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How to Preserve Leaves with Beeswax

Fall is such a beautiful time of year. In many regions, the hills and mountains are ablaze with color. The honey crop is harvested and beekeepers often have extra beeswax on hand. Learning how to preserve leaves with beeswax is one of the most beautiful ways to keep the color around for a little bit longer.

image of autumn leaves to preserve

Preserving Fall Leaves with Beeswax

Beeswax is a natural wax product that is made by honey bees. You can purchase beeswax online or perhaps buy some from a local beekeeper. My Etsy Store usually has a small amount of premium raw beeswax available.

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A wonderful substance for crafting, beeswax has a low melting point. This makes beeswax easy to use for so many craft projects.

And, anything created with beeswax seems to have a magical quality. It just smells so good!

Enjoy late Fall into the Christmas season with this fun beeswax craft. With proper supervision, you can even get the kids involved.

image of autumn leaves coated with beeswax -how to preserve leaves with beeswax

When collecting my leaves, I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon walk through my woods.  The trees are ablaze with color.  I see so many beautiful leaves that choosing is difficult.

This project can be part of an educational project. Children can identify the tree that each leaf represents.

How Beeswax Preserves Leaves

Fall leaves are so beautiful on the tree and when they first fall to the ground. But after a few weeks and some rain, they begin to mold or dry up to a drab brown.

By coating leaves in beeswax we can increase their value as a part of our home decorating plan.  Your Fall display will last weeks longer because the beeswax seals in a small amount of leaf moisture. 

This is the same reason that it is so popular in things like: beeswax lip balm or beeswax lotion bars. Holding in moisture is what it does.

Selecting Collect Colorful Fall Leaves

The first step is to choose some colorful fall leaves.  You may use any color and combinations of colors.  

Red, yellow, orange and many vibrant colors will be on display in a diverse forest. It’s okay to include a few greenish ones for contrast. Try to vary the type of leaf too. A combination of leaf shapes adds interest to your display.

Various shaped Autumn leaves image.

Large single leaves look nice but choose some with small compound parts. You may preserve leaves in beeswax that are any size.

But, you must remember that you will be dipping them in a vat of melted beeswax. The larger leaves will require a larger (or deeper) pot of wax!

Select Pliable Leaves for Wax Crafting

When selecting leaves for preserving with beeswax, choose ones that are colorful and pliable.  You want most of the green color to be gone but the leaves should not be too dry.

If the leaf crumbles easily in your hand, it is too dry to use. Leaves that fold gently without cracking are at the best stage for this project.

Another tip, choose leaves that will lay flat naturally.   Some plants have more recurve in their leaf structure than others. Once your leaves have been chosen, you can turn your attention to the beeswax.

Melting the Beeswax with Care 

One of the things that makes beeswax so craft friendly is the low melting point. However, caution should be used when melting beeswax or any other craft waxes. 

Beeswax is flammable and can catch fire if over-heated. The flash point temp is around 400 ° F.  Never leave melting wax unattended.

Use a candy thermometer to maintain a safe temperature! Don’t be afraid of the beeswax, but give it the respect it deserves.

Melt beeswax in a pot you plan to use for crafting and you don’t plan to use for anything else. Cleaning beeswax out of a pot can be done but I do not recommend it.

The safest way to melt beeswax is the double-boiler method. This is where you put a smaller pot containing the wax inside a larger pot with water. This reduces the danger of overheating your wax as the heat is more uniform.

Melting beeswax in a crock pot is a good option -but it does take longer.  And of course, your crock pot will not be suitable for anything other than melting wax afterwards.

Other Wax Melting Methods

Some crafters use a deep fryer pot. The fryer works great but is very dangerous without continuous supervision. Be safe and use the lowest temperature setting possible.

If using a fryer, always triple check your temperature setting. When want is just warm enough to melt the wax. Around 160° F seems to do well. Do not rush the process – its dangerous and may ruin your wax.

How to Dip Leaves in Beeswax

Supplies Needed:

  • colorful leaves
  • beeswax
  • string
  • parchment paper
  • thermometer
  • double boiler

Time needed: 30 minutes.

Instructions for preserving leaves in beeswax

  1. Melting beeswax and preparing leaves

    Tie a small piece of string to the leaf stem for ease of dipping.  This is especially true when coating  leaves in beeswax with children as participants. Otherwise, carefully dipping the leaves and coating most of the stem will serve the purpose.

    Take each one of the leaves and dip them quickly in the melted beeswax.  When you pull the leaf out hold it firmly and give it a few shakes – allowing any excess wax to drip back into the pot.  

    Dipping yellow leaf in melted beeswax image.

  2. Hold for a few seconds and let cool

    Lay the dipped leaf flat on a piece of wax paper, aluminum foil, parchment paper.  It should cool for several minutes ( 5 min).

    Now gently pick up the leaf and repeat the dip and shake process.   Place your finished leaf out flat once again to cool. 

    A cloudy coating of beeswax will be visible on the surface of the leaves. Don’t worry.  If you performed the dip process correctly, the wax will become clear as it cools.

    Popular leaf preserved in beeswax coating image.

Extra Tips for Dipping Leaves in Beeswax

  • Do not over heat your beeswax.  Beeswax melts at a temperature of about 144° – 147 °.  It is not necessary to heat your beeswax to a high temperature.
  • When beeswax reaches a temperature of around 180° F it will darken and become less appealing. 
  • You want the wax to be completely melted but at its lowest temperature.  If it begins so skim over on the top, it is not quite warm enough.

How to Use Your Beeswax Preserved Fall Leaves

After a few hours of drying time, you will have a selection of sturdy, colorful fall leaves to use for decorations.  This is a great lesson of sustainability for children.

A voice from the past when home decorations were made from natural materials that were readily available from nature.

Beeswax coated leaves can be part of a Fall table display. Or brighten up any window by hanging your leaves with string or yarn.

Now while you have that melted beeswax handy – learn how to make these DIY Herbal Beeswax Sachets and you will have a beautiful sweet smelling display.

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