ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) - Bonnie Stevenson and Nancy Pike, members of the Rochester Flower & Garden Club, shared their process for imprinting leaves in concrete and making them into indoor or outdoor decorations. Here are their instructions:
Sturdy table covered with tough smooth plastic
25 lb Bag of Vinyl Cement Patch (available at a hardware store)
25 lb Bag of Sand (available at a hardware store)
Plastic bucket - 5 gal - for mixing cement (available at a hardware store)
Plastic bucket with lid - 5 gal - for storing damp sand
Jug of water
Large electric drill with mixing paddle attachment
Scissors to open cement bag
Face Mask (optional)
Harvest the leaves (with stems attached) that you want to use on the evening prior or day of your project. They can be as small or large as you wish, but try to use leaves with no holes or tears. Keep them hydrated in a bucket of water in the same way you would keep fresh flowers. Some of our favorites are Rhubarb, Hosta, Elephant Ear, Canna and Hydrangea.
Make mounds of sand, one for each leaf, on your plastic covered table. Shape the sand like the shape/size of the leaf, but smaller.
Mix your cement to the consistency of peanut butter: start out with 5 cups of water in your large bucket, and add most of the cement patch SLOWLY while your partner uses the drill with paddle to mix it all together. 25 pounds of cement patch added to 5-6 cups of water will make 6 or 7 medium size Rhubarb leaves.
Invert each leaf (stem side up!) over it's mound of sand, then be sure to remove the stem with scissors.
Pat the prepared cement onto the middle of the leaf, a little at a time, and press out toward the edge, leaving about 1/2" of leaf showing. Cement should be thickest down the middle of leaf and at the stem area, then about 1/4" thick at the edge (minimum).
After about 1/2 hour, check on your leaves and gently smooth out the rough spots
Let them dry for 24 hours to 48 hours
Remove cemented leaves from mounds of sand, and peel off each green leaf from the hardened concrete.
Wipe your sand piles back into your sand storage bucket.
Brush off your newly created garden leaves with a soft brush to remove sand and smooth off any rough edges.
Let them dry for another 24 hours.
Spray paint each leaf, front and back, with black or brown spray paint. We like Rust-oleum 2X gloss, but try others to to see what you like.
Let your leaves dry for a couple of hours minimum.
Using an assortment of Acrylic craft paints, let your creativeness shine! We use damp cellulose sponges to apply the paint to the fronts of the leaves, first one color, let dry a few minutes, then another color, etc etc, until you're happy with them.
Apply 2-3 coats of finish spray. We like Rust-oleum 2X gloss clear.
Your finished leaves will look lovely in your garden, but don't forget that they also make stunningly beautiful bookshelf or mantel decor. They're great gift items for weddings, birthdays and Christmas too!
Nancy Pike and Bonnie Stevenson have shared their email addresses for anyone interested in their leaves or additional information.