Preserving Magnolia Leaves

Magnolia and other types of leaves can be easily preserved using a simple solution of glycerin and water.  In order to create a craft project for a gardening group planning a visit to "Artisan Life & Style" I used the following process on both magnolia and holly leaves with excellent results.

  1. Prepare your solution using two of parts very hot water to one part glycerin and pour it into your chosen container.  A narrow container will require less volume as the smaller diameter allows it to rise higher than in a container with a larger diameter.
  2. Gather your freshly cut branches keeping in mind that shorter branches will take less time to preserve as the glycerin solution has less distance to travel. Mash the ends to expose more surface area and submerge the mashed ends.  These will take several weeks to absorb the solution.  Check the progress weekly.  When the solution has reached the leaves you will see a rich brown color beginning to develop following the paths of the veins on the magnolia leaves.  
  3. Once the entire leaf has turned a glossy brown it has become fully saturated and can be removed from the solution.  Holly leaves become a deep black-green hue.
The preserved leaves can be used for a variety of crafts and home decor applications including wreaths, swags and arrangements.  The leaves can also be used as an art canvas on which to paint.  Imagine a magnolia blossom painted on a preserved leaf.  This would be a summertime beauty to enjoy once the season is long past.

To gild the leaves I used RB Gilded Stenciling Adhesive (it is thick so it does not bead on the glossy leaves) along with Composition Gold Leafing.
Back to Top