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How to Preserve Living Moss (Quick-Guide)

Moss Bench Handy Work
In this article, we’ll show you three different techniques on how to preserve moss, quickly!

Table of Contents

Lets jump right into it – Here, we’ll show you three different ways to preserve your locally harvested (or freshly bought) moss, quickly! For our full guide see our article on how to build a living moss wall.

For more inspiration on moss walls, check out our Inspiration Gallery and the “Moss-Wall” tag!

Important Pre-Reading:

  1. Pests or diseases inside moss: Although moss is not naturally harmful to humans, it is an organic matter and may attract insects or fungi (like mold) that could possibly be harmful to humans. Always make sure to clean and inspect any moss before using it for any art projects.
  2. Safety Precautions: Working with chemicals requires safety measures. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and eye protection. Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes, and keep chemicals away from children and pets.

Choose the Method of Preservation

There are various chemical preservation methods for moss, each with its own unique advantages:

1. Glycerin Preservation

Glycerin preservation is a popular method to maintain the softness and flexibility of moss for use in art projects or displays.

Materials Needed:

• Glycerin
• Water
• Container or bucket
• Moss specimens
• Knife or scissors for cutting the moss

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Glycerin Solution:
• Mix one part glycerin with two parts water in a container or bucket. For example, if you have 1 cup of glycerin, mix it with 2 cups of water.

2. Harvest and Clean Moss:
• Carefully select healthy and vibrant moss specimens, avoiding those with signs of decay or damage.
• Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut small sections of moss from areas with abundant growth.
• Gently clean the harvested moss by removing any debris or dirt.

3. Submerge the Moss in the Glycerin Solution:
• Place the cleaned moss into the glycerin solution, ensuring it is fully submerged.
• Allow the moss to soak in the solution for several days to several weeks, depending on the thickness of the moss. Thicker moss may require more time to absorb the glycerin.

4. Check for Complete Absorption:
• Periodically check the moss to see if it has absorbed enough glycerin. You will notice the moss becoming more flexible and pliable.

5. Remove the Preserved Moss:
• Once the moss has absorbed the glycerin solution, take it out of the container and gently pat it dry with a paper towel.

6. Use in Your Projects:
• The preserved moss is now ready to be used in your art projects, educational displays, or any other creative endeavors.

How-to-preserve-moss-1
How-to-preserve-moss-6

2. Formaldehyde Preservation

Formaldehyde preservation is a more complex method that requires caution due to the toxicity of formaldehyde. It is effective in preventing decay and inhibiting the growth of molds and bacteria.

Materials Needed:

• Formaldehyde solution (37-40% formaldehyde)
• Water
• Container with a lid
• Moss specimens
• Gloves and other appropriate PPE

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Formaldehyde Solution:
• Purchase 37-40% formaldehyde solution from a chemical supplier or store. Be cautious while handling formaldehyde, as it is hazardous.
• Dilute the formaldehyde solution with water to the desired concentration, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, a 10% formaldehyde solution is suitable for moss preservation.

2. Harvest and Clean Moss:
• Follow the same harvesting and cleaning steps as mentioned in the glycerin preservation method.

3. Submerge the Moss in the Formaldehyde Solution:
• Place the cleaned moss into the formaldehyde solution, ensuring it is fully submerged.
• Allow the moss to soak in the solution for a few days to a week, depending on the thickness of the moss.

4. Rinse the Preserved Moss:
• After the soaking period, remove the moss from the formaldehyde solution.
• Rinse the moss thoroughly under running water to remove any excess chemicals.

5. Air Dry the Moss:
• Spread the rinsed moss on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area to air dry completely. This may take a few days, depending on humidity levels.

6. Use in Your Projects:
• The formaldehyde-preserved moss is now ready to be used in your art projects, educational displays, or other creative endeavors.

3. Borax and Cornmeal Preservation

Borax and cornmeal preservation is a drying method that helps the moss retain its shape and color.

Materials Needed:

• Borax
• Cornmeal
• Container with a lid
• Moss specimens

Instructions:

1. Mix the Preservation Mixture:
• In a container with a lid, mix equal parts of borax and cornmeal to create the preservation mixture.

2. Place the Moss in the Mixture:
• Gently bury the cleaned moss in the preservation mixture, making sure it is fully covered.

3. Allow the Moss to Absorb the Mixture:
• Close the container with the lid and let the moss sit in the mixture for several weeks.
• The borax and cornmeal will gradually draw out moisture from the moss, preserving it in a dried state.

4. Remove the Preserved Moss:
• After the soaking period, remove the moss from the preservation mixture.
• Gently shake off any excess borax and cornmeal.

5. Use in Your Projects:
• The dried and preserved moss is now ready to be used in your art projects or displays.

Borax crystals in a glass bowl

To purchase pre-made moss frames, art or panels, check out the link below:

https://www.foresthomesstore.com/collections/plant-wall-art

Use the code “homely” on check-out to let us know our articles helped!


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