Don’t leave the leaves

Assemble your supplies – leaves, waxed paper, iron and pressing cloth. L.D. Bennett photos
Assemble your supplies – leaves, waxed paper, iron and pressing cloth. L.D. Bennett photos

Laura Dean Bennett
Contributing Writer

What a shame it would be to let all those beautiful autumn leaves go to waste. You and the kids can have fun gathering them, comparing them, identifying them and then preserving them for use in all kinds of fall décor.
Expert crafters will tell you that the best way to preserve leaves is by using glycerin. And they would be right. But if you don’t have any glycerin, there’s another way – all you need is waxed paper and an iron.
First, you have to gather some leaves. It is always best to pick them off the tree while they still have their brightest color and are their most pliable. But you can also collect them after they’ve fallen to the ground. But you have to hurry and get them before they begin to curl up. Look for leaves that are flat. Once they have started curling, they are too dry for the waxed paper method.
As soon as you bring them in, place them on a newspaper and put a heavy book on top of them. That will keep them flat until you are ready to work with them.
Set up your ironing board, plug in your iron, have sheets of waxed paper and a thin, clean pressing cloth at hand (to keep your iron clean) and you’re ready to begin.
Lay each leaf between sheets of waxed paper. Cover the waxed paper with the pressing cloth. Iron on medium heat (without steam) for a few moments to allow the wax on the paper to transfer to the surface of each leaf.
Allow the leaves to cool completely before gently peeling away the waxed paper.
Your leaves are ready to adorn a wreath, use as a bouquet, make thanksgiving dinner invitations or assemble as a beautiful centerpiece for your fall and/or Thanksgiving table.
This wax paper method won’t make your leaves last indefinitely (for that you’ll have to go the glycerin route), but they will last at least through this autumn and maybe, if you treat them with extra care, through a few more seasons to come.
When it’s time to put the autumn décor away, pack your leaf crafts away carefully in air tight containers or if you’re storing single leaves, lay waxed paper between them and store them flat between the pages of a book.

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