How to Preserve Leaves in Glycerine

Overview

A dried flower arrangement isn't complete without some leaves to help round it out. Drying leaves at home to add to your dried flower project allows you to mix and match the foliage that is readily available in your garden with the flowers to create the look you desire. Glycerine keeps foliage pliable long after it has dried, so leaves retain a supple, natural feel. Glycerine does not preserve color, so a dye bath is usually used in conjunction with it.

Step 1

Mix 1 tsp. floral dye with ½ cup of water. Stir until the dye powder dissolves completely. Floral dyes are readily available at craft stores.

Step 2

Mix 1 cup glycerine with 2 ½ cups warm water and ½ tsp. powdered citric acid. Stir it together slowly so air bubbles don't form in the mixture.

Step 3

Combine the glycerine solution with the dye solution. Add more dye, 1 tsp. at a time, to the mixture to intensify the color if desired. Use no more than 3 additional tsp. of dye.

Step 4

Wipe a glass container clean with a lint-free towel. Use a shallow container for single leaves, or a drinking glass for small stems.

Step 5

Place 1 ounce of glycerine mixture into the container for every ounce of leaves you are preserving. Place the leaves in the solution so they are completely submerged. Set small stems upright in the glass so the bottoms of the stems are in the solution. Leaves absorb glycerine through their stems.

Step 6

Soak the foliage in the solution for five to seven days. Woody stems take up to seven days to full absorb the glycerine, while single leaves should be done in five days.

Step 7

Pat the leaves dry with a lint-free cloth, removing any excess glycerine or moisture on the foliage surface. Use the leaves immediately or store them in a sealed plastic bag until you are ready to use them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never use glycerine with metal containers. The metal reacts with the glycerine, keeping it from working properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring cups
  • Floral dye
  • Glycerine
  • Citric acid
  • Glass container
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Plastic bag

References

  • Kansas State Extension: Preserving Flowers and Decorative Foliages with Glycerin and Dye
Keywords: glycerine presserved leaves, drying flower foliage, glycerine leaf arrangements

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.