Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How to Preserve Autumn Leaves!

The weather here this fall has been amazing.  Bright sunny warm days.  For some reason, the leaves on the trees around Sweetwater have not been as colorful as usual.  I suppose there is a scientific reason for that but I don't know what it is.

Fall leaves that are brightly colored just call to be brought in to the house to use for decorations.

I have memories of classroom art projects that involved trying to save fall leaves.
  • We ironed them between wax paper.  
  • We made leaf prints with paint.  
  • We used color crayons to make leaf etchings. 
  • We pressed leaves in heavy books.
What I really wanted was leaves that look like they are still outside on the tree.
AND......AHA!
This is the technique I tried this year and it comes pretty darn close to actually preserving the leaves.
The leaves in the silver vase have been in water for 2 days.....and you can see how dry and curled they are.
The leaves with the white pumpkins came into the house at the same time.  They got the "magic solution" and you can see they are still nice and soft.

How did this "magic" happen?

The "magic" ingredient is Glycerine.

You can buy glycerine at the drugstore or in craft stores.
I buy mine by the quart from Amazon.

What You Do:
  1. Mix the glycerin and water so that it is one part glycerin and two parts water. ...
  2. Pour the solution into a flat pan, place the leaves in the solution, and then put the weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. ...
  3. Keep the leaves submerged in the solution for a couple of days.
  4. Dry the leaves gently with a paper towel.
These giant red oak leaves were perfect to show you the process.



  I just put the leaves in the solution and didn't bother to weight them down.  Every so often I would go and push the solution around with my fingers to make sure the leaves all got covered.








Look how lovely and shiny and soft the leaves are after just 2 days.

They really hold the colors too.

I am not sure what I am going to do with these.  But I am sure to think of something.
 Almost as good as the ones in nature!




Are you wondering how long these will stay looking nice?
I don't actually know.....but the ones I did two weeks ago still look great.  I don't know if it matters.....they really only have to last until Fall decor turns to Winter....!


Now.....Are you ready for your chemistry lesson?

Glycerin is a neutral, sweet-tasting, colorless, thick liquid which freezes to a gummy paste and has a high boiling point.
Glycerin can be dissolved into water or alcohol, but not oils.
Many things are able to dissolve into glycerin easier than they do into water or alcohol. This makes it is a good solvent.
Glycerin is a humectant.  That means that it draws moisture from the air.
Glycerin has the ability to make "water wetter" meaning that it breaks the surface tension of water.

Glycerin has lots of uses besides preserving leaves.
If it can make those leaves so nice and soft.....imagine how products containing glycerin will help soften skin and hair.

 This is a nice article with lots of information about glycerine.
Creative Uses For Glycerine 
It is worth checking it out....in fact....I discovered that glycerin mixed with water and heated over a candle flame makes a cool Halloween Fog Machine.  I can't wait for the UPS guy to deliver my new glycerin supply so I can try this!
Glycerin is also a great additive for Home Made Bubble Solution.
Recipe for Magic Bubbles
1 oz. glycerin
2 oz dish soap (I like Dawn)
8 oz water

Hope you are having a wonderful day!


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