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How to Beautifully Press Fall Leaves

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Photographs and paintings are always going to be considered art, but what some people believe is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art can be anything you want it to be, and whatever brings you joy is what should hang in your home.

If your visions of fall include gorgeous changing leaves in a perpetual state of autumn, then see below for instructions on how to press your fall finds and hang them in your favorite antique oval frame or gold circle frame.

How to first preserve your leaves:

  • There are two ways you can preserve natural elements to stand the test of time. The first is the dry them out naturally using the pressing method. After you gather you fall leaf pieces, place them between two paper towels or something as absorbent. Then take something substantial, like your favorite stack of heavy classic novels, and flatten them. This method takes about a week to dry them out, so you'll have to be patient. This will better preserve color, but be careful when handling them as they will be brittle from drying out.
  • The second method is a bit faster and can keep the leaves more pliable. Mixing hot water and glycerin, lay your leaves in a large deep pan like a rectangular cake pan, and pour the solution over them. After three or four days, the leaves should feel supple, and you'll know they are ready. This should be a good solution with bright yellows, but you may get some discoloration with your deeper and darker colors.

How to frame your leaves:

  • If you want a long-lasting display, the best way to do this is to frame them like any other piece of art. Simply lay them on your backing board with an acid-free adhesive, and place your mat and frame on top. If you want to go with something trendier, but less stable as far as long-lasting, press an array of the dried leaves directly between two frames of glass. This will probably damage your materials over the long run but will create a gorgeous temporary look for the season.

Now that you've learned to preserve and press your favorite fall leaves try this method with some other of your nature walk finds. The glycerin method is best for protecting entire twigs of leaves, and you can also apply this method to bright berries. Get creative with you free finds, and place them in a natural wood frame to create a beautiful rustic look.