How to Make Waxed Leaves for Thanksgiving Decorating

Dip fresh, colorful autumn leaves into hot wax to preserve their beauty for Thanksgiving decor. Wax-dipped leaves are an inexpensive decoration for holiday budgets. Place the preserved leaves in a big glass vase in the family room, scatter on a covered foyer table, use on napkin rings, or place in a basket in guest rooms.

Don’t place waxed botanicals directly on an unprotected surface: The wax may damage the surface. Also, be careful not to place waxed botanicals in direct sunlight or near a heat source, because the heat may cause the wax to melt.

To wax leaves for your holiday display, you need the following items:

  • Empty metal coffee can

  • Large pan

  • One pound of wax (beeswax or paraffin ¯ available at craft stores)

  • Bowl

  • Empty cereal box

  • Wax paper

  • Knife (for cutting wax and flower stems)

  • Cutting board

  • Kitchen tongs

Melted wax is extremely flammable, so be very careful when working with it. Practice all safety precautions, including having a fire extinguisher nearby.

After you collect the materials, follow these instructions:

  1. Cut the wax into 1/2-inch squares and place them into a clean, metal coffee can.

  2. Place the can in a pan of cold water and slowly bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, and melt the wax completely.

  3. While the wax is melting, prepare for the waxing process by collecting a bowl of cold tap water, laying out a sheet of wax paper, and punching holes, about three inches apart, in the side of a cereal box for drying the freshly waxed flowers.

  4. Dip the leaves one at a time. Shake the excess wax off, and then immediately dip the leaf into the bowl of cold water.

  5. Place the leaves flat on the sheet of wax paper and allow them to dry.

To make your waxed botanicals even more special, try using the following designer tips:

  • Experiment with both paraffin and beeswax. Beeswax gives off a wonderful aroma and a beautiful golden color, but paraffin gives you a cleaner, more transparent look, and allows more of the colors to show through (plus, it’s less expensive).

  • Scent the wax by adding a few drops of essential oil in your favorite scent. (You may want to try cinnamon, vanilla, or spice.) If you use beeswax, you’ll especially love the way the fragrances mix.

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