These are Columbine leaves that I collected from my daughters garden. Some kind of insect had chewed the leaves so bad that all that was left of them were the veins and stems. She was horrified but I saw hidden beauty. I gathered a handful and put them into a plastic bag and brought them home with me. I pressed them between two sheets of wax paper using an iron. I cut two pieces of black card stock to 4x6 inches. I pushed them into a gold ink pad face down, using crumbled plastic wrap to keep my fingers clean. I arranged them onto the black card stock, then I laid the other piece of card stock over the top.Then I ran them through my Wizard die cutting machine using its embossing pad. If you don't have a die cutting machine that is capable of embossing don't worry. Emboss them by laying them onto the card stock with a piece of craft foam beneath and lay a piece of card stock over them. Using a rolling pin roll over the top applying as much pressure as you can. Leaves make the best impression from the back of the leaf. After using a heat gun to dry them, I then sprayed them with a spray sealant. After you are done don't forget to un-crumple the plastic wrap and transfer the ink to another piece of card stock. This is beautiful and can be used on another project. I like to transfer it to green or red and use it for the background of a Christmas card.
A few years ago while up at our cabin in Northern Michigan, I stumbled into an enchanted place in the forest. I knew that fairies lived there. Sprinkled upon the forest floor were all these tiny Oak and Maple leaves. I was fascinated at their tiny size. I spent a long time gathering as many as I could find that were perfect. It is the first time I have ever seen tiny Oak or Maple leaves. Since I didn't know if I would ever again see any like them. I wanted them to last forever. I preserved these by mixing together 1/3 C. of glycerin and 2/3 C. of water. I poured this mixture into a plastic cake pan that once came with a microwave cake. Then I laid my leaves into the mixture. Then I put another plastic cake pan on top of them and weighted it down to hold the leaves beneath the the surface. It usually takes four to six days for the glycerin to replace the water in the leaves. I left these in for six days because Oak leaves are woody where most other leaves are fleshy. I wanted to make sure they were ready to use. I then took them out and dried them gently with paper towel. This process leaves the leaves soft and flexible making them easy to use.
To make these leaves you first gather fallen leaves that haven't began to dry out yet. Lay them on a piece of parchment paper, then lay another piece of parchment paper over the top of them. Make sure that you use parchment paper and not wax paper, as you can't paint waxed leaves. Iron them for a few seconds on one side and then flip them over and iron the other side. Do this a couple of times until they are dry. Leave them set a few days to make sure they really are dry. When you are sure they are dry, spray them with a clear acrylic paint. Remember to spray both sides of the leaves. After the clear acrylic paint is dry I then paint them with metallic acrylic paint. I only use this way of preserving leaves if I love the shape but the color is disappointing. They make beautiful additions to cards and scrapbook pages.
There were so many Fall themed swaps this year that these beautiful leaves would have been perfect for. Unfortunately I just didn't have the time to jump into them. Alas, there is always next year. I hope that even though I didn't get the chance to use them that you might.