Fall Leaves and Mod Podge Magic!

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".


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!

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring


Remember, these are not leaves!  They are 100% Mod Podge film tinted with food coloring!


Check out these ideas for fall leaves and Mod Podge: mason jar candles and  a beautiful wreath.

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!

And ideas for Easter eggs!  AND  Wall Storage folders! AND Angels!  AND Fall Theme Pinatas

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!

Plaid International Locator


My 2 year old granddaughter

My 2 year old granddaughter gave me about a dozen hand picked dried (dead) leaves from our backyard. I'd love to preserve this gift, and although I know what to do with recently picked leaves, the deads ones are a puzzle. My hope was to be eventually be able to place them in a shadow box or frame under glass. Any suggestions? Thanks for your interest and assistance.

I just found this page - this

I just found this page - this is wonderful - I've been saving leaves so I'm all set - that is right after I hit the craft store - to replace my obviously ANCIENT bottle of Mod Podge - seriously it is yellow in the jar and the smell well lets not go there - I think it may have been mine from high school or something and I turned 49 this year - LOL! Gross :)

Fabulous! Too bad we don't

Fabulous! Too bad we don't have much in terms of fall leaves here.

I already have leaves

I already have leaves drying/pressed from a leaf themed week I had last week. Now I know how to make them last longer. Thanks! I just saw this post on One Pretty Thing. I love going into people's wonderful "archives" of posts! Great stuff out there, it just gets lost by time!


Thanks for the tips! I've got

Thanks for the tips! I've got a bunch of leaves drying for Thanksgiving decor!!

I just wanted to thank

I just wanted to thank you...I linked to this post today along with my poem about pressing leaves!



How exciting! I've only used

How exciting! I've only used the gloss mod podge and have always been curious about the other types. What fun!

I love this project and can't wait to try it out this fall. Thank you for the idea and inspiration!

Thanks for the instructions!

Thanks for the instructions! I'd love to do this to make decorations for a party we're having in October but I don't think I'll have enough time to let the leaves dry before then.

Wow that's a really nice

Wow that's a really nice trick. I love to collect fall leaves but they are so tough to handle after they dries out. But I have a question, can I use Mod Podge-Satin in stead of Matte? I will really appreciate if you will share your experience. Thanks in advance.

What a wonderful crafting

What a wonderful crafting tip! I had no idea. Thank you for sharing!

We loved this idea but have

We loved this idea but have not had positive results. We collected, painted both sides and let them dry. They looked gorgeous!! We moved them to another room and a few days later when we returned they were dried out and very frail. Any tips? Thanks

 I am so sorry to hear that

 I am so sorry to hear that you had this disappointing experience.  A couple things may have contributed to the problem.

First I want to make sure that you did press your leaves between sheets of newspaper and weighted with books for about two weeks before using them, as instructed.

And it is very important to use two thick coats of Mod Podge on each side.

In my own experience, I have found that two thick coats on each side of the leaves is very important in preserving them. I learned that fact the hard way on my wreath.  I used whisper thin coats of regular Mod Podge on several leaves as I was trying to use up the last of the bottle.  Those leaves have not done very well on the wreath on my front door, becoming dry, crackly and brittle.  Thick coats are key. Thickly coated leaves on the wreath seem to be doing just fine.

If your leaves will be displayed anywhere there is moisture in the air, like outside or a steamy kitchen,  it would be wise to use outdoor Mod Podge.  It does a better job of sealing out the elements. And a coat of Acrylic spray would be a good idea as well for even more protection.

I have had no problem keeping these leaves beautifully in my home for almost a year now.  Those pictured at the top of the post were 8 months old when I made the photograph.



Thank you for the reply! We

Thank you for the reply! We are excited to try again. We were in such a rush to have the finished leaves we didn't let them dry out long enough. Love all you ideas, thank you so much for sharing them with all of us.

Well what a nice leaves. I

Well what a nice leaves. I love the purple ones :)

This would be great to do

This would be great to do with my 2 year-old, but I don't have the Mod Podge stuff...is there anything else I can use to preserve them? I'm in Germany so it's hard to find a lot of things for us. Thanks!

oh wow, what a great idea. i

oh wow, what a great idea. i am going to make some and send them to my friends in texas. thanks for the tutorial.

Oh Wow. This is the coolest

Oh Wow. This is the coolest thing! We will be doing this tomorrow.

Thank you!

I knew there had to be an

I knew there had to be an easy way to do this! thanks!

What a great way for the kids

What a great way for the kids to save some beutiful fall leaves!

I can't wait to try this!

I can't wait to try this!

I would love to win this!

I would love to win this! That is such a cute idea, I will be sure to try it!

beautiful! I love mod podge

beautiful! I love mod podge and would love to win this!

Thanks for the idea, Pam!!!

Thanks for the idea, Pam!!! I can't wait to try it with Goose and Binky!
Hope you are well!

That is SO cool! I love the

That is SO cool! I love the idea of keeping newspapers in the car. I lost a stack of leaves jsut last week. I'd picked them up on a hike and left them in the back seat. Just one day later they'd curled and broke. What a great idea. Mod Podge is sooo amazing!

I've never tried the stuff,

I've never tried the stuff, but I need to now! I love the idea of saving leaves that way.

I used to refer to duct tape

I used to refer to duct tape as The Force that Binds the Universe- but these days I know it's really mod podge!

Great idea Pam...I'll be

Great idea Pam...I'll be breaking out the mod podge as our leaves are now starting to turn.

Who knew they had come out

Who knew they had come out with all of these new "flavors"?? Great idea - it would be a fun project for kids to gather the leaves.

Pam, I used to do this as a

Pam, I used to do this as a kid when we first moved to Canada. My cousins in Ontario,who I hadnever met before, showed me how to do this. Except I don't remember if we sealed the leaves with anything. We used roses and petals, too.

Great idea! Happy Fall/Autumn!

You come up with the most

You come up with the most fascinating ideas Pam!!!
I just 'happened' to have a bottle of modge podge with me. Now I need to run and get some leaves before we leave on Friday. Autumn with beautiful leaves doesn't happen till March in Az.

I don't know if this is open

I don't know if this is open to international readers but just wanted to say this is a great idea and a wonderful way to captue the beauty of all seasons.