I enjoy making origami models out of paper, but the idea of using more natural materials is also an appealing one. Tree leaves, being flat and foldable, seem to be an obvious choice, but the nature of the material is such that it never seems quite right for making models out of, in my experience so far.
- When fresh, the leaves are too moist: they either bend without forming a fold line and then immediately bend back, or they form a fold line which oozes liquid.
- After having been left to dry, the leaves are too brittle: they break in half when folded.
Is there a way of treating leaves, or a particular kind of tree to take them from, so that they fold easily?
They need to be able to fold without either breaking or springing back into place, and to be supple enough to perform the contortions that paper can in the process of making an origami model. I'm also only interested in tree leaves I can find locally (in a temperate climate, specifically northwestern Europe), so palm leaves are out.