tray
3 press a plate down over leaves and water, (firmly but no so hard that the mixture rushes out over the plate), and leave it.
4 leave to sit for around two or three days ( we left ours in for much longer than this by mistake and they came out perfectly fine, so don’t worry, but try to have them out before four days if possible)
5 take leaves out and dry carefully, one by one.
Tip (it works best of yellow or gold leaves as the glycerine can sometimes take colour out of the red and pink ones)
After you have given your leaves the proper treatment they should stay as though freshly picked, or perhaps a little squashier, for at least several months and possibly years (I do not know because we only finished our leaves a few months ago.
The second method of preserving leaves did not work as well; therefore I shall not bother to give exact instructions for how we did it. The place from which we got the idea suggested laying the leaves between two layers of grease paper and then iorning them. This ought to have made the two pieces stick together; thus trapping the leaves underneath. The idea was that you’d make scenes or patterns with he leaves and by trapping the leaves under the paper you could make them stay in whatever arrangement you’d put them. This did not work for us however, as the two pieces would not stick together. It did make wax and flatten the leaves however, and made them more manageable for making pictures. We put them behind plastic and stuck them up on the window for the sun to shine through and they looked beautiful.