How to Preserve Autumn Leaves With Glycerin


Take a stroll through the autumn foliage, and you will likely come home with at least a few brightly colored autumn leaves that you could not bear to leave behind. When autumn colors are at their peak and the leaves begin to flutter to the ground in blazing colors, collect some leaves and save them indefinitely. Preserve autumn leaves with glycerin for a simple and effective method of saving the vivid beauty of fall foliage.

Step 1

Prepare the autumn leaves for preserving. Spread the waxed paper outside on a concrete surface, and place the leaves on the waxed paper. Pound the bottom four inches of the leaf stems with the hammer until you crush the stems well. This enables the stems to absorb the glycerin.

Step 2

Mix one part glycerin and two parts hot water (between 150 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit) in the flat glass dish. Stir the ingredients well with the spoon until the temperature drops down to between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3

Place the prepared leaves into the glycerin mixture, spacing the leaves out in the dish. Make sure the glycerin mixture covers each leaf completely. If the leaves want to float, weigh the leaves down in the glycerin with small stones.

Step 4

Allow the leaves to soak in the glycerin for at least two weeks and as long as six weeks. Add additional water to the mixture when necessary to keep the glycerin mixture above the leaves at all times.

Step 5

Remove the leaves from the glycerin when you can see that the glycerin traveled through each leaf. You will notice the leaves changing color slightly as the glycerin moves through them. Dry the leaves with the paper towels and use them as you desire.

Things You'll Need

  • Autumn leaves (brightly colored with long stems)
  • Waxed paper
  • Hammer
  • Flat glass dish
  • Glycerin
  • Measuring cups
  • Food thermometer
  • Spoon
  • Small stones (optional)
  • Paper towel


  • University of Maryland at College Park: Preserving Leaves and Flowers
Keywords: autumn foliage, colored autumn leaves, preserve autumn leaves, with glycerin

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.