How to Easily Preserve Fall Leaves With an Iron and Wax Paper

When I picked up my son after work about a week ago, my mother in law showed me what they had done that day: collected and waxed leaves! They were preserved and flat, perfect for decorating! She told me exactly how she did it and that they should last forever! I'm all about super easy crafts that involve my toddler son so I set out to do some myself :).
Last week we had a beautiful fall day of 72 degrees to add to our unseasonably warm fall here in Illinois. It was the perfect day to go to the park! Some playing at the park ensued and then some leaf and (of course) rock collecting. We got lucky since the leaves are just beginning to change we had a great variety to choose from! Normally by now all the leaves have changed and are dry, brown and brittle on the ground. When we got home I gathered my ingredients.

Wax Paper Leaf Supplies:


•Wax Paper

•Paper towels or thin towels


•Surface to iron on
I spread out the leaves on my ironing board and set my iron on medium.
I laid out a piece of paper towel and then a sheet of wax paper. I then placed a large leaf or multiple small leaves on top of the first sheet of wax paper.
Then I carefully pressed another sheet of wax paper.
Finally I gently placed another sheet of paper towel on top.
Then it was ironing time. I ironed each side for about 3-5 minutes. It seems like a lot and I was overwhelmed at first but I put several leaves on each sheet so I was done in no time. I suggest watching something interesting on TV to pass the time. I watched the Cubs lose the World Series. Such a sad, sad game for us Illinois folks who have been waiting 107, make that 108 years for the Cubs to win the World Series again :(.
After all that ironing I simply pulled the wax paper off to reveal a flat, waxy leaf. Some on the bare spots on the wax paper may stick together but it easily pulls apart.
I'm so excited to disperse these leaves throughout the house! A couple of the leaves curled slightly but I think that only adds to the look of real leaves décor.
Now get out there and gather some leaves before it's too late! To see the complete tutorial and more pictures of the finished product check out my blog :)
Thrifty Artsy Girl
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 7 questions
  • Diane Diane on Mar 14, 2021

    Is there a certain side to wax paper that you should use..? That is a great idea 💡

  • Oak14563099 Oak14563099 on Feb 03, 2022

    What temp was your iron set on?

  • Oli Lowney Oli Lowney on Aug 21, 2022

    Love the idea, but which side of the wax paper should I use?

Join the conversation
2 of 78 comments
  • Fol3062121 Fol3062121 on Sep 05, 2020

    We did this as children back in the 50’s ! Have continued to do this almost every year!

  • Linda Linda on Dec 04, 2020

    I planted a tree with my Dad some years ago. It’s now a full grown tree. My Dad recently passed & I collected a few fallen leaves & put them in my Bible to keep them flat. Now I know how to preserve them. Thank you.