Can I just say how lovely it is to spend Autumn down here in the part of the world that I grew up? Don’t get me wrong, fall is beautiful up north where we spent the last six or seven years. It’s just that it happens too fast, is over far too soon, and to my eye, it always seemed a little two-toned in comparison with the vast array of colour here on the coast.
A perk of homeschooling is picking our themes so I chose Autumn/fall for a week. We loved it so much, it carried over to a second week (especially since dentists appointments and dance classes and teething babies interfered with my planning and we didn’t get to do some of the fun crafts I had planned).
So when I finally got a moment, I pulled out the beeswax and we dipped some leaves to hang up around the house. Honestly, I’m so impressed with the outcome. When I saw it was a Martha Stewart project, I was a little concerned. While it may seem to some that I’m “Super Mom”, I’m really just the type of person to make a lot out of a little and I have an eye for photography so things look way better than they are in person sometimes. But not only was this so simple that my five-year-old did most of it, the leaves are stunning and the texture is fantastic.
For those who twitch at the mere mention of Martha Stewart, I’ll save you the horror of clicking over to find out how to preserve your own leaves (with some of my own feedback on the process):
Materials and Supplies
- Beeswax - I bought a pound a little while ago at Michael’s because I had found a recipe for making lip gloss that I had wanted to try. I never actually got around to making the lip gloss, but I still have plenty left over after this project. You probably don’t need much wax, depending on how many leaves you want to do; I’ve still got more than 3/4 lb left after two dozen leaves or so.
- Leaves – you can’t do this without leaves! The more colourful, the better. Don’t be afraid about how dry they are, because you may still be able to use them. I was able to take some dried and curled leaves, coat them in the melted beeswax and flatten them out a little bit before the wax cooled.
- Double Boiler – or a heat-resistant bowl and a normal pot (simply fill the pot with water and put the wax in the heat-resistant bowl on top).
- Clothes pins – for use in the drying and later hanging process.
- Monofilament – ok, don’t let this one scare you. I gather Ms. Stewart thinks it’s more attractive to have your leaves hanging invisibly. I couldn’t care less. I had some hemp laying around that I had died orange with Kool-Aid once upon a time. It works.
- Melt the wax in your double boiler, or microwave safe bowl over pot of water. (I set the element to medium heat and the wax melted fairly quickly after the water was boiling.)
- Dip your leaves in until coated, allow the excess wax to drip off, then hang to cool. It doesn’t take long for the wax to cool and set, so if your leaves are crinkled and rolling when you’d rather they were flat, be quick about making adjustments. Older leaves are probably best left wrinkled and curled as they may still break, even after their wax bath.
- Hang, string, attach your leaves wherever, however you like.
End result? Beautiful leaves in your home. You can simply string them up as bunting or a garland, or, if you’re really ambitious, you could turn your project into a wreath.