Exploring New England
EXPLORING NEW ENGLANDExploring New EnglandExploring New EnglandVol. I, No. 4


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You Don't Have to Leave Those Gorgeous Leaves Behind. Preserve Them

By James H. Hyde

Preserved leaf
I picked this leaf from a tree on September 20. What you see is a straight scan done on October 28 with an Epson all-in-one and no retouching or color correction whatsoever. This was preserved using the wax paper method.

Have you ever wished that you could take some of the gorgeous leaves back home with you, to have and to keep without their losing color? Well you can. All you have to do is pick some that you like from a tree and preserve them. How?

It's actually pretty easy as long as you do it within a few days of your picking the leaves.

It's best to pull leaves off a tree rather than picking up fallen leaves. A fallen leaf will keep its color for a day or two, but once they've fallen, they start to lose moisture quickly, become brittle and then tannin sets in and they turn brown and breakdown. You can pick leaves and if you can't preserve them within a few days, put them in a plastic bag with a sealable top. After you put them in, get as much air out of the bag as possible, then zip it closed.

When we first moved to Vermont from Connecticut, my wife found the leaves so appealing that she put them in between the pages of our thesaurus. She forgot to tell me, so I was a tad surprised when one fell out. I was surprised that the leaf was not only flat, but it had retained most of it color.

Ideally, the book you use should be big, such as a large dictionary with other books piled on top of it. This method alone will preserve the leaf, but it can drain the color off.

Yellow leaf preserved
I picked this leaf from a tree also on September 20. What you see is a straight scan done on October 28 with an Epson all-in-one. The scan was dark, so the image was lightened. It is now identical to the real thing.

The way around that is wax paper. I placed both leaves on this page and several others onto half a sheet of wax paper, then folded the other half over the leaves. I then put two paper towels folded together on the wax paper and ironed them (with the settings on high --NO STEAM--until the wax had melted onto the leaf (3 to 4 minutes to preserve the color). I then put the leaves still in the wax paper between the pages of a big dictionary and piled books on top of that. There has been only infinitesimal color degradation in the leaves you see here. The wax not only preserves them, but keeps them from curling. Sandwich one or two leaves (not overlapping each other) in paper towels for three days to keep the color from leeching onto the page. On the third day, replace the paper towels with fresh ones.

After seven to ten days, the leaves should be both flat and dried with the color preserved.

You can also dry them out in a microwave, but be careful. If they get too hot, they'll dry quickly and catch on fire.

If you're new to great fall foliage, you can have your leaves and preserve them too. They can be put together as a mobile. The wax keeps them pliable, so they don't get brittle. They can also be placed in a picture or an acrylic frame. If you do that, you'll be assured that they'll maintain their colors a lot longer.

Inside Issue
There are a number of ways to preserve fall leaves with very little color loss. Use one of the techniques we give you, put it behind glass or acrylic or make a mobile of leaves as a gift of it.
Plimoth Plantation is the epicenter of Thanksgiving and if you want to go out on Thanksgiving this is the place to be. But where does the tradition truly come from?
There are certain tips and tricks one is wise to observe when shooting fall foliage. For starters, it's good to be a morning person.

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Click New England getaway planning
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to go to New-England-Vacations-Guide.com
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