I'd like to start us off today with a poem.
Moss is soft
Moss is green
Moss is where the wormies scream
when you on them step
I'm not sure how much screaming they actually do when you step on them considering they don't make a sound when you accidentally cut them in half with a shovel, but poems are meant to evoke emotions more than truth. Like political campaign commercials.
So moss. That's what we're dealing with here today on The Art of Doing Stuff. I've been preserving moss for about 8 years now.
You've probably all either seen or bought Reindeer Moss (which is actually a lichen). It's a soft, fluffy moss used as filler in planters and flower arrangements. It's usually died a lime green colour. Nice, but not completely natural. Like my hair.
Preserved reindeer moss is also very expensive. Like my hair. So when we went up to the cottage a 8 or so years ago and I saw reindeer moss growing all over the cottage property I figured I'd grab some and figure out how to preserve it once I got home.
Turns out it wasn't very hard, but finding reliable instructions to do it was. Therefore, because I like to share all that is good, easy and crafty in this world I have for you today 2 easy ways to preserve any moss.
I've used this technique with both Reindeer moss (which we have established is indeed actually a lichen) and regular button moss.
The first method I'm going to show you is the one I can absolutely guarantee works. I used this particular technique 8 years ago to preserve some Reindeer moss and some button moss and both types are still as soft and pliable as the day I picked them.
You'll need Glycerin and Methyl Hydrate (or Denatured Alcohol).
Glycerin is available on the shelf in drugstores ($5.99)
Methyl Hydrate (or Denatured Alcohol) is available in hardware stores (can't remember how much ... but it's cheap)
Pick the twigs and leaves out of your moss and send the party goers home.
Mix together 2 parts Glycerin with one part Methyl Hydrate.
Stir it up with your tongue. Just joking. Please don't do that.
Place your moss in the bowl and leave it for 10 minutes or so to absorb the mixture. If only half of the moss is being covered just flip it after 5 minutes.
After the 10 minutes are up, remove the moss, squeeze out the excess mixture and then transfer the moss to another container to drain. Once it's drained, place on a paper towel for more drainage.
Repeat this process keeping new moss in the mixture and draining the already soaked moss.
The moss may feel like it's going a little bit crunchy at first. That's just the methyl hydrate removing the moisture from the moss. Don't worry. It'll turn soft again. Don't fiddle with it and crunch it up. Just leave it.
Leave your moss on towels (paper or otherwise) to dry for the next couple of days. Once you can feel it's soft and pliable but not wet, put it in bags or plastic containers until you want to use it. It will stay soft and pliable forever now.
The second technique which I tried and worked (but can't guarantee it will keep moss soft for years) is slightly different.
For this method of preserving moss you need Glycerin and hot water.
One part glycerin, 2 parts HOT water.
Mix together the Glycerin and hot water. The point of using hot water is it will help the moss more easily absorb the glycerin.
Put a batch of moss into the mixture and leave it for an hour (or until the mixture has completely cooled)
You may need to weigh the moss down to ensure it's completely covered by the hot water/glycerin solution. Just put another bowl over the moss and weigh it down with a brick.
If you don't have a brick, just use whatever you have handy.
To repeat this process with another batch of moss you have to reheat your water and glycerin solution. I dumped mine into an old tupperware container and just heated it up in the microwave. You could also reheat it over the stove.
The second technique using only hot water and glycerin has kept the moss soft for a few days now, but I have no idea if it will hold up as well as the glycerin/methyl hydrate solution over time. For now, so far so good.
Like I said, this technique will work with any moss.
You're soft and squishy
With this solution
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Hello! I noticed that my moss smells very strongly of the glycerin once it has dried out. Is there anyway to combat this strong scent or am I doing something wrong?
Hi Jess. For some reason it always has a smell. I wouldn't have described it as glycerin, but more like mossy/dirty smell that's enhanced by the fact the glycerin is keeping it hydrated. So you aren't doing anything wrong, it's just the smell. ~ karen!