Yes, those are waxed leaves. Leaves covered in wax to preserve them.
I’ll admit. Any craft that involves beeswax is probably a winner with me. The fragrance and smoothness. Add in nature finds and you have the makings for a lovely morning of crafting.
The wax helps to preserve the leaf by sealing it in. It keeps the colour, and prevents it drying out and disintegrating. Perfect if you want to use them in wreaths or as table settings, where they need to keep their appearance for a while.
Alternatively you can sandwich your leaves between sticky back plastic and cut around the shape of the leaf. They tend to be flatter, but there is no hot wax involved.
Want to know how to wax leaves?
How to make waxed leaves
You need: fresh leaves, beeswax, ovenproof container and greaseproof paper.
1. First collect interesting leaves. Different colours and shapes. With stalks. That is important. Pat dry in a tea towel or kitchen paper towel.
2. Melt the wax in your container. I pop it in the oven for 2 minutes at about 175 °c or 350 °f. Needless to say, melted wax is very hot, so please take care when working with it.
3. Holding the stalk, in one smooth movement sweep the leaf in the melted wax.
4. Repeat for the other side of the leaf.
5. If it is not totally covered, repeat. I use a wooden peg to push the leaf into the wax briefly.
6. Hold the leaf above the container, to allow excess wax to drip off the leaf. I give it a small shake to prevent the wax pooling on the leaf.
(whoops! a different leaf pictured. The wax does not change a red leaf into a yellow one. I just missed the dripping red leaf.)
7. Place the leaf on the greaseproof paper to set. Wrong side of the leaf down. Allow your leaf to set on the paper. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.
And that is it. You now have a waxed leaf. Ready to use in another crafting project. Repeat for all your leaves. As soon as the wax is showing signs of setting in the container, then melt it again, before waxing another leaf.
If you are the sort of person who likes to collect the dripped candle wax and scrap off the candle drips from the table, you’ll love this craft. If you are careful, any cooled pools of wax on the leaves can be eased off. Any wax on the greaseproof can be peeled off and put back in the container, for remelting. Nothing is wasted.
Treated carefully, I have kept waxed leaves for a few years. They are delicate, but if you store them in a cool place, in a rigid container, they can be brought out every autumn. Alternatively, they can be added to firestarters when they grow too tatty. Nothing is wasted.
This is not a craft for every age. I’ve heard about people letting toddlers take part, but I kept this craft to myself until my children were older. If they can fry onions, then they are ready to wax leaves, in my book!
Now, collecting leaves is good for any age.
Yesterday, we went to Stourhead and collected our leaves. We’re making good use of our National Trust membership this year. The children loved the paintings in the house and were really struck by how friendly everyone was in the house. They spotted lots of mini pumpkins dotted around the house as part of the autumn trail.
The sun shining and the turning leaves had brought everyone out to visit. It was incredibly busy.
There were still quieter areas, where we collected leaves and a handful of sweet chestnuts. Generally admired all the different, beautiful colours that leaves can turn.
The greenhouse was a great place to warm up. How I wish I had a greenhouse like this one.
Today it is raining. Waxing our leaves seems a fun inside craft. I left the leaves in the kitchen over night. I should have left them somewhere cooler, as they started to dry out and curl up at the edges. I do quite like the effect now they are waxed.
It was good to spend time crafting with my daughter. We have plans to add this to an autumn wreath for the door. Hopefully I’ll post up the result of that project later in the week.
(wet felted snails)
There are some tasks that seem destined to constant interruption. Forever work in progresses. As soon as all the tools are assembled, and work on the verge to commence, a voice pipes up and my priorities are changed in a moment. A different task beckons. Sigh. I know I’m not alone.
All week, I’ve been trying to clear a
weed flower bed to plant a few new plants. All week. Finally Sunday, I woke early, before the rest of the household, and dug.
Among the plants are a pair of delphiniums that the slugs and snails had munched through while they waited in their pots to be planted. I brought them inside and they have recovered. Bunches of new leaves, although I’m not sure they will produce flowers.
(poached egg plant)
Poor plants. They are going to need extra defences in their new location. I’ve liberally sprinkled egg shells around, to deter the slugs and snails. Without wishing to tempt fate, this method usually works well in our garden.
So far, so good. I’ve not spotted any snails or the tell-tale signs of their sneaky visits. Admittedly, I did relocate a fair few snails to one of our wild areas in the garden, as I cleared the area of weeds.
Fortunately these particular snails are 100% harmless. The children recently made them by wet felting and needle-felting merino fleece. They used the technique of making long thin rods of felt (details here) and also had a go at needle-felting. They decided wet felting has the best technique when it comes to snail making.
The felted snails are back up above our inglenook, among the felted leaves and crocheted daisies. While I’m left to keep a beady eye on my delphiniums. I have a plan B, a plan C and a plan D. I hope I’m not pushed into resorting to Plan D.
After our visit to Bishop’s Palace, last week, we were really keen to try our hand at some willow craft. Being realistic, we decided to start small, rather than attempting a willow dog or elephant.
Or a willow peacock, for that matter. (not ours)
Instead we chose an unloved area of the garden, for a bit of a make over.
This is just outside the back door. Ignored, as everyone goes straight ahead, up the steps. The bumblee bees and toads make homes between the stones, as it’s quiet.
Our willow tree sent up masses of whips this year, after last years pollarding. Plenty of natural material from our own back garden. We thought we would weave a willow fence.
The children worked as a team. Doing most of the work. Moving stone and weeds. Cutting and preparing the willow for weaving.
Once the bumble bees have gone, we’ll do the rest of the area. Maybe. For the moment, this is fine.
This is an experiment. It may root, it may not. Either way it doesn’t matter and we will have learnt something. At the moment, it’s helping to protect freshly planted herbs and make this corner a little more cared for. Maybe it will grow into a shelter. Time will tell.
As we were enjoying our backgarden crafting so much, we couldn’t resist adding our own willow art/sculptures.
Twisting and turning. Weaving and making. A dragonfly, a butterfly and a fish. Now hanging on the wall by the willow bed.