Preserve large oakbrush branch with leaves?


Trying to save hornet nest with 6 foot branch and display indoors. Worrying about insects in branch and saving leaves and colorful bark.


q preserve large oakbrush branch with leaves
  12 answers
  • I'm not sure about preserving the leaves, but you can probably use a spray sealer on the branches after the dry out. Here's a link on preserving the nest:

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Oct 15, 2021

    For the nest:

    But rather than control the hornets and risk ruining the nest, why not take it down and hang it up for display. I can attest; they are great conversation starters.

    The easiest method of collecting a nest is to wait until after the hornets have abandoned the nest in the fall (after the first hard freeze or by late October). Collect the nest as soon as possible because exposed, unprotected nests are subject to destruction by wildlife and weather. There may be few, if any hornets in a nest collected in late fall. If you feel the need to be extra-cautious, leave the nest in a garage or porch where it will be protected from the weather until mid-winter. Then bring the nest indoors for display. Leaving the nest in the garage also eliminates the slight risk that the carcasses of hornets and larvae that remain in a collected nest may produce a mild odor before they completely dry up.

    It is not necessary to treat the collected nest in any way. Varnish or preservative is not required. The nest will last almost indefinitely if it is suspended in a dry location where it will not be damaged by handling or vibration. Just hang it up, sit back, admire and enjoy!


    For the leaves, you could get any can of ordinary hairspray and spray them, preferably outside, shake the can for about 20 secconds before use. This will not guarantee them from dropping, only preserving them.

    For the oak branch:

    Wipe down the entire branch with a dry paper towel to remove all the dust and debris. Use a chip brush to apply a generous coat of stain. No need to wipe off the excess stain, leave it to soak into the wood for 24 hours. Finish the branch with 2 coats of polyurethane in satin to protect it and you're done!

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Oct 15, 2021

    I agree with Ann's reply I think a spray on sealer would probably do you good on the whole thing!

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 15, 2021

    The safest way to collect the nest is to wait until after a few hard frosts, but then get it before weather conditions destroy it. For an extra margin of safety, the nest might first be moved into a protected spot such as a garage or porch until the middle of winter.The only hornets left in the nest by that time would be in the form of eggs laid by the old queen. If any of them were to hatch, the resulting grubs would die quickly because there are no workers to feed them.

    If the spot where you plan to display the nest is dry, the nest will not need to be treated with anything to preserve it. It will keep almost indefinitely.

    As far as preserving the leaves this should help:

    How to Preserve Fall Leaves & Branches for Centerpieces For Free

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Oct 15, 2021

    Spray with clear drying sealer after drying and preserving. A friend of my husband once thought he had a dormant/empty hornet's nest and brought it inside. When the heat warmed it up, they had a swarm. So you want to make sure that is taken care of before bringing into your living area.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Oct 15, 2021

    you need to be sure hornets are out of the nest before bringing inside -

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Oct 16, 2021

    If it were my project I would consider using some artificial silk leaves of the very same nature and replacing them as you see now. The circle leaves could be even hand colored the precise hues that you favor. Attempting to keep the natural leaves the same color and not brittle could be quite a challenge.

  • Betsy Betsy on Oct 16, 2021

    Hi Brian: You may be able to spray the nest with hair spray to preserve it. Give it a good couple of thin coats, spaced out about 10 minutes. You can try doing the leaves, too, but I think they will come off. What you could try, with the leaves, is to remove them and then hot glue them back on and then spray them with hair spray, top and bottom. Make sure all of the wasps are gone, too. You may, before spraying, hang it over a barbecue grill with the smoke going up to the nest. Do this at night while the wasps, if any, are inside and all of your lights are out. They will come out and attack the fire. The smoke should do in any bugs that are wandering around inside, too. Then, you can spray things with the hair spray.

    Good luck

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Oct 18, 2021

    I would wait until the hornets nest leave

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Oct 20, 2021

    Go to Michael’s craft get spray varnish and spray it all over like one coat. Let it dry out good all the bugs will leave because of the smell and then hou could realy spray it good to save it.

  • Brian Brian on Oct 21, 2021

    Thank you all for your ideas! If I remember a year from now I'll let you know how it's holding up!

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Oct 31, 2021

    i would spray it with chemical and let all leave and then preserve to use at home