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Using glycerin, a variety of foliage types can be preserved for use in crafts, wreaths, arrangments and holiday decorations. Both evergreen and deciduous foliage can be preserved this way. However, when using deciduous foliage, cut the branches in late summer so the newest growth will be well established.

To make the preservative, mix one part of glycerin (available at drug stores with skin care items) with two parts water. Blend the two ingredients together well by putting them in a covered jar and shaking.

To preserve entire branches, such as stems of maple leaves, pour the glycerin mixture into a jar or vase. To prepare the foliage, remove any blemished leaves. Also remove any tender, new growth. Smash the very end of the stem with a hammer to allow it to absorb the glycerin better, and place the stems, smashed end down, in a jar of the solution.

To preserve individual leaves, such as the massive leaves of evergreen magnolias, pour the preserving solution into a pan. Submerse the leaves entirely.

Different types of foliage will absorb the mixture at different rates. A visual cue that they are completely preserved is a darkening of the leaf edges. Experimentation with different lengths of time and different varieties of branches is also helpful.

Preserved leaves can be glued to wreath forms, fashioned into swags and garland, or used with dried flowers in arrangements. They will hold up best in low humidity away from bright sunlight.