Skeleton leaves are made by removing the leaf tissue from certain varieties of leaves without damaging the intricately laced veins. The skeleton leaves look beautiful and can be used in so many crafts like making greeting cards, drawing and with paper craft. There are many kinds of leaves which can be used for making skeleton leaves. Here I have used leaves from the Sacred Fig tree (Ficus religiosa). The tree is known as Sacred Fig in India as it is worshiped and grown in Hindu temples.
This instructable will guide you on how to make skeleton leaves in very simple steps without using any chemicals.
Step 1: Collect and Soak Matured Leaves
- Collect few matured leaves from the Sacred Fig tree. Do not use young tender leaves as the immature veins will get damaged during this process
- Place the leaves in a wide plastic bucket and add water to cover the leaves
- Take about 100 ml of curd and add to the water in the bucket
- Mix well and allow the leaves to soak in curd-mixed water.
Step 2: See the Bacteria Working on the Leaves
- The bacteria present in the curd will start working on the leaf tissue.
- In the first two pictures you can see the progress after two days of immersion in curd water
- The third picture shows the leaves after one week.
- After about ten days, you can see most of the leaf tissue has been eaten away and the veins are cleanly visible.
Step 3: Clean the Skeleton Leaves
- After about 15 days, you will find most of the leaf tissue has been eaten and the veins are cleanly visible. Still there are few tissue attached to the leaves.
- Using a soft brush, very gently brush away the remaining tissue from the leaves. Soak the leaves in water from time to time to wash away the brushed tissue. You can use an old tooth brush also for this.
- Place the skeleton leaf on a piece of paper. You can see that the leaf contains lot of tissue here and there
- Take care while handling the wet leaves. The portion near the stem is very weak. The skeleton leaf will tear away near the stem if you do not handle them properly. Please see the damaged leaf near the stem in the last picture
Step 4: Wash in Clean Water
- Wash the leaves once again in clean water and gently remove whatever tissue sticking to the leaf.
- Place the skeleton leaf on a piece of paper to dry
- You can store the dried skeleton leaves in between pages of books for a very long time.
- I have tried to sketch an outline on one of the skeleton leaf. Though I am not a good artist, it turned out well