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Fall Leaves and Mod Podge Magic!
Submitted by Pam on Wed, 09/23/2009 - 18:49
Use Mod Podge to save those beautiful red, yellow, orange and purple fall leaves for this year and the next and the next.
Toss a few newspapers in the back of the car. Anywhere you find gorgeous leaves, gather them and place them between pages of the newspaper. Place another group of papers on top to provide just enough weight to flatten the leaves gently and prevent them from curling.
When you get home, carefully move your stack of papers to an area where they will be undisturbed for a couple weeks. No need to press under heavy books unless you just want to - but highly recommended.
I do not press leaves I am going to scatter about on tables, I just let them dry between pages of newspaper. The newspaper prevents curling and cracking but keeps some of the original texture so they appear more "leaf like".
REVISED OCTOBER 2012!
Although I have had very good luck gathering and drying leaves using the method suggested above, I have received a few notes over the years from people who have not had similar results. So I am adding these specific instructions.
Pick your leaves from the ground or the tree but be certain they are very fresh and have not curled or dried at all. Fresh, flat, supple leaves - just as if they were picked in June!!!
If your leaves are wet, dry them off before placing in the newsprint
Immediately place them in a single layer (not touching) between sheets of newsprint. This is very, very important and why, as mentioned, I carry newsprint in the car whenever I am planning to collect leaves. A loose pile of collected leaves will dry beyond the point of saving with in a very, very short time - an hour may be too long in some cases.
I also recommend pressing under several books for at least two weeks. Although I have had very good luck with leaves that I have left in the newsprint without pressing, this may not work for everyone, so - press those leaves!! I usually let mine sit much longer than two weeks because I plan to use them the following year! If you have had a very wet year, you may want to give your leaves three weeks.
Two to three weeks should be plenty of time for pressing - any less and your results with the Mod Podge application may be disappointing. I have saved leaves in my pressing pad for up to a year before applying Mod Podge.
For pressing leaves, flowers and foliage really flat, I use an old sketch pad and press under heavy books for a couple weeks. But newspaper works just as well.
Now for the Mod Podge magic part! Once the leaves are dry, gently brush on a coat of matte original Mod Podge, place on a sheet of wax paper, and let dry. Depending on the thickness of the coat and the humidity, drying should take only about an hour.
Turn over and brush another coat over the back surface and let dry. Repeat with a second coat on each side of your leaf.
It's like magic! Your leaf becomes flexible and supple again, and the original color reappears! And your leaf will last and last for years!
I have never sealed mine with acrylic spray, but you may wish to do so with yours. So far, I haven't found it necessary.
ADDED September 23, 2012!
While "preserving" a new batch of fall leaves gathered and pressed last fall, I accidentally left a glob of partially dried Mod Podge skin on the leaf surface.
And the attempt to remove it after it had dried resulted in a very happy discovery!
Visit this new post to see how to make more magic with dried leaves, Mod Podge and food coloring!
Here is a sneak preview!
Remember, these are not leaves! They are 100% Mod Podge film tinted with food coloring!
Added October 2013 - I just posted a tutorial here for mounting extra special leaves to artist canvas.
And here is how to make your leaves look frosty and sparkly!
Did you know that Mod Podge is now available world wide! Here is a link to a store locator to assist in finding a source near you - where ever you live!