How to Preserve Leaves


How to Preserve Leaves - perfect for crafts and decorating

Faux is good (think fur) but some things are better when they are 100% real.

Take these falling leaves – you probably spotted them in my foyer on my Eclectically Fall Home Tour.

They are preserved in their original splendor just like good old Mom Nature intended.

How to preserve leaves - enjoy their beauty and color all year long

How to Preserve Leaves

*Leaves – freshly fallen (not dried out)
*Heavy Books
*Decoupage – I used Martha Stewart Matte (I didn’t want shiny leaves – you could use gloss if you prefer)
*Foam Brush

How to decoupage leaves to make them last

1) Go on a nature walk and find some freshly fallen leaves (or pluck them right off the tree).  The flatter the leaf and the less moisture, the better.

2) Place leaves between sheets of newspaper and put between pages of a big book (put something heavy on top to help flatten – a brick or more heavy books)

3) Leave leaves alone for a few weeks (checking after a week or so to make sure they aren’t curling or falling apart)

4) Apply thin coats of decoupage to your dried, pressed leaves – both front, back and stem – letting dry between coats (I did 3 coats)

5) Hang your leaves (I used double sided tape on my mirror), create a garland, display in a glass jar …

How to decoupage leaves to have them looking fresh all year long

I’ll leave the creative ideas to your imagination.

How to preserve real leaves - perfect for fall decorating

I’ve really fallen for these.

They leave me breathless.

Oh, leave me alone – I can’t help myself (leave your own cheesy leaf, fall or otherwise amusing pun in the comments).


12 Months of Martha at

I’m part of the #12MonthsofMartha team where my BFF Martha Stewart sends me a box brimming with supplies each month to create something fabulous – I only speak the truth.

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  1. You have inspired me to go right out to the big maple tree in my front yard and grab some leaves. Would modge podge work? I guess it would make them glossy. Well, I have a few weeks while I’m waiting for them to dry under the books. I can get the other finish in that time. Thanks!

  2. What a fun idea! I think I will get my daughter to help me with this! Thank you for sharing. Your posts are always so inspirational. Love all the crafty ideas 🙂

  3. Thank you so much, i have been looking for a way to preserve leaves. God can do so much better with colors than i can so this will be perfect. Love your mirror.

  4. My husband laughs at me every year when I stop to pick up pretty and interesting leaves. For some reason have never tried to dry them in books but think I will this year. So hard to get the colors of natural leaves. The rich jewel tones on leaves are so beautiful every year. Takes little longer here on western slope of rockies to change colors in leaves. Been too warm yet at night and day. Always loved the Fall in KY, lots of trees around they were breath taking. Great post, good to know how to preserve leaves the right way. Happy weekend

  5. If you pick leaves that are a real pretty red or gold, they always seem to turn brown if you leave them for 2-3 weeks in a book? What happens if you just go ahead and apply the decoupage right away? Will that help them keep their color?

  6. I can’t wait to get the girls out on some great fall nature walks and bring home a great collection! I love how you can preserve memories for years to come! We save all of our beach finds as well. The girls love going into our vintage secretary and pulling out the treasure jars!! Awesome project Kelly and so simple too!

  7. Well it seems no one has taken up your pun challenge so I will ‘bark’ up that tree. It seems you have gotten to the ‘root’ of the problem in that we can’t reproduce the colors in nature. “Maple’ I’ll try this craft too! “Oak-k?” Haha! Thanks for sharing your lovely home, I always look forward to what you share.

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