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How to Preserve Reindeer Moss

By Aileen Clarkson ; Updated September 21, 2017

Reindeer moss is really a lichen: a combination of a fungus and algae that have a symbiotic relationship and form a new plant. The moss is spongy when moist, but dries out when removed from its natural habitat. Preserving the moss keeps it from disintegrating and helps it retain its natural beauty. Crafters use the moss for wreaths, preserved flower arrangements and topiaries. Model train enthusiasts use the moss to landscape realistic terrain for their sets. It is easy to preserve your reindeer moss with a glycerin solution.

Clean the reindeer moss by removing any twigs, dirt or pine needles.

Cut away any discolored or misshapen pieces.

Put the moss in a pot with three parts water to one part glycerin. Add fabric dye, if you want a different color. According to terragenesis.com, the glycerin and dye will be absorbed so that, when the lichen is dry, it will retain its color and remain pliant.

Heat the pot, bringing the solution almost to a boil before allowing it to cool.

Remove the lichen an hour after the solution is cool and squeeze out any excess liquid. You can let the moss remain in the pot longer, if you want it to absorb more color.

Spread the moss on sheets of newspaper to dry. Store dried moss in plastic bags.


Things You Will Need

  • Pot
  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Fabric dye
  • Newspapers
  • Plastic bags
  • Old clothes, eye protection and work gloves


  • Wear eye protection and old clothes when preserving reindeer moss.
  • Wear heavy-duty gloves when squeezing liquid out of the moss.


  • Do not use kitchen pots to soak your moss. Select a pot that will be used only for craft purposes.

About the Author


Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.