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Pressing Fall Leaves - How to Preserve the Beauty of Fall Foliage

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Preserving Fall Leaves with Silica Gel
Preserving Leaves with Silica Gel

Preserving Leaves with Silica Gel

Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2007) licensed to About.com, Inc.

Silica gel is that white powder that looks like salt, that comes in tiny containers in everything from sneakers to vitamins. Silica gel is great at absorbing moisture and it speeds up the drying process considerably. You can find boxes of silica gel in any craft store or you can save and combine all those tiny containers of silica gel that come your way.

  1. Select leaves that are still somewhat moist and supple. Silica gel will allow you to dry slightly thicker leaves, too.

  2. Place about a 1 inch layer of silica gel in the bottom of a microwaveable dish.

  3. Place the leaves flat on top of the silica gel, leaving space between the leaves and the sides of the dish.

  4. Completely cover the leaves with another inch of silica gel.

  5. Place the uncovered dish in the mirowave oven and microwave at medium for about 2 minutes. It’s hard to give exact times for this, because it depends on the size of the dish, how many leaves you have in the dish, how much silica gel is used and the power of your microwave. As with straight microwaving above, it is safer to check the status of the leaves in short intervals than to wait until the leaves scorch.

    In my experience, 3-4 leaves in a 8 x 8 pan with 3-4 cups silica gel takes about 2 minutes on medium.

  6. Let cool and remove the leaves.
Tip: The leaves will last longer if you seal them with an acrylic spray.

Decorating Ideas: These leaves are similar to pressed leaves, above, and can be strewn or massed for seasonal decorations.

Related Video
How to Preserve Leaves

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