Preserve magnolia leaves by soaking leaves attached to punctured branches in a mixture of water and glycerin for six weeks. Soaking the magnolia branches with the leaves intact is the most commonly used preservation technique.
- Find magnolia branches that have unblemished leaves still attached
Carefully select and cut small magnolia branches that have leaves that are free from damage that's often brought about by weather and pests. It's also important to choose a branch with leaves that have not been worn by frost.
- Puncture the edge of each branch
Slightly smash the end of each branch with a hammer or another heavy tool to open it and allow easy permeation of glycerin.
- Prepare the water-and-glycerin solution
Fill a deep container with a half-gallon of water. Ideally, the pH level of the water should be between 3 and 4. Add 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of glycerin to the water. Although not necessary, adding 4 to 5 drops of surfactant can help the branches to absorb the glycerin easily.
- Soak the magnolia branches
Soak the branches in the container of the water-and-glycerin solution. Allow the leaves to absorb the glycerin for a period of three to six weeks away from direct sunlight.