Home & Garden Home How to Preserve Leaves: 5 Easy DIY Methods Pressing, microwaving, ironing, and coating with glycerin or wax. By Maria Marabito Maria Marabito LinkedIn Twitter Writer West Chester University Maria Marabito is a writer who specializes in sustainable travel, green living, and food issues. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from West Chester University. Learn about our editorial process Published September 26, 2021 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Sergey Sidorov / Getty Images Home DIY Pest Control Natural Cleaning Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism Sustainable Eating Overview Working Time: 3 - 40 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes - 2 weeks Yield: 1 to 30 preserved leaves Skill Level: Intermediate Estimated Cost: $0-$30 If only you could harness the colorful fall foliage to look at year-round. Oh but you can! With proper preservation techniques, you can save every red, orange, gold, and even green leaf you want. If you're familiar with the different ways to preserve flowers, you'll find the processes for these five methods of preserving leaves very similar and easy to complete. Choosing Your Leaves When choosing leaves to preserve, avoid the overly dry ones that crumble in your hand. Leaves preserve best when they are still silky and pliable. What You'll Need Supplies (Vary by Method) Paper towels Thin towels Scissors Wax paper Materials 1-30 leaves Additional materials depending on method Instructions Method 1: Book-Pressed Leaves JessicaPichardo / Getty Images Just like flowers, leaves can be pressed in a book in order to dry and flatten them. For this method you'll need at least one heavy book and newspaper, wax paper, or blank sheets of paper. Prepare Your Leaves Place your leaves inside a heavy book lined with newspaper or wax paper to protect the pages. Close the book and set it aside in a dry location. If you have more books or items at the ready, stack them on top of the book with the leaves inside to help with the flattening process. Check Dryness Examine the leaves after one week. If they start to rot or mold, discard the leaves. Your pressed leaves should be ready after about two weeks. Method 2: Preserving Leaves in the Microwave Simon Gakhar / Getty Images The microwave is a faster alternative to the method above if you are short on time or just impatient. Prepare Your Leaves Take your leaves and place them between two thin paper towels. Place the pile onto a microwave-safe plate and put it into the microwave. Microwave Microwave the leaves on medium heat for 30 seconds on medium power to start. Check the leaves to see how dry they are before microwaving for another 30 seconds. Continue this cycle until they are dry. Method 3: Preserving Leaves with Wax Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty To maximize how long your preserved leaves last, consider covering them with a durable coating of wax. In addition to your leaves, you'll need: 1 package of beeswaxA double boiler Melt Your Wax Use a double boiler to melt all-natural beeswax down into a liquid. Melt the beeswax but keep it from boiling. Dip the Leaves Once fully melted, take your leaves and dip them one at a time into the liquified beeswax to coat them. Gently shake off any extra wax. Allow to Dry Hang the coated leaves (with clothespins and a clothing line perhaps) to let the leaves dry fully without getting them stuck to a surface. Method 4: Preserving Leaves With Glycerin Gargonia / Getty Images As an alternative to beeswax, try coating leaves with glycerin instead. This method will require: 1 cup of glycerine2 cups of water Prepare Glycerin Mix one part glycerin with two parts water in a large bowl and stir well. Add the Leaves One at a time, drop your leaves into the bowl of glycerin water. Try to make sure the leaves don't get clumped together in the bowl. Let them sit in the mixture for three to five days. Allow to Dry After soaking, take the leaves and let them dry completely by hanging or resting on a towel. Method 5: Preserving Leaves With an Iron Fruit_Cocktail In this method, the wax on the paper acts as a sort of lamination for long-term preservation of the leaves. Place the Leaves on the Wax Paper Layout your leaves evenly on a piece of quality wax paper. Cover with a second piece of wax paper. Place the pile on an iron-safe surface. Cover the wax/leave pile with a towel to act as a barrier between the wax and the hot iron. Iron Run a hot iron over the pile evenly going back and forth. Your iron should be hot and dry; do not use the steam setting. Check that the wax has fully melted together to form a seal before finishing with the ironing. Cut Leaves Cut into the wax paper with scissors in order to get individual leaves. You can also save them as one large sheet to frame or use for another craft. Frequently Asked Questions Which is the best leaf preservation method for longevity? Leaves that are only pressed last, on average, five to seven years before they fade and wither. Leaves that are preserved using wax or glycerin, however, last much longer. What's the fastest method of preserving leaves? The fastest way to preserve leaves is with the microwave method, which takes just a few minutes. What can you do with preserved leaves? Maybe you want to create a piece of wall art or a customized card for a friend? Or if you're a real nature enthusiast, start a tree journal—glue your preserved leaves to the pages and log the species, where you found it, and when.