During the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese developed several methods to accelerate this process. [ref http://www.phantomleaves.com/page/page/4079421.htm ]
Today there are several methods listed on the web and I've tried them all with mixed results. There are so many variables involved with the types of leaves, and levels of freshness.
The instructable presented here is the result of a few trial and errors.
Step 1: The Ingredients
1/2 Cup Sodium Carbonate, aka Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Liquid Bleach for whitening (optional)
1 Metal Pan
Fresh leaves that have a waxy appearance similar to Magnolia leaves
Dried non waxy leaves.
Soft brush or toothbrush
One curious cat if you have one.
SAFETY - Please wear your gloves at all times as sodium carbonate has a pH of 11, meaning it will irritate your skin badly. Also read the Caution label on the Arm & Hammer product in case you splash it in your eyes or swallow it accidently.