Waxing Autumn Leaves

finished-waxed-autumn-leavesYes, 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?

what-you-need-to-wax-autumn-leaves

How to make waxed leaves

You need: fresh leaves, beeswax, ovenproof container, greaseproof paper and pegs (optional)

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, on a tray, at about 175 °c or 350 °f. Needless to say, melted wax is very hot, so please take care when working with it.

waxing-autumn-leaf
3. Holding the stalk, in one smooth movement sweep the leaf in the melted wax. You can use a clothes peg on the stalk, to keep little fingers even further away from the 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.

waxed-leaf-dripping(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.

clutch-of-waxed-leaves

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.

stourhead-houseYesterday, 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.

leaf-collecting-at-stourheadThere 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.

sweet-chestnut-in-handThe greenhouse was a great place to warm up. How I wish I had a greenhouse like this one.

greenhouse-at-stourheadToday 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.

waxed-leaf-assistantIt 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.

how-to-wax-autumn-fall-leaves

(edited: I’ve added another waxed leaf project here.)

Country Kids

34 thoughts on “Waxing Autumn Leaves

  • Monday 24 October, 2016 at 7:39 pm
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    Really interesting, I’ve never seen this done before. We have a copper beech tree next door and the leaves float into our garden, maybe I’ll have a go.
    Briony
    x

    • Monday 24 October, 2016 at 8:25 pm
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      We did a few copper beech ones this year. They took the wax easily. I hope they last as the colour is so beautiful. Hope you give it a go. It is fun.

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  • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 3:27 am
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    Oh wow, waxed leaves look great. The difference between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ is impressive. I found your post really interesting because we collected a range of leaves last week, going from green to yellow to red to brown and I was hoping to preserve them with the children or make an autumn scrapbook. So far, I’ve just tried to dry them between the pages of an exercise book. Would candle wax work?

    • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 9:00 am
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      Any candle wax should work. If it is coloured wax then it will add a touch of the colour to the leaves, which may compete with the colours you are trying to preserve, although that may add an interesting effect in its own right. I’ve only ever waxed fresh leaves. So long as the pressed leaves are not too fragile, I think they would survive the process. Worth a try.

  • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 3:44 am
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    I’ve never seen this method of waxing leaves. We tried doing it with waxed paper when I was little, but I don’t remember it working so well. Maybe we’ll have to try this way! #CountryKids

    • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 9:10 am
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      I’ve been wondering about that process. Presumably the hot iron transfers the wax from the paper onto the leaf. I might give it a go to compare the results. 🙂

  • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 7:19 am
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    Ah this looks like a great autumn activity. We’ve never waxed leaves, despite collecting them regularly at this time of year, so you’ve certainly given us some inspiration. Stourhead looks lovely too. We’re NT members but have never been here so it’s now firmly on our ‘to do’ list.
    David – Potty Adventures
    #countrykids

    • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 9:18 am
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      Stourhead is amazing. We went to the house and kitchen garden only this visit. The main gardens are beautiful at this time of year. Brimming with autumn colour.

  • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 10:02 am
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    This looks like a lot of fun and I love the ideas… great inspiration. Thank you so much.

    Coming over from #CountryKids x

    • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 9:04 pm
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      It was a lovely morning.

  • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 3:12 pm
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    What a fab idea, I’d never thought of preserving leaves before I might have to try this here on the farm at some point although I’d have to do all the waxing to make sure nobody got their fingers burnt. Hunting for leaves toddlers her love taking part in and it’s fab to see your lot all taking part too! I bet you can’t want to get back out and search for more leaves to save until next year.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids

    • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 9:21 pm
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      They have a lovely feel after they are waxed, which I’m sure the younger ones will like. Totally agree that you should do the hot wax part. It is very hot and clings. Yes, I’m on the look out for the perfect leaf!

    • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 9:02 pm
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      I’ve kept the tray of wax ready for anymore interesting leaves I find.

  • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 7:57 pm
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    I just picked up a bunch of leaves and may give this a try. My kids are a bit too little to help, but they would enjoy the end result.

    • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 10:05 pm
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      Always nice to have a few crafts that are yours. Children have too much fun. It is our turn 😉

  • Saturday 29 October, 2016 at 11:15 pm
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    We have been collecting leaves and chestnuts this week too! I never knew waxing leaves was a thing, the effect is amazing. We simply coat our leaves in PVA glue and it seems to do the trick, but I love the idea of waxed leaves! #CountryKids

    • Monday 31 October, 2016 at 1:57 pm
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      I’ve not heard of using PVA glue either. Must experiment. 🙂

  • Sunday 30 October, 2016 at 1:03 pm
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    What a great idea. I’ve never thought of waxing leaves before. We went on a hunt for different coloured leaves the other day in the hope I could find some of my favourite red ones but we were unlucky. It just gives us an excuse to go out again!

    #countrykids

    • Monday 31 October, 2016 at 1:59 pm
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      Absolutely. It’s not as if they don’t exist. Now maybe purple with green spots……. 🙂 Hope you find the red ones next time.

  • Sunday 30 October, 2016 at 11:00 pm
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    Love the idea. We have a huge pile of autumn leaves we’ve been meaning to do something crafty with so might have to give it a try x

    • Monday 31 October, 2016 at 2:10 pm
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      Leaves are great for crafting with. Hope you have fun using them.

  • Monday 31 October, 2016 at 12:34 am
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    Wow this is a really interesting idea! I think I should try it sometime. I’ve collected loads of leaves and planned to use them as decorations for a few days until they dry out, but waxing them and maybe making something out of them sounds like a fun idea! #countrykids

    • Monday 31 October, 2016 at 2:14 pm
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      Leaves are wonderful to craft with. I’m sure you will come up with something fabulous to make with them.

  • Monday 31 October, 2016 at 12:59 pm
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    I’ve never thought of waxing them before – such a good idea. I have left them to sock in glycerin and that also perseveres them and keeps them forever soft. Perfect autumn craft for little ones – thanks for sharing 🙂
    Just popping over from #CountryKids

    Laura x

  • Tuesday 1 November, 2016 at 1:04 pm
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    Oh wow what a fab idea! I would never have thought of waxing them! We have been collecting lots of leaves and now I know what to do with them! hehe #CountryKids

    • Wednesday 2 November, 2016 at 3:58 pm
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      Have fun!

  • Wednesday 2 November, 2016 at 8:55 pm
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    I love this idea – we’ve been collecting some beautiful leaves this year and it is a shame that they dry out and fade so quickly. Will have to give this a go to try and preserve some of them. Looks like you had a lovely day out at Stourhead collecting leaves too 🙂 #countrykids

    • Thursday 3 November, 2016 at 11:00 am
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      Leaves are so beautiful. The colours and shapes. It is very tempting to collect up the best to bring home. You are not alone! 🙂

  • Friday 4 November, 2016 at 2:02 am
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    Oh wow! What a super lovely idea. I never heard this before, I would really love to try doing this. Thank you for sharing. #countrykids

    • Friday 4 November, 2016 at 10:43 pm
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      Hope you have fun waxing leaves.

  • Tuesday 17 November, 2020 at 4:20 am
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    I’ve been meaning to try this some time but haven’t got around to it yet, and I was thinking it might be difficult. But it seems totally doable, now that I’ve read your post, thank you! x #MMBC

    • Tuesday 17 November, 2020 at 2:34 pm
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      You’ve made my day. I’m glad I could make it look easy. Enjoy waxing your leaves. (Taking the appropriate safety measures, of course)

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