Stephie McCarthy
Stephie McCarthy
  • Hometalker
  • Harpers Ferry, WV

How I Preserve Leaves With Furniture Wax

7 Materials
$5
6 Hours
Easy

This is something new and so easy! I taught myself to preserve leaves in furniture wax. The wax is already liquid, clear, and non-toxic. No irons, crockpots, pans, or glue necessary. You can easily hot-glue these leaves to dried flower stalks to use in arrangements, or gild them, like I do.

Most methods are complicated. This is easy!
Most methods are complicated. This is easy!

These preserved leaves will last indefinitely, without the heavy layering that happens with other methods. I used a liquid furniture wax that is widely available in craft departments: Waverly Inspirations Wax Clear

Simple! Start with a clear liquid wax.
Simple! Start with a clear liquid wax.

It's as easy as this. Polish the leaf with the clear liquid wax using a bit of cotton and a gentle touch. Do both sides and let the leaf dry for a few hours. I waxed these on a large sheet of wrapping paper to protect my table.

Just a few of this season's Autumn leaves.
Just a few of this season's Autumn leaves.

Here's how I prepare the leaves: I press my leaves for a few days between papertowels with a weight on top. This removes a lot of the water in advance. I dry them until they are papery, but still pliable. Many leaves are already dry when you find them on the ground!

Looking for Autumn leaves.
Looking for Autumn leaves.

I look for pretty leaves every where! Surprisingly, ordinary parking lots are great places to find them. Parking lots often have lovely tree specimens. Don't forget shrubs like heavenly-bamboo (Nandina) which turn such amazing, durable shades. I carry a small notebook in my purse for pressing them until I get home.

how i preserve leaves with furniture wax

Here are some of my preserved heavenly-bamboo leaves tucked into a lace curtain where the light will shine through. Beauty that will last.

Embellish leaves before waxing.
Embellish leaves before waxing.

I also sometimes frost pressed leaves with metallic paint applied with a cotton swab. I love metallic 24K Gold by DecoArt Paint for its brilliance. Lots of metallic colors would look marvelous, but do this before applying wax and allow a few hours to dry.

A little gilding before waxing is fun.
A little gilding before waxing is fun.

These will be sweet waxed and used in my decorating.

I wear gloves, though this wax is non-toxic.
I wear gloves, though this wax is non-toxic.

Here's another view of the liquid wax and how I apply it with a cotton ball to larger pressed leaves.

Easy does it, dried leaves are fragile.
Easy does it, dried leaves are fragile.

For smaller leaves, I use a cotton swab to apply the wax.

Replace dried leaves with waxed leaves.
Replace dried leaves with waxed leaves.

The wax dries in a few hours and are ready to use in decorating. I chose to attach some of mine to a dried flower stalk collected from a meadow. I removed the dried leaves and glued on new waxed leaves.

A few drops of hot glue.
A few drops of hot glue.

The waxed leaves will still be pliable but well-preserved under a thin coat of dry wax. Use just a few drops of hot-glue to attach them to dried flower stalks.

Just a touch of gold on these waxed leaves.
Just a touch of gold on these waxed leaves.

I've left the dried flowers on these stalks, but replaced the old leaves with new, gilded and waxed red leaves.

A lovely mix with pink roses.
A lovely mix with pink roses.

Mixing and matching with all natural materials.

Waxed leaves close up.
Waxed leaves close up.

In nature, Autumn leaves tend to "weep" a bit on the branches. They curve toward the ground as they weather. These waxed leaves are pliable, so they may curve a bit naturally, just like natural leaves.

Place your creation along side fresh flowers.
Place your creation along side fresh flowers.

Flowers may fade, but these leaves will last for many arrangements to come! Think of me, the next time you see beautiful Autumn leaves you would love to save.

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Stephie McCarthy

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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2 comments
  • Mary Coakley
    on Nov 18, 2018

    These are gorgeous my house is full of leaves in particular autumn leaves especially Acres now I have an idea for mine thanks for sharing

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on Nov 18, 2018

      I'm so glad you're going to try this, Mary. We've just gone through a snow storm, but there are still lots of colorful leaves here and I'm looking forward to doing some more. It's really easy!

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