Preserved Gardens

Make Your Own Skeleton Leaves

Project Index

Dying Pressed Flowers
Press Your Flowers
Kid's Nature Projects
Wax Paper Pressing
Flower Projects
Floral Luminary
Greeting Cards
Flower Magnets
Secret Compartment Book
Marbleing Paper
Make Sticker Glue


Here's How and Why

A skeleton leaf is a "bare bones" leaf in which you have removed the fleshy leaf part leaving only the skeletal remains; a delicate lace-work of veins. Skeleton leaves are nice with pressed flowers and many other craft projects.

This project would be an educational and fun home-schooling lesson.

You can make your own skeleton leaves easily, and there are a couple of advantages in doing so. First, the price is right; it costs next to nothing to make your own skeleton leaf, you can choose from a variety of leaves, and finally, they look better. 

Making Skeleton Leaves:

  • Select strong leaves which have strongly-defined veins. Only use leaves with  these include: magnolia, holly, rubber tree, oak and maple. If you need a very large leaf, Hosta is great. The sturdier the leaf, the better your results will be. Play around, others work too.

  • Place selected green leaves in a pot with 1 tsp washing soda (also know as sodium carbonate and sold in pool supply stores), or baking soda and cover with a quart of water.

  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Stir gently from time to time. Once leaves have softened to a pulp rinse in clean water and gently scrape the pulp away, then use a  semi-firm paint brush or soft toothbrush to remove any remaining pulp.

  • Either place your skeletons in your press or layer them between non-textured paper towels to dry.

  • When complete, you can color or bleach the leaves if desired, or use them as is. To color just dip the skeleton leaf in food coloring, floral dye, or another coloring material, like spray paint.


    Prickly Pear Cactus Skeleton


  • Washing soda is caustic (alkaline pH of 11). If you have sensitive skin use proper protection when handling, such as wearing latex gloves.

  • Let kids do this only with adult supervision. This makes a great science project, so be prepared to help them and ensure that they are wearing gloves when handling baking soda.

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