Preserving Fall Leaves with Beeswax
Fall is such a beautiful time of year in this region. The hills and mountains are ablaze with color. The honey crop is harvested and extra beeswax is on hand. One of the most beautiful beeswax uses is preserving leaves with beeswax to keep the color around for a little bit longer.
One intriguing way to preserve your Fall leaves is by using beeswax. Beeswax is a natural product that is made by honey bees.
Beeswax has a low melting point. This makes it easy to use for so many craft projects. And, anything created with beeswax seems to have a magical quality.
Enjoy late Fall into the Christmas season with this fun beeswax craft. With proper supervision, you can even get the kids involved.
Creating Your Fall Beeswax Leaves
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.
Collect Colorful Leaves
The first step is to choose some colorful fall leaves. You may use all colors and combinations of colors.
Red, yellow, orange and many vibrant colors will be on display in a diverse forest. Try to vary the type of leaf too.
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 pot of wax.
Local Leaf Collections are Best
When collecting my leaves, I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon walk through my woods. The trees were ablaze with color. I saw so many beautiful leaves that choosing was difficult.
As part of an educational project, children can identify the tree that each leaf represents.
Moisture Content of Leaves to be Preserved
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 !
You can purchase beeswax from a local beekeeper or find it in a local craft store. My Etsy Store usually has a small amount of premium raw beeswax available.
Beeswax can easily be melted. However, caution should be used. Beeswax is flammable and can catch fire if heated too much. The flash point is temps around 400 ° F.
Use a candy thermometer to maintain a safe temperature.! Don’t be afraid of the beeswax, but give it the respect it deserves.
The safest way to melt beeswax is in a container (that you don’t plan to use for anything else).
Place your chosen melting pot into another container with water. This double-boiler method will reduce the danger of over-heating.
Melting beeswax in a crock pot is possible (but it takes longer). And of course, your crock pot will not be dedicated to melting wax only.
Some crafters use a deep fryer pot. The fryer works great but is very dangerous without continuous supervision. Be safe.
Continuous supervision and using the lowest temperature setting possible. This tips is extremely important.
If using a fryer, always triple check your temperature setting. When want is just warm enough to melt the wax. Around 180 degrees seems to do well.
You can make your own melter or purchase one online.
Dipping Your Leaves in The Beeswax
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.
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 degrees it will darken and become less appealing. For most projects a beeswax temperature of around 170° (or less) is best.
We 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.
Take each one of the leaves and dip them quickly in the melted beeswax. When you pull the leaf out shake it firmly for a few seconds, allowing the excess wax to drip back into the pot.
Lay the leaf flat on a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil. 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 whiten as it cools.
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.