How to Preserve Leaves With Glycerine

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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There are several ways to preserve colorful leaves and foliage for use later in the season, one of which is submersing the stems in a solution of glycerine. Leaves preserved this way are supple and very long-lasting, and they hold their color well.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Foliage Preservative Foliage Preservative
  • Garden Shears
  • Baking Dishes
  • Double Boilers

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  1. 1

    Purchase liquid glycerine from a crafts store or on the Internet.

  2. 2

    Pick mature foliage from midsummer through fall. Tender new growth will not absorb the glycerine.

  3. 3

    Harvest the foliage on a dry day, after the morning dew has dried from the leaves.

  4. 4

    Wipe away any dust or dirt from the surfaces and remove any imperfect leaves or stems.

  5. 5

    Crush the stems 2 inches up from the cut end using a hammer or the handle end of your clippers.

  6. 6

    Heat the liquid glycerine to 130 to 140 degrees F in a microwave oven or in a double boiler. Leave it in the original wide-mouth bottle.

  7. 7

    Insert the cut stems into the container of glycerine. Allow them to remain in the solution for up to three weeks.

  8. 8

    Place small foliage such as ivy and ferns in a heatproof container and submerse completely with warm liquid glycerine.

  9. 9

    Watch foliage carefully for changes in coloring and darkening of veins.

  10. 10

    Remove the foliage from the preservative when the foliage is supple and has no signs of brittleness.

Tips and warnings

  • Stiff, waxy leaves have the best results when preserved with glycerine. Beech, boxwood, holly, magnolia, maidenhair fern, maple and myrtle are all excellent choices to preserve in this manner.

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