Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bookmark This For Next Fall: Waxed Leaves

I know, I know. The calendar says December 1st. So it should be all Christmas, all the time. Right? Well...the calendar also says there are 4 days until winter starts. That means 4 days left of fall. And so I give you, just a few more fall posts.
Save them for next year.

To start you off with a craft in hand for next fall, how about Waxed Leaves.
Have you made them before? I never have. The boys and I had a blast making them. Also, they turned out to be beautiful. I don't think you could ask for more in a craft.
Here's what we did.

First, scour the neighborhood for beautiful fall leaves
Second, lay them all out on a paper covered table top or other flat surface, like so.

Next, cover with another piece of paper and some books. Leave them overnight.

If you don't have any lying around your house, get some wax. I tried craft stores first, but when I called, the employees couldn't even understand what I was talking about. Our conversations sounded like this:
"What kind of wax?"
"Paraffin wax. Like for canning."
"You need a wax for cans?"
"NO. For canning. Like making jam."
"Umm. We don;t have wax for making jam. I think we might have wax for making candles."
I hung up.
And then I called my local mom and pop hardware store and asked the same question,
"Yep. We have it. In stock."
And that is why I like mom and pop stores better than big stores with moronic teenage employees.

But, back to the waxed leaves.

Melt your wax double boiler style. but be sure to use a pan that you don't care about getting all waxy. I also chose one that was wide enough to lay a big leaf in with plenty of room to spare.

Once your wax is melted, strap your 1 and a half year old into her high chair with snacks, and begin dipping leaves. (I didn't figure that out until my 1 and a half year old climbed onto the table with boiling hot wax and tried to dip leaves into it like her brothers were. Just trying to save you a few gray hairs)

I chose leaves with long stems for easy dipping. The boys could hold the stem and dip without touching the hot wax. These are all leaves from Liquid Amber trees.

If you leave the leaf in the wax for longer than a second or too, the wax coating is too thick and it doesn't look that pretty. But after a few tries, we learned how to do a quick swish and then they were perfectly lovely.

We let them dry on pieces of waxed paper. Then, we, well I, used embroidery thread to string them into a garland for our window. They made a perfect, simple decoration for Thanksgiving.

We also used the leaves as decoration for our Thanksgiving table. They were lovely there, too.
I wasn't sure how long the leaves would last after being waxed, but the leaves on my garland are now curling up. I stored the flat ones we put on the table in a ziplock bag and they seem fine. I don't know if they'll make it to next fall, though.

Two questions:

The boys were so into waxing the leaves that they want to wax other things. But I am drawing a complete blank. They want to wax something for Christmas decorations. Any ideas?

Also, I really wanted to let James string the leaves together for the garland, but I was afraid to let him use the needle. Should I have let him do it? It seems like this would be the perfect type of craft to start learning needle skills. I am determined to teach my boys to sew (maybe I'll learn too!) but for some reason, I wasn't ready to let him do this yet. When did you start letting your kids use a needle and thread? Or when will you?

All right friends, just a few more fall type posts and then, let the Christmas posting begin!


Jennifer said...

love these. they look beautiful hanging in the window.

Erin McDonald said...

I had a needle and thred at age 9 and LOVED IT!! but heck if you are there with him and teaching him the "right" way to use it then I say go for it!!! And those leaves looked perfect for the job training! Next time!
As for christmas decor to wax??? Clueless! I was thinking snowflaks but yeah that won't work! hee hee Good luck hope you find somthing grand! Love you!

Tammy Callis said...


Tammy Callis said...


Laura Younger said...

Kate would love this! Going to give it a try ASAP...:)

Naomi said...

Beautiful! I wonder if flowers would also work with wax. You can get paraffin wax at the grocery store. My mother-in-law gave me a family recipe for chocolate peanut butter balls and we got some then. She melts the chocolate and the wax together to make a glossy chocolate coating - and they eat it! I couldn't bring myself to eat it knowing there was wax in there, but I guess it's common practice to get that sheen?