Overwhelmed with the natural beauty of the fall season, my artistic side was restless like a child in a toy store. I wanted it all, but did not know how to save the multicolored leaves for my DIY projects. As usual the internet provided ample suggestions and ideas on how to preserve the leaves and what magic I could create with them.
Here, I share the techniques that worked for me, and my fall decor projects. I hope this post helps you to bring natural beauty indoor and add to your home’s holiday charm.
How to preserve fall leaves and create beautiful DIY art pieces for your home :
STEP #1: Collect the leaves, obviously! Go out with big paper bags to collect the multicolored leaves, make it a family activity at the park etc. I think it will help children appreciate nature more when it’s a fun family activity. Try to collect leaves that are not too dry or damaged (like from the side of roads, it’s neither safe nor in good condition).
STEP #2: Select the leaves you are going to use and carefully place them between a thick cloth. You can use a bed sheet or like me, place them between a table runner. Adjust the heat of your Iron to moderate (Cotton setting) and Iron over the cloth once or twice slowly. DO NOT hold the iron on one place for long. Just to make it clear :
DRY LEAVES + HEAT SOURCE = FIRE HAZARD
Hence, please be very careful while using the iron on the leaves make sure it is between a thick cloth so that only sufficient heat passes through to make the leaves flat and ready for use.
NOTE- Since I never seem to learn… I tried to be lazy and skip this step! The leaves withered faster than expected and I just wasted a day in collecting new one’s. So trust me NO PAIN NO GAIN… iron the leaves before you carry on to the next step.
The color of the leaves may become a shade dark or slightly dull compared to when you found it outside. There is nothing much you can do about that, even after applying the sealant the value  reduces.
Modification: I read in some places that you can keep the leaves between waxed paper sheets, the heat transfers the wax on the leaves which may help to preserve them.
STEP #3 : After the leaves are flat, spread them on a sheet of paper and one by one apply Mod podge on their front side. Leave it to dry for sometime and then turn it to repeat the process. After the Mod podge has dried on both sides the leaves become a little less fragile than before.
TIPS : Instead of sitting and applying Mod podge on all the leaves (since I was using them for different projects on different days) I sprayed a clear sealant on all the leaves (front and back) to preserve the color until I used it in the following 3 or 4 days.
Advantage- Spray sealant is quicker, wait for one side to dry then flip the leaves and repeat. Make sure to do any spray work outside in open air wearing a mask and gloves.
Disadvantage- It only keeps the color shiny, but does not do anything to make the leaves sturdy. The Mod podge, on the other hand, creates a thin layer over it which keeps it from chipping easily.
Step #4: Now that the leaves are sealed and flat, use them to create beautiful art pieces for your home. Some examples are given here.
Share with me your fall leaves projects and decor ideas. I would love to be inspired by your ideas 🙂