Yes, ArtResin is the perfect way to preserve leaves.
In this how-to video, Joanne walks us through a fun (and functional) fall craft: napkin holders made out of embedded leaves in epoxy resin so that you can bring the beautiful fall colors to your Thanksgiving table.
Watch the video below:
How To Preserve Leaves In Resin
- coaster mold
- ArtResin epoxy resin
- a pair of nitrile gloves, a stir stick and spreader
- a measuring cup with easy to read measurement lines
- a heat gun or a handheld torch like our Artist's Torch
- an empty plastic tote or cardboard box with the flaps cut off to protect your piece while it dries
1. Prepare The Leaves
2. Prepare The Resin
Working in a well-ventilated area and wearing gloves, prepare the resin according to the label instructions. You'll have about 45 minutes of working time before the resin gets too thick to work with.
3. Pour The Resin
Pour a shallow base layer of resin into the coaster mold - use a heat gun or a very quick pass with a torch to eliminate any bubbles. Allow the resin to sit in the molds to thicken up for at least 20 minutes to prevent the leaf from sinking down to the bottom of the mold.
4. Place The Leaves In Resin
Place the leaf into the mold, using a toothpick to submerge it in the resin, including any tips that may want to stick out. Pour the second coat of resin over top to cover the leaf. Quickly pass a heat gun or torch over top to pop any bubbles. Look at the piece under a light and remove any stray bits of dust with a toothpick.
5. Cover your Resin Art
Cover your piece with a dust cover and let it sit for 24 hrs until it’s dry to the touch. After 24 hours, you can remove from the mold. The piece will be bendy at this point, but allow the pieces to fully cure, laying flat. Depending on the thickness of your coaster, a full cure may take from 3 days to a week or longer.
Do You Have To Dry Leaves Before Putting In Resin?
Yes, leaves need to be thoroughly dried before they are embedded in resin or they may rot.
How To Dry Leaves For Preserving In Resin
There are several ways to dry leaves before you resin. No matter which method you choose, ensure you leave plenty of space around each leaf so that they dry evenly. Don't use leaves that are bent, bruised or torn or the resin may bleed into the leaf at these points and cause dark, wet spots.
This is the easiest method but it can take week for leaves to dry completely. You may lose the leaf's color and the edges may curl.
Pressing in a book:
Simply place leaves in between paper or paper towel to absorb moisture and place in a heavy book for one to two weeks until thoroughly dry. This method works well to keep leaves flat, but the color can lose its vibrancy.
Using a microwave flower press:
Microwave presses are made of two wood, plastic or terracotta plates with cloth and wool pads in the center to absorb moisture. It takes literally minutes in a microwave and preserves color very well.
Using a dehydrator:
You can dehydrate leaves in a food dehydrator. This method takes only a couple of hours but may dull the color and cause the edges on thin leaves to curl.
Drying in silica gel:
Silica gel absorbs moisture and is great for drying leaves. This method takes up to a week - it preserves color beautifully and allows you to dry thicker leaves without flattening them. Silica gel can be found at most craft stores.
Do I Need To Seal My Leaves Before I Resin Them?
In most cases you don't need to seal your leaves before embedding them in ArtResin. There are some situations, however, when sealing first is a good idea:
- sealing over thin leaves which may absorb the resin and cause dark spots.
- sealing over loose pieces that may float away in the resin.
- sealing over leaves that may release trapped air and create bubbles.
Use a spray sealant that dries clear and is clearly marked as being non-yellowing. If in doubt, it never hurts to use a sealant first, but we always recommend doing a test first before you resin your final project.
Will Leaves Stay Green In Resin?
While it's impossible to keep leaves looking as colorful as the day you collected them, there are a few things you can do to help resined leaves preserve their color:
- dry your leaves with silica gel to remove moisture without compromising color.
- keep your resined piece out of direct sunlight - the UV rays can cause the color to fade.
- be aware that different types of leaves may preserve their color more than others - some leaves are more delicate and some colors may be more prone to fading.
Can You Put Fresh Flowers In Resin?
Yes, fresh flowers look beautiful embedded in resin. Much like leaves, some steps can be taken to help preserve a flower's color:
- some varieties of flowers are more delicate and prone to fading than others.
- the drying method can impact how saturated the color is before the piece is even resined - we recommend using silica gel to dry flowers to help preserve their color before embedding them in resin.
- exposure to UV light can cause color to fade so keep your resined piece out of direct sunlight.
- as always, test first to see if a sealant is required.
What do YOU love about fall?
The changing colors of the leaves?
Pumpkin Spice Everything?
Check out our massive FAQ for tips and techniques on working with epoxy resin.
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