Useful Tips

How to Dry Herbarium Leaves


Autumn always gives us a lot of natural material for the embodiment of a wide variety of creative ideas. Leaves of all kinds and colors can become the basis for creating a herbarium, panels with dried flowers or various paintings. To preserve the gifts of nature in their original form, you need to be able to properly dry the leaves. If you observe all the subtleties of this process, then they will not lose their bright colors and shape.

How to collect leaves for drying

You can collect both fallen leaves and one that has not yet completed its growth. A sharp knife or scissors is useful for this. The collection is made on a dry sunny day, after the dew.

Collected wet leaves after drying may become brown spots. This rule does not apply to the collection of mosses and lichens. They should be collected just after the rain.

When collecting fallen leaves, be sure to pay attention to the following points:

  • leaves must be fresh, recently fallen from a tree,
  • the leaf should be flat, not curled from old age,
  • in appearance the plant should be clean, without damage and traces of rot,
  • petioles of leaves should be fresh and not twisted.

After collection, you must immediately proceed to drying.

Natural way of drying

If the collected foliage will be used to make garlands and other crafts involving a three-dimensional appearance of the plant, then it can be dried on a sheet of paper. To do this, the leaves are laid out in one layer on parchment, and left in a dry, dark place. After a few days, the leaves will begin to dry and curl, taking on elegant forms. With this drying method, the color of the foliage will change. It will become dull and faded, but this situation can be easily corrected with a spray can with shiny paint.

Drying plants in a book is the easiest and most familiar way. To do this, the leaves are placed between the pages of the book, not lapped. The book is closed, and a load is placed on top of it. To protect the surface of the pages from moisture released by the leaves, additional sheets of perforated paper or paper towels are inserted between them.

Under the press

This method is considered professional, as it involves the use of a special device - a press for drying plants. The use of this equipment allows you to maximize the preservation of the plant structure, its shape and texture.

A plant press is a rather expensive pleasure, so you can look for alternatives to dry the leaves at home. For example, a press made of books and sheets of paper is suitable. Plants are laid out in one layer on a sheet of parchment, and on top they cover with another sheet. For these purposes you can use ordinary old newspapers. Now you need to put a load on the workpiece, for example, books.

Plants will dry under such a press for 2 to 3 weeks.

With iron

This can be said an express method. It allows you to dry leaves in record time, while maintaining their natural color.

The collected leaves are laid out on paper, trying to arrange them so that they do not touch each other. Cover with another layer of paper on top and begin to iron the plants on medium power iron. The drying procedure lasts only a few minutes. It is very important to turn off the steamer function before ironing!

The disadvantage of this method is that the leaves dried with an iron become thin and brittle, which does not allow them to be stored for a long time.

Galina Bee in her video will talk about how to dry leaves instantly

To keep the herbarium as long as possible, the foliage can be “sealed” in wax. For this method, in addition to the iron, you also need waxed paper. In order not to stain the wax board, first lay a sheet of plain paper. Then a waxed sheet is laid on it, and already plants that need to be dried are already on it. From above, the sequence of layers is preserved: waxed paper is laid on the foliage, and ordinary paper on it. Instead of sheets of paper, you can use a soft cloth that also conducts heat well.

To iron this "sandwich" you need at maximum power for 3 to 5 minutes. In order for the wax to stick to the plant evenly, the structure must be turned over and ironed on both sides. After the wax paper sticks tightly together with honey, the iron can be turned off. The cooled sheets of paper are carefully cut along the contour of the plant, leaving a few millimeters from the edge. Then the paper is removed, and the dried sheet is laminated in a thin layer of wax.

Marina Khvaleva in her video will talk about how to properly prepare dried flowers and dry herbarium in different ways

How to store dried leaves

The herbarium leaf storage room should be dark and dry. In this case, the storage temperature does not matter. The air in apartments in the winter is often overdried, which can adversely affect the collected material, so a glazed balcony or loggia can be a great place to store.

The best storage containers are spacious cardboard boxes that do not allow billets to break and protect them from sunlight.