They say the season you love best will be the one you are born in. I was born in the spring and always loved spring until I moved to New England. All right it helps that my husband is a huge pusher of fall but, the changing of the leaves is magnificent.
Every year I ogle over the lawns layered in what looks like a warm blanket-I-want-to-curled-up-in of leaves and the mighty colors from sun glow yellow to leathery brown. I take pictures, collect leaves, and press them and then I say, what will I do with these?
Currently I have a few folders on my computer and on my shelves of fall leaves. Only once have I actually used them in my art.
I think the ultimate limitation of the leaves being so fragile after they are pressed keeps me from working with them. Also, how many times have I picked up leaves then forgotten about them until they were brittle curled up shells? Too many.
This year living next to the woods, I have an ENDLESS supply of leaves right out my studio door. So, I decided to do some trials with different methods of glazing the leaves. I used three materials, Sculpey Glaze, ModPodge, and Parafin Wax.
The modpodge is my favorite cover. It goes nicely over the leaves allowing all of the color to come through once dry. It also creates a middle ground finish, not mat, but not glossy. Finally it is very forgiving of handling, the modpodge doesn’t lift from the leaf when the leaf is gently bent into a new shape. The fresher the leaf the better, however, I have noticed that leaves recover some of their previous flexibility and coated, as if they had just fallen from the tree.
The sculpey glaze is not great. It is meant to cover plastic, however, since I had some, I thought I would give it a try. It causes a very glossy finish which, I am not fond of and if you bend the leaves much at all, the glaze pulls off the leaf. It can work but, not for what I have in mind. And yes in this picture you can see I tested with adding glitter to the backs of the leaves. I was thinking they might look nice on a mobile. If a mobile was all I was making, the sculpey glaze would work just fine.
Then the Parafin wax. The wax does many of the same things as the modpodge, mat finish, flexibility to leaf, and it has no smell which, is a plus. However, it is hard to keep from having some areas that are white, due to a wax buildup. I think with more practice dipping, leaves could come out of the wax looking perfect. Also, while the wax is still warm you can pull some of the excess off and reshape. When bending the wax can detach from the leaf so there is limited mobility. The final good thing about the wax is that it is earth friendly.
Overall I am excited with my results and looking forward to seeing how the next step of my plan goes with the encased leaves. Of course, only time will tell whether the leaves can maintain their color. My guess is they will not, however, the leaves in my illustration above, from 2003, are only behind a layer of modpodge and they still have the same vibrancy.
One more picture to add to the curiosity of what I will be doing with all of my fall collected goodies.
Are these the most wonderful looking acorns you have seen or what?!
Those are definitely the coolest acorns I’ve seen! And we’ve spent the better part of the past 6 weeks collecting acorns wherever we go.
I’m so glad you did your leaf experiment and shared the results. I have a jar of modge podge that will go to good use now! Fun stuff, I hope you keep experimenting!
Hey again! I hope you find some of these acorns, my only regret is picking up only 5 of them.
It’s good to know the leaf experiment is helpful. I can’t wait to see what people do with them; come back and share a link in the comments!
Here are some more ideas for preserving fall leaves from The Kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/fall/preserve-autumn-leaves-now-for-the-thanksgiving-table-131234