As Pinterest becomes more and more popular with each passing day, we’re exposed to new and wonderful ideas for Fall decorating. I love Fall colors, and always hate it when the beautiful leaves I pick up while going for a walk finally turn crisp and brown and fall to pieces.
But, behold! A wonderful lady, Nadja, came up with a great way to preserve the color: dipping them in wax! Martha Stewart had a page on her site about this as well, so there is lots of information out there about how to do this. I decided to try it myself, since I wanted to do a lot of Fall decorating.
So, here is my leaf experience–it turned out well, and in another post I’ll have pictures of what I did with the results.
- Wax (I just used an old three-wick candle that had “sprung a leak”)
- Double boiler or vegetable steamer, whatever gets the container the wax is in off of the direct heat
- Waxed paper
- Various colorful leaves with stems (your fingers will thank you)
- Coffee can, optional if you don’t want wax in your good saucepan
The coffee can I used was fairly small, so I cut my candle into chunks that would fit in the can. The can was set into the steamer basket which was placed inside a saucepan with water that was boiling over medium/low heat. It’s important that the wax melt slowly.
Since this was the first time I had tried waxing leaves, I was anxious to get started, so my wax wasn’t even totally melted before I began dipping!
Hold the leaf over the melted wax for a bit to allow the excess to drip off.
Lay them out on waxed paper to let them dry.
At first I had tried pressing them for a bit to make them flat, which is good if you want to hang them in a mobile or put them in a frame with a glass front. Since I wanted to use these in arrangements, I thought they would look more natural if left in the shape I had found them in.
My City Boy and I went for a walk on a beautiful Fall sunny day and strolled through a cemetary where some groundskeepers were working. There were small snippets of branches with leaves on them, and we picked several of them up and brought them home. I wanted to preserve them, too, so I tried my hand at dipping leaves while still on the branches.
Starting out, I dipped each leaf one at a time, which turned out well, but was not easy. Many times more than one leaf ends up getting in the wax at a time, and you end up having to try and hold them apart while they are dripping so they don’t get waxed together and dry that way.
Since dipping leaves one at a time proved rather labor-intensive, I began dipping whole sections of 3-6 leaves with good results. I was surprised they didn’t stick together like I thought they would, and just involved a nudge here and there to seperate them.
The branches were put on the waxed paper as shown in the first photograph at the top of this post, and they dried very nicely.
Here is the end result! They will be enjoyed far longer than they would have without the wax treatment.
Coming in a post soon I will have pictures of the arrangements I used these leaves in. There are so many ways you can use these! If you decide to wax some of your own Fall findings, let us know how it turned out for you!