These leaves have been a potential experiment for awhile now.
They were inspired by about a thousand web pages and videos featuring concrete leaves.
They are made of papercrete and intended as part of the facade on my trash paper gazebo.
They're almost too easy to make.
I used magnolia leaves. Not only are they available down here this time of year, but they seemed a perfect size for this particular application.
A mound of damp sand serves as a sort of cushion for the leaves and containment system for the crete. Most instructions for making concrete leaves include placing sandwich wrap between the sand and the concrete so that the sand won't stick. It didn't seem necessary for my leaves. I'll just brush the sand off once the crete is fully cured.
Simply press the leaves face down in the damp sand (the backs of the leaves veiny and offer more detail than the fronts), then daub on the papercrete, pressing down firmly, covering the entire leaf.
I used a simple mixture of four parts cellulose insulation, one part Portland cement, and enough water to make a paste.
After three days the very light weight crete, though still delicate, had cured enough for me to peel away the leaves and reveal little fossil-like replicas. They'll have to cure awhile longer before I attempt to clean them up and attach them to the gazebo.