Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to create skeleton leaves

My next "rescue" furniture project requires skeleton leaves. They can be bought in Michaels and other craft stores but there is no challenge and creation in buying stuff:-). If you dont know how they look, here they are:
So what we need for creating this beautiful leaves:
1) leaves
2) old phone book or other old book
3) baking/washing soda
4) green tea (leaves)
5) old tooth brush
6) knife
There are two ways to skeletonize leaves. 
First way. Fastest one
Step 1. Go to park, it's beautiful outside now. Collect leaves. Green/yellow/brown...If leaves are green put them to the book and leave them there for couple weeks. If they are dry - they are ready to use. I
Step 2. Prepare cup of hot strong green tea. No sugar. 
Step 3. Put leaves in tea for couple minutes.
Step 4. Now you need pan and green tea. Prepare strong green tea in the pan.
Step 5. Add baking or washing soda to green tea. 2-3 big spoon to half a liter of tea.
Step 5. Add baking or washing soda to green tea. 2-3 big spoon to half a liter of tea. Boil leaves until the leave's "meet" became soft and start separating from  skeletosn. For each type of leaf it will be each own time. Usually 20-30 minutes, oak and maple leaves should be boiled more than hour. You can boil leaves using microwave.
Step 7. Now you should dry your cooked leaves. Put them into the oven or microwave and let them completely dry
Step 8. Your leaves now looks really ugly. It should be so. Don't worry:)
Step 7. Back to green tea:) Make another cup of tea. For all steps tea should be really hot.
Step 8. Using tooth brush start to remove all  leaf "meat"
Step 9. You should be really careful and patient. Leaves are really fragile so probably you will brake couple. 

Step 10. When you decide that you got skeleton leaf - take a iron, put you leaf on the white paper, cover it with another layer of white paper and press it.
Step 11. If you want color leaves before ironing put your leave into food colouring.
It was the first and fastest way to skeletonize leaves. 
Second way.
Put dry leaves into the water and leave them there for a week or two. After some times the leaf meat starts to separate from skeleton. Then you should wash leaves with water.
"+" - time and water do all your job.
"-" - you should wait for a long time
"-" - the water is really stinking. 
After couple years of practice and tons of wasted leaves you probably will be able to create something like leaf on picture below. I am just kidding:)
Good luck!
Sources for the first and last picture: