November 19, 2012

Fall Leaf Tutorial- A final Fall guest post!

And hello there, readers! My name is Angie and I am the artist, teacher and dreamer behind The Sunshine Memoir. I explore the in-betweens of life, adventure and creativity and have been itching to share some more of myself with the blog world! Before I begin, I must say thank you to the sweetest lady, Julie, for having me as a guest on her blog!

With the end of Autumn nearing, it is our last chance for some Autumn Love! Our colourful, leaf-filled, golden days are dwindling and I am excited to share a few ways to help you capture the magic of Fall.

I love to go for walks in the Autumn months to enjoy the continually changing scenery before it disappears (much too quickly, right?!) The problem is, I find myself wanting to hoard every leaf that I see- let’s call it the habit of all collectors, shall we? Luckily, I have experimented with a few different techniques that encourage leaf picking and will help to preserve them for years.

I have fond memories from my childhood of playing outside at my grandparent’s house in the Fall. We gathered leaves together and would head to the basement where my Grandmother and I began the process of sealing the biggest maple leaves we could find between wax paper. And I thought, wait… why am I not doing this every year? This seems like a very ‘me’ thing to do!

Here are the directions for this simple DIY:

Leaves (duh)   *
Wax Paper      *
Paper, or thin towels

* later in my process, I began to use small ferns and flowers as well
* I started out with a no-name brand and it wasn’t working out well- be sure to use a brand name wax paper!

1. Gather your materials! Make sure not to pick any dry leaves, as they will only crumble between your wax paper. Even though a ton of leaves have fallen (in Toronto, anyway) you can pick them off the ground, air dry them for a day to get the moisture out, and use them without any issues. Make sure not to leave this project for a few days after you’ve picked your leaves, or they will be too dry to use- as you can see in the photo below (but hey, it forced me to go on another great walk!). Bring a paper or plastic bag with you on your leaf-hunting adventure and keep your eyes peeled for interesting shapes, texture and colours!

Assemble all of your materials at your workspace. Make sure you have a hard surface to work on so you can apply some pressure with the iron. I love to work in my room so I just grabbed a wooden canvas from my stock as a strong base and used my bed as a work station. Also note- music, leftover Halloween candy and furry friends are excellent companions for this process if you are going at it solo! *If you are working with kiddos, please remember to be safe with the iron!*

2. Set the iron at a medium heat. Do not use steam!

3. Cut and fold your wax paper to size. Here’s where some creative licensing happens. I figured out that I loved the look of torn wax paper edges. You may want to keep it neat and straight.

4. Place your leaf in the wax paper and fold the top over. *NOTE! Your wax paper will naturally start to curl in towards itself. That will indicate the waxy side of the paper. Place your leaf in between that side.

5. Iron over the wax paper. Any tutorials I have seen encourage using a towel over the paper, but I felt it worked just fine without one if your iron is on a low setting. After much experimentation, I found it worked best to start at one end and using a slow, pressured motion, iron in one direction over the paper. Moving the iron back and forth sometimes overheats the wax and it will start to separate again. The goal is to get a seal around the leaf- the middle section close to and over your leaf will not cure together. You will need to get the hang of it (make sure to pick plenty of leaves!), but once you have it, your leaves will be sealed at a quick rate!

And TA-DA! Your leaf or leaves are now preserved! Be warned, they are not clearly visible through the wax paper. It is definitely a style in itself. You can, however, place them on windows to allow the light to shine through and see your leaf more clearly.


There are two more simple ways to preserve your leaves:

Simply place your leaf between pages in a book (I use a sketckbook) and place as much weight on it as you can. You can use heavy books, actual weights, bricks- really any objects that will apply some pressure to the pages of your book. Set it aside in a safe and untouched area, and your leaves will be dry in a few weeks!

Finally, my last method:

Simply cover the backs and fronts of leaves with thick layers of our dear friend, Mod Podge. Allow complete drying time between each layer, and try your best to avoid gluing your leaf to its drying surface! Your leaves will be beautifully glossy, completely malleable and can be hung, placed in a vase or frame, and enjoyed for years!

I actually ended up loving the way the leaves turned out using the Mod Podge and wish I had made many more- they are shiny and stunning and can be stored for years (store between tissue paper to avoid sticking)! This preservation method is the easiest of the three and had such great results, so I definitely recommend it to everyone!

I hope you have enjoyed my tutorials! If you have any questions, you can ask me on this post or at my blog! I think this will be the start to a new tradition of my own and I am so happy that I could share it with you all. It seems pretty basic, but there is a lot of creativity involved in these processes and I encourage you to take a walk, gather, and make something! 



  1. Great ideas! I've been wanting to try pressing, but I'll have to wait until next year. Our leaves passed about 3 weeks ago and I miss them a lot, it would be wonderful to have them in my home year round.

  2. What a nifty project! Thanks for sharing :-)

  3. Love these ideas! I love the look of them with the wax paper held up against the window. So pretty.

  4. my husband just leafed me for another man


you are so cute! thanks for commenting:)