The golden autumn is just around the corner and, like every year, nature shows its colorful side in September. Red and yellow colored autumn leaves create a happy atmosphere at home despite the cloudy weather and create a cozy ambience. So that the decoration made of natural materials really lasts a long time, you should preserve, dry or press the autumn leaves. This means that their bright colors are retained for longer. We’ll show you how.
Preserving autumn leaves: preserving leaves with wax
Autumn is the right time to go on an excursion in the forest to collect natural materials. Above all, this includes autumn leaves. But here too, caution is required, because there are many plants that are poisonous. Families with small children in particular should therefore pay particular attention, because the little ones can swallow parts of the plant. In some cases, the leaves can cause an allergic reaction to touch. If you want to be on the safe side, it is better to use well-known tree and plant species with an intense autumn color. Such are for example the wild wine, the rock pear, the chokeberry, the maple and the sweetgum tree. These leaves have an attractive shape and a yellowish-orange-red color. To get these saturated nuances, you can preserve the autumn leaves with wax. It is best to use beeswax for this purpose. Since the wax is heated, you should first practice and explain how to use it safely with the children. Otherwise there is a risk of burns. In order to be able to preserve the autumn leaves, you will need the following materials:
- Baking paper or cling film
- Autumn leaves
- a pair of tweezers
- a medium bowl and a smaller bowl or a saucepan and bowl
How to make the autumn leaves durable with beeswax:
1. Melt the wax in a water bath. To do this, simply pour some water into the larger bowl and hang the second, smaller bowl in it. Pour the wax into the smaller bowl and heat it in the microwave on medium setting for about 2-3 minutes.
2. Optionally, you can melt wax in a water bath on the stove. Proceed in the same way as for the microwave, i.e. fill 200 ml of water into the pot and then hang a bowl in it. Put the wax in the bowl, heat the water in the saucepan over medium heat and let the wax melt. Be careful, the wax must not boil or boil.
3. When the wax is completely melted, remove the pan from the heat.
4. In the meantime, clean the foliage, wipe it with a damp cloth and let it dry at room temperature.
5. Then take an autumn leaf with the tweezers and toss it through the wax. Then place the sheet on cling film or baking paper.
6. Continue until all autumn leaves are coated with a thin layer of wax. Then let the foliage dry for an hour.
The autumn leaves preserved in this way can be used to make numerous decorations. Just note that they break so easily.
Drying autumn leaves: instructions
You can also dry the autumn leaves with salt. Spread salt on the bottom of a baking sheet and place the autumn leaves on top. Then cover the foliage with a second layer of salt and the baking sheet with cling film. After about a week, you can take out the autumn leaves. They can become a little brittle and disintegrate more easily, which is why dried autumn leaves are more suitable for decorations on pictures, canvases or on the table.
This is how you should never dry the leaves: Never dry autumn leaves in the microwave, with the iron or in the oven, because then there is a risk of fire. The autumn leaves can of course also dry in the sun, but this often results in discoloration and deformation. The autumn leaves, dried in the sun, quickly become brittle and cannot be painted, threaded or glued together.
Pressing autumn leaves: this is how it works
By the way, autumn leaves can not only be dried and preserved with wax, but also pressed. Just pretend you’re drying flowers. Gather several thick and heavy books and place the autumn leaves between two sheets of kitchen paper. Then put the autumn leaves between the book pages and let them dry there for several days. In between you can check whether the leaves are dry or not and replace the paper towels. After a week, the leaves should be dry. Similar to flowers, dried autumn leaves change color and turn golden brown. But you can paint yourself very well, for example with acrylic paints or with special paints from the craft shop. They are also flat and are great for making autumn wreaths, colorful decorative pictures and creative wall decorations. When the season is over, you can keep the dried autumn leaves in a dark and dry place until next year.
You can make numerous decorations for your home with dried autumn leaves. However, they are not suitable for outdoor use because they are very brittle and can disintegrate. But they can easily defy the heat, which makes them the perfect decoration for the mantelpiece.