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Bringing Fall Indoors: Pressing Dried Leaves

Bringing Fall Indoors: Pressing Dried Leaves

Is there anything that defines fall more than the image of leaves changing colors? You can keep these vibrant beauties in your home well past the first snowfall by taking just a few simple steps.

Choosing the Foliage

The key to making a beautiful indoor display of fall leaves lies not in finding the perfectly turned leaf, but in finding the perfectly flat leaf. Choose leaves that appear healthy by discarding those with bumps, spots and curls. Leaves that are in a state of change can make beautiful displays, with only the occasional richly-colored leaf inserted as a highlight. Seek out orange and purple leaves, as well as unusually shaped leaves, too — not only yellow and red maples. Also, drier leaves work better.

Gathering Your Supplies

Newspaper and wax paper work wonders when drying leaves. Place flat, dry leaves between two sheets on a hard surface and cover the top with a heavy book — think encyclopedia heavy. Keep in a dry place, and check after several days. If the leaf is rotting, you’ll have to start over. If it’s not yet completely dry, replace the book and wait another week.

Creating a Display

Dried leaves are wonderful accents in a variety of places, whether placed around the Thanksgiving table centerpiece or stored inside a glass case. Basic glues such as Elmer’s are easy to find and are effective for simple craft projects. Look for a shadowbox-style frame at a home goods store, affix the dried leaves to a textured background and lie flat to dry before hanging.

Are your kids artistic? Have them make homemade creations such as a collage. Dried leaves that are more pliable also make wonderful votive candle decorations easily created by children. Simply make a glue and water mixture, paint the mixture on a plain votive candleholder, and affix the leaves to the exterior of the wet glass. Don’t let the glue or the leaf drip or hang into the interior of the votive. Coat the leaf with more of the glue mixture and let stand overnight.