Preserving Leaves in New Ways

Compare the two. Silica gel wins!

Always eager to learn something new, as well as finding easier and (maybe) better ways of doing things, I have begun to explore different methods of preserving leaves for my leaf art. 

After a long and arduous search for glycerin, that I finally found in tiny bottles in the cake decorating section of a craft store, I followed directions I found online to preserve some green leaves from my yard. The result is a remarkably soft and pliable leaf that is an ugly brown. So, scratch that.

After researching silica gel, I thought this may be an interesting way to preserve my leaves. I purchased a jug of it and closely read the included instructions. There are a number of warnings on the packaging about bodily contact with the stuff. Eeewww! I poured some silica into a plastic shoe box and  carefully placed a few leaves on top. I slowly poured enough silica gel to cover each leaf. After about two days, the leaves are still a beautiful green and very dry. I plan to spray with acrylic sealant to further preserve both the color and the integrity of each leaf. I think this may work.

I also read in my favorite magazine, Birds and Blooms, about leaf prints in concrete stepping stones. I’ve made several homemade stepping stones over the years with my son’s handprint pressed into them and gave as gifts to grandparents. I love the idea of making leaf impressions in the stones. It’s on my list of things to try. These would make ideal gifts for the gardener in the family.

My husband purchased the concrete mix for me yesterday and today I’m going to visit a local thrift store to see if they have any interesting containers I can use for my stepping stones.

Stay tuned for my next post on how the stepping stones turn out!


About Cindy A. Johnson

I live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. I love to read, work in my flower and vegetable gardens, feed and watch the birds in the yard, sit on the front porch looking at the mountains and go camping. I also like to watch wildlife, including my cats and dog (ha!). I write online articles on a variety of subjects. Check out my book reviews at:, wonderful nature stuff at and assorted articles on interesting stuff at My first ebook was published in January 2012: "Alphamania: An Alphabet Resource for Teachers and Parents." Check out the blog at
This entry was posted in autumn leaves, fall leaves, Great Smoky Mountains, leaf art, pressed leaves, Smoky Mountain gifts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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