Preserving fall’s finale

leaves

Did you know you can capture the brilliant beauty of autumn by turning on the microwave?

It’s true – no need to purchase those artificially plastic and horrifically colored strings of fall leaves at Wal-Mart ever again.  You can decorate with the real deal in a few small steps:

paraffin-leaves

*Place a sprig of fresh-cut leaves (cut at the height of their fall color) or one large leaf, on top of a double layer of paper towels in the microwave. 

*Cover the leaves with a single paper towel;

*Set the oven on high and zap for 30 seconds up to one minute depending on how dry your specimen is.  If the leaves curl when you remove them from the oven, the drying time was too short and moisture was left on the leaves.  You may have to experiment to determine the best time on your microwave;

*Remove the leaves and allow them to dry for several hours – overnight is better;

super surface *Spray the dry leaves and stems, completely covering all sides with Super Surface Sealer which is available at most craft or floral supply stores.

This method is so much easier than dipping in paraffin or soaking in glycerine the way my mother did. You can also iron them between layers of waxed paper, but I haven’t ironed in years and don’t intend to start now.

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