Every year, it seems, we experiment with a different way of preserving leaves, trying to find the best method possible. This year, we dipped our leaves in beeswax. The method is pretty easy and can even be done with younger children, because beeswax melts at a relatively low temperature (though proper supervision is a must obviously).
Supplies you will need for this project are:
- Pouring pot
- Pot (preferably one that you are willing to keep just for beeswax projects, otherwise, you might have to scrape some melted beeswax off your pot)
- Parchment paper
- Old newspaper, scrap paper, rags, or something else to protect your work surface with
- The first step to preserving your leaves with beeswax is to protect your work surface. While melted beeswax isn’t very hot, so most likely won’t burn your work surface, it is annoying when it gets splattered all over your counter and you have to scrape it off.
- Next set out a piece of parchment paper to lay your leaves on as you dip them.
- Ideally you should grate your wax or cut it into to small pieces before trying to melt it, but I usually just drop my entire pound bar into my pouring pot and it works fine for me. Regardless of whether you chop up your wax or not, put the wax in your pouring pot.
- Start a pot of water on boiling on your stove on med-high (you’re not trying for a roiling boil, just a low boil). Put the pouring pot into the pot of water so that it makes a sort of double boiler. Make sure that the pouring pot can’t tip over or that the water won’t boil into the pouring pot. Boil the water until your wax melts, keeping an eye on it all the time. Beeswax melts at 144-147° F, but you don’t want to let it reach over 185° F, because it will discolor. (A thermometer might be helpful at this stage.)
- Once your wax is melted, you must move quickly. Move the pouring pot over to your work surface. Dip the leave into the wax until the entire leaf is in the wax, but you don’t need to dip the stem.
- Lift the leaf and allow some of the beeswax to run off.
- Set the leaf onto your parchment paper to cool.
- Move on to your next leaf.
- If at any point, you notice that too much wax is adhering to your leaves, this means your beeswax has cooled down too much and you need to heat it some more or else they will look like the leaf below when they dry.
Do you preserve leaves? If you do, what method do you use?