How to Preserve Magnolia Leaves with Mod Podge for Home Décor
“I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” – Shelby from Steel Magnolias
Remember that movie? I must have watched it a dozen times. Every time I look at a magnolia tree I think of this movie.
I have three 30-ish feet magnolia trees on my property and have never used the leaves! Can you believe it? They are so beautiful and very tough, so they make great leaves for decorating.
I decided to use them in my Christmas decor this year so I thought I’d share how to preserve them, so they last longer.
I have read several articles that this method works, but to be honest I am trying it out for the first time. As a test, I kept a leaf to the side that I did not cover with Mod Podge to test the difference.
Time: 30-60 Minutes
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Preserving the Leaves
Time for this project depends on how many leaves you need.
Remove the leaves from the tree and rinse them with water. Dry them off with a clean towel or paper towels. Allow them to air dry completely. If you apply Mod Podge to wet or damp leaves, it will appear white or faded after a week or two.
Spread out newspaper or packing paper to protect your work surface. Paint the front of the leaf with Mod Podge using a foam paint brush. Be very liberal with the Mod Podge and make sure you cover the entire area including the stem. Any uncovered area will still turn brown. I used Mod Podge with the Matte finish, but you can use the glossy finish if you like. I found that using the matte finish keeps the leaves looking natural and shiny.
Cover the middle, sides, and stem. Allow them to dry. Turn them over and paint the back. Again, be very liberal with the Mod Podge ensuring that the entire leaf is covered. Allow them to dry. REPEAT three more times.
Use them for your décor!
I used them for embellishing my grapevine wreaths as well as decorating the garland for my mantel and front door.
Tip: Use floral wire or garland wire to attach the leaves to your wreaths or garland. You can buy a pack of garland wire at the 99 Cent Store.
Without using Mod Podge, magnolia leaves will slowly dry out in about 4-6 weeks. I will keep you posted on the status of this method and how much longer the leaves will last. Important: Be sure to keep the leaves out of direct sunlight as well.
Optional Magnolia Leave Preservation Method
You can also use the glycerin method. This takes longer to do than using Mod Podge. For this you mix one part glycerin with 2 parts hot water. Submerge the leaves in the solution for three to four days. Allow them to dry.
Need more ideas?
Here are some other fun DIY Wreath ideas:
- Repurposed Chalkboard Silver Platter
- Repurposed Frame Christmas Wreath
- DIY No Sew Felt Poinsettias
- Entryway Christmas Wreath DIY
- Snowman Joy Wreath
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