We have a beautiful Virginia Creeper that grows up the side of our house, and in fall, it's leaves turn a stunning Crimson. Although lovely, it really is a rampant grower, and every couple of years Hubby asserts his authority over it. It was on one of those occasions that the kids and I decided to see if we could decoupage with it's leaves and preserve their beauty.
Step 1: What We Did
The kids and I collected some of the smaller leaves up. On close inspection, we discovered that the leaves don't lie flat, but had a bit of a curl to them which would make them difficult to stick flat. We addressed this by sandwiching them between newspaper and leaving them under a pile of books overnight, which flattened them nicely.
We decoupaged onto a Kraft notepad. Before we started, we painted a layer of slightly watered-down PVA glue (white school glue) to the blank cover and let it dry. Traditional decoupage is the art of decorating with cut out pieces of paper. The finished artwork is then covered with many layers of varnish, giving a beautiful glossy effect. There are many different decoupage paper and glue products on the market, but for our crafting adventures, we have always had great results with scraps of paper we already have around the house, and plain old PVA glue.
Working a patch at a time, we applied a generous layer of the glue which had been thinned with a little water, applied our leaf, and immediately coated the top surface again with glue.
We continued working like this until we had covered the whole cover of the notepad. We then put it to one side to dry.
Once the glue was completely dry we painted over another layer of glue. Our finished notepad has had two extra coats of glue on it, and the surface feels nice and robust.
The finish on the leaves is almost leathery once the glue has completely dried and preserved the leaves so well that the notebook looked much the same some months later. Over time the leaves darkened a little, and the notebook is still in use almost two years later.