Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Waxing Leaves

I posted this last year (and the year before and the year before) because it was such a hit and I thought I'd remind you all again...

We did this every year when we were young and it was so much fun. It’s a simple tradition but one kids love. First you need to gather leaves…go on a nature walk, find the most beautiful, colorful, perfect leaves. OR just zip your mouth, let the kids pick up the ones they want, no matter what they look like...there is no better way to ruin a creative endeavor with your kids than by being bossy and controlling!

Pick some of this up at your grocery store in the canning section. It’s a couple dollars and one box should be enough.
Don’t forget to buy a disposal pan like this one…if you don’t you will have to use a good pan, and you will ruin it.
Melt the wax over low heat.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be careful…hot wax is HOT. Place it on a back burner and guard it with your life if your children are little.  I don't want to feel awful if you tell me one of your little ones got burned because of me and my cute autumn activity.

I have done this with kids as young as 2, but you have to be vigilant!
Have them hold the stem, dip the leave in melted wax and then set the leave on wax paper. Cover your counter with newspaper, then the wax paper, to make clean up easy, because it’s NO fun scraping wax drippings off counters.
Let each leaf cool completely…once they are totally cool they will lift off easily. If the wax starts to harden in the pan, just warm it up on the burner again.
You can put them in a big glass bowl, or tie them up with string to form a garland. They are beautiful and a perfectly simple (and almost free) autumn decoration.


Some tips:
Make sure the leaves are completely dry when you start. 
Lots of people asked me how long they last.  It really depends.  The way I hang these in the window in direct sunlight and over 2 heat ducts makes them last till I am ready to get up the Christmas decorations...around December 1. (They start to get curly and shrinky looking.)
If you keep them in a darker, cooler place I'd bet they'd last longer.

I hung my leaves from thread that I tied around each stem to create a garland.

If you drip wax on your floor or counters, a reader sent in this tip:
Just lay down a paper towel or newspaper on the wax spill and iron it (cotton setting). It even works on CARPET, yes really.  I have cleaned up some doozies with this method. I would not use this method on fine wood furniture, there are ice methods for that.


  1. How fun! My little girls would love this! I wonder if it would work to melt some old white candle bits that I have...


  2. I'm so glad you posted this! I was just telling my husband about waxing leaves this past weekend and thought, "where did I see how to do that??" The kids will be all over this one : )

  3. Do you actually put that disposable pan on your burner to melt the wax?

  4. Yes author...very low heat though.

  5. I have never waxed leaves. I have flattened them between paper towels and books, then sandwiched them between clear Contact paper. I have some I did 15 years ago, and they are still pretty!

  6. Your step by step instructions make it look so manageable -- even though I have a couple teens now, I think we need to go leaf hunting soon before the leaves are covered in snow (MN seems to have had an abrupt end to fall the past few days!) ~ Kat

  7. Sarah, you are just so cute. My daughter Alia reads your blog every single day, and it's cute to see how she's becoming like you in so many ways. Thanks for helping me to mother my daughter.


  8. That garland turned out so pretty - it's great to have a tradition each season.

  9. Its so funny you posted this again today, because I looked up your instructions and made my Garland this past weekend. I loved making this craft.

  10. ...now all i need are some leaves that do not come from a palm...

  11. My daughters and grown but still love this project ... only now it is in their own windows.

  12. Can you do this with a gas range?

  13. We are on year 3 or 4 of doing this activity, thanks to you. :-) My kids start asking to do this as soon as school starts. We just leave the wax in an old tin pie plate (disposable kind) and reuse it each year, adding a little as needed. It works wonderfully!

  14. Did this today with the kids. Thanks for a fun idea project for Fall Break!

  15. Love this one! We did it last year and it was wonderful. One of my children's therapists just asked me last week if we were going to do it again this fall...she thought it was so pretty. Definitely! :)