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How to Make Leaf Skeletons

Leaf skeletons are beautifully elegant and intricate designs created by distilling a leaf down to its very essence. The art of creating leaf skeletons has been around for centuries, dating back to the Ming Dynasty period in China.

Step 1: Pick & prepare the leaves

  • Choose your leaves

  • Clean the leaves: gently rinse them in a bowl of water, and wipe any dirt or mud away with a soft cloth. If the dirt is stubborn, use an old toothbrush to (gently) scrape it away

Step 2: Make your leaf skeletons

  • Take a shallow dish (like a baking dish) and fill it with water. The dish should be ceramic or glass, not metal (I don't know why. Maybe it's to avoid rust or has something to do with the minerals or chemicals in metal?). Place the leaves in the dish (it's ok if they're on top of each other) and weigh them down with something heavy to ensure they stay covered with water.

  • Leave the water to sit for between three and four weeks. It will get murky, and start to smell really bad (like a vase when you've left cut flowers in it for too long).

  • Take one leaf out of the murky water, place it on a flat surface, and gently try to brush away the gunk and membrane from the leaf. Use an old toothbrush (softly), or a paintbrush if you're worried the toothbrush will break the leaf. If it's too tough, put the leaf back into the water and give it a few more days to soak.

  • Rinse the leaf in clean water. If necessary, continue brushing away any remaining pieces of the pulp while it's in the water. Once you're done, lay it on a paper towel to dry

Step 3: Press the leaves

  • Leave cleaned leaf skeletons in a warm, sheltered place to dry for approximately one hour.

  • Once you are sure the leaf is completely dry, place it between two paper towels and store it under a heavy book until you are ready to use it.

Step 5: Decorate (Optional)

Blessings of Love & Light,

Grandmother Flordemayo

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