The following post was written by editor Kara Fleck.
This week on Simple Kids we’re talking about nature tables and collections. As we enjoy this Autumn season, the nature table at our house is reflecting the changes taking place outdoors.
The kids and I have been adding in some of our favorite decorations as well as some finds from our walks outside. Currently in our nature display we have: felt mushrooms, rocks and gemstones (including an Indiana pudding stone), seed pods, acorns, walnuts, a needle felted pumpkin, and leaves.
I love having leaves as a part of our Autumn display, but I will admit it can get a little messy as they dry out and become brittle and crumbly. This year, however, I think I have come across a solution: preserving the leaves in beeswax.
I found instructions on Martha Stewart’s website and purchased some beeswax from an Etsy seller. Then, over the weekend, the kids and I gathered some leaves from our trees and pressed them for a few hours beneath a stack of heavy books.
Once the leaves were flat, they were ready for dipping in the beeswax.
While normally my kids are great helpers, this time I chose to have them observe only. I did the beeswax melting and dipping myself as the beeswax was pretty hot and I was worried the dripping wax might cause a burn. If you choose to do this at home, be cautious and use common sense.
I used a double boiler to melt the beeswax and dipped the leaves one at a time, giving each a coating of beeswax. I dipped each leaf twice.
Martha Stewart’s instructions say to use clothespins to hang the leaves on a line, but it worked out fine for us to dry them by holding them by the stem to air dry for about 30 seconds before laying them across a wire rack to dry the rest of the way.
Display and Explore
This won’t make the leaves totally indestructible, of course, but it should help them hold up a little better over the course of the season as they grace our nature table and are handled by curious young hands.
I’d love to see what is on your nature tables this season! Please feel free to share your links in the comments or share pictures with our Simple Kids flickr group.
On Wednesday, Simple Kids contributor Amy Anderson will be sharing some of the creative ways her family stores and displays nature collections.