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Fall leaves come in a variety of beautiful colors, from bright golds and vivid reds to pale yellows and oranges. Drying leaves in the microwave is a very quick and easy way to preserve leaves for use in craft projects or fall decorations. You can also use leaves that are still green for spring and summer projects. How long the leaves will take to microwave depends on the size of the leaves and how moist they are (and on your microwave), but most leaves only need a very short amount of time. Be careful not to microwave the leaves too long.
Dry Leaves in the Microwave
Pick leaves off a tree or pick them up from the ground. Make sure to use good quality leaves that are not crumpled or torn. You can leave the stems attached to the leaves if you wish, but make sure to remove the leaves from any twigs or woody stems.
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Place one large leaf (such as a maple leaf) or a few small leaves (such as birch leaves) on a paper towel. It's best to microwave each size or variety separately, since some types of leaves will take longer to dry than others.
Place the paper towel with the leaf or leaves on it in the microwave. Put another paper towel over the leaves.
Microwave the leaves for 30 seconds, using a medium or low power setting if available. It's better to microwave the leaves for a short amount of time and then re-microwave them if needed rather than microwave them for too long.
Remove the leaves from the microwave, and check to see if they're dry. If not, put the leaves back in the microwave and re-cover them with the paper towel. Microwave them for about 10 seconds longer and check them again.
Leaves that are fairly large work best in the microwave, since very small, crisp leaves will dry too quickly. Maple leaves are a perfect choice.
After you’ve microwaved the leaves, store them flat on a paper towel or in a plastic zip bag until you’re ready to use them.
If you want the leaves for a kids’ craft project, the kids can help choose and microwave the leaves. Make sure to supervise use of the microwave.
Do not microwave the leaves too long because they can catch on fire.