Fall Foliage Fun!
If you have been enjoying all the North Country outdoors have to offer the last few weeks, you have probably noticed trees bursting out in their beautiful red, yellow, and orange fall colors. The change in the color of leaves is caused by the breakdown of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for photosynthesis, as the tree gets ready for winter. As the green chlorophyll leaves the leaf it allows the other colors in the leaf to shine! But just as soon as leaves turn vibrant colors they fall to the ground, dry up and turn brown. Today I am going to teach you how to preserve leaves that you can enjoy year-round. We’ve already seen our first snowfall and a handful of frosty mornings, but there are still trees dropping leaves, which means ample time to try out this craft! Preparing them in this way is perfect for scrapbooking, creating art with leaves, or just keeping a collection; and it’s super easy! All you need are five things, including your leaves. The best leaves will be freshly fallen leaves that still have their moisture. Otherwise pick your favorites!
- Wax paper
- An iron
- A thin towel (One you don’t mind getting waxy. Paper towels can also work if you don’t have a beater towel)
- A wooden cutting board
Begin by placing your leaf between two pieces of wax paper with plenty of extra wax paper around the edges of the leaf.
Set your towel or paper towels on a wooden cutting board, then put your leaf/wax paper stack on the towel and fold the towel over the top of your stack. The towel is there to keep your cutting board and iron from getting waxy.
On a medium dry setting (you don’t want to use steam) gently iron your leaf. After a minute or two flip your leaf over and repeat. The wax paper will become clearer as it melts around the leaf. Fun fact! Leaves naturally have a waxy layer called a cuticle that helps them to not dry out when they’re on the tree! However, to best preserve them they need the extra layer of wax from this craft.
Once your leaf has been sealed in the wax paper, trim off the excess paper and repeat with all the beautiful leaves you collected!
Share what you make as an encounter or as a comment on this blog! We would love to see what you make with your lovely preserved leaves!
If you collected leaves from different trees, you may be wondering why trees have different leaves? Trees have different leaves because during their evolution they had to adapt to different challenges like weather or food availability and they each met these challenges in different ways. An extreme example is needles versus broad leaves. Needles are actually just really skinny leaves that are an evolutionary response to a lack of nutrients. By keeping their leaves in the winter conifers (trees with needles) don’t have to devote as many resources to regrowing leaves in the spring. This means they have to be good at managing water loss because there is less water available in the winter. Conifers retain water better because their skinny leaves have less surface area to lose water from. I hope you had fun, learned a thing or two, and happy leaf collecting!