Make Preserved Palm Leaf Bowls
One of the best parts of visiting our family is the creativity we all share between us when we’re together. On the island last week we did just that. With palm leaves! Palm trees are in abundance there, literally everywhere! Folks on the island preserve the leaves from these trees and use them for all kinds of things- as sculptural pieces in their home, to hold desk utensils, or to serve hor d’oeuvres at a party. I love the idea of bring natural elements like this into our homes, to enjoy up close.
One afternoon, my father-in-law and I went foraging for appropriately shaped palm leaves to preserve. The leaves in these pictures are all ones that have been trimmed or have fallen from the palm trees. Some have nicer shapes than others, but most of them can work once preserved.
If you ever find yourself near discarded palm leaves (this happens to me once a year if at all, but maybe you are luckier), here’s how we preserved them.
The bottom part of the leaf that attached it to the tree itself, sometimes call the “boot” is the ideal part to use for this project. That area can be perfectly shaped for vessels or bowls. But we managed to make some really beautiful ones just using discarded palm leaves that seemed to have just a bit of curl around the edges, and shaped to be able to hold something inside or sit on a table without wobbling.
I scrubbed the leaves, which are surprisingly sturdy and tough, with soap and warm water and set them out to dry overnight.
Once they were clean and dry, I coated them with an amber-colored shellac. Two coats on both sides were all they needed. I love the shine and amber shade that the shellac added.
The stems aren’t needed and could be cut off, but I liked the way they looked.
I left most of them at my inlaws, thinking they’ll put them to good use, but I picked two of them to take home. They withstood the trip home in my luggage perfectly!
For now, I have them both in the dining room holding some of our favorite collected shells and air plants.
Thank you all so much for the etsy orders last week! I am working on some fun new things for the shop, stay tuned!