Preserving Autumn: Beeswax Covered Leaves for the Nature Table

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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.

Preserving 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.

Use Caution

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.

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About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

Comments

  1. Every fall I say I want to do this and never get to it – this is the year! I love how beautiful the leaves look covered in wax. Here’s to enjoying the simple pleasures of autumn with our kiddos! :)

  2. Very nice idea! Fall leaves are one of my favorite things about the season, so I think I’ll try this!
    Amy Watson´s latest post: Postmarked 1984

  3. Could you let me know what the title of the book is in your nature table photo. Looks great.
    Thanks!

  4. What a coincidence…I’m planning on this for the afternoon! Do you know if Soy Wax works?

  5. Great idea, Kara–love it!
    Simple Homeschool – Jamie´s latest post: Tips for Creating a “Bad” Homeschool Day Routine

  6. Oh my goodness, I love this! I had seen an idea to coat leaves with Mod Podge, but this is even better as beeswax smells a thousand times better! I like to melt my beeswax in a crock pot though — I keep an extra one just for crafting :)

  7. Love this idea! Some of the silk fall leaves look so yucky. This is a great way to have a crunch-less leaf display!
    Paula@Simply Sandwich´s latest post: Ice- Ice Baby!!

  8. Would you look at those beautiful leaves!!! Wonderful… I am off to source beeswax… like where in the world would I find it round here!!! Thanks for the fabulous project!!! Have a fun week…
    se7en´s latest post: The Week That Was – 313

  9. What a great idea! I am definitely adding this to the fall activity book for myself and my anxious preschooler. Thanks so much for sharing & I agree, common sense is a must! ;)

  10. I’ve heard of dipping leaves in paraffin, but never tried it. I thought it would be fun to do an experiment comparing dipped and undipped leaves over time. Maybe this will be the month!
    Julia´s latest post: Versatility is a Good Thing

  11. Kara these are very pretty! Good project idea.

  12. So fun! I think M and I will have to do this – now we just have to try and find some autumn leaves!!! We have never had a nature table but I think we will start soon.

  13. Very nice idea.I love leaves so much and I want to do something to preserve fall ones
    Haley´s latest post: Lip plumper

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  2. [...] (Here I add a pinecone and leaves that I have dipped in beeswax, directions for leaves here) [...]

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