How to turn a pot leaf into a memento that can withstand time

Published Jun 12, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / JackF

We’ve all taken in the view of a gorgeous cannabis plant and wished that we could make the moment last forever. Unlike most house plants, there is no way to keep a cannabis plant alive year after year, so each season we have to say goodbye, after months of hard work, when it comes time to harvest. It’s a bittersweet end that results in a surplus of buds that you can enjoy, but it’s still a little bit sad to destroy it all without a single thing to remember it by, especially when it comes to special breeds that have unique aesthetic features that are rare to see.

You could always snap a photo as a keepsake, but this idea is so much better, as it preserves the plant materials in a way that nicely displays the attributes using a pot leaf. Now, technically, you can use as many of the giant leaves as you wish. You could make a giant collage with various shapes and sizes, or focus all of your effort on a single prized piece. It’s entirely up to you with this homemade project, because you start with all of the bare basics and the tools that you need to design numerous works of art to put on display.

How to encase and frame a pot leaf

If you want to memorialize a special cannabis crop or specific plant, and you love DIY crafts, then this is a great set of steps that can be adjusted to incorporate other materials that aren’t listed here. The main take away from these directions for how to turn a pot leaf into a homemade memento lie in the preservation of the plant materials, as pretty much everything else can be changed, taken away, or be replaced.

You will need:

  • 1 Pot leaf (or several)
  • 1 Heavy book (encyclopedias work great for this)
  • Lacquer
  • Paintbrush
  • Photo frame (a suitable size to hold the pot leaf)
  • Background of choice
  • Superglue
  • Paint
  • Stickers, glitter, or other decorations


  1. Most DIY crafts are fast, but this one requires a drying time to allow some of the excess moisture to leave the pot leaf. This helps to preserve the plant materials, but if you leave it too long, you’ll come back to a crackling, damaged, an unappealing leaf, so make sure not to let it sit for too long. To dry out your leaf (or leaves), you’ll need to place each one well-spaced between the pages of a large book for between 24 and 48 hours depending on how fresh it may be. Once it’s ready, it should be completely flat and dry to the touch, but it shouldn’t be close to cracking.

  • The next step is to retrieve your cured pot leaf to encase it in several layers of a sealant like lacquer, but be aware that some brands are corrosive, so you’ll need to check to make sure that the one you choose isn’t, otherwise, you’ll risk damaging your pot leaf which would mean starting over. To do this, you’ll need a paintbrush and a clean surface. Lay the leaf flat and use the sealant to entirely coat one side of the leaf, and then let it sit for long enough to dry.

  • Once the first side is dry, flip it over and start to work on the other side with an equally thick coating of lacquer. Leave the pot leaf to dry, and repeat step 2 until you are satisfied with the look and thickness of your casing. Though you can do this as many times as you like, we highly recommend at least 3, just to be sure that your precious leaf is well protected.

  • Once the pot leaf is ready, the rest can come together pretty quickly. Start with the background and ensure that it’s trimmed down to a size that fits well with the chosen frame.

  • Next, you’ll need to glue the pot leaf, and any other decorations that you’d like to include into place on the background. This is also an excellent time to add a few splashes of paint or a few flowers as accent pieces. Get creative and make it shine.

  • When you have all of the pieces glued into place, the background is going to be a bit heavy, so it’s a good idea to let the glue harden before placing the whole thing into the frame and then putting it up on display.

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