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All Things Garden,  Natural Health

How to Make a Fall Beeswax Leaf Garland 

Come learn how to create a natural fall garland using wax-dipped leaves! It’s a fun, easy and sustainable autumn craft project that the whole family can enjoy (with supervision during the hot wax part of course). Wax leaf garlands can be hung anywhere, though they look especially beautiful strung across a sunny window, fireplace mantle, stairwell banister or even a porch railing. 

Making beeswax leaf garlands is a fantastic way to celebrate the changing seasons and bring a little piece of the great outdoors inside to enjoy. Especially here on the Central Coast of California where the seasons don’t change very dramatically, our colorful leaf garlands bring me so much joy. They really enhance the fall vibes! This also gave us the perfect excuse to get outside and visit our local park to forage for the most beautiful leaves.



A birds eye view of the ingredients needed to make a beeswax leaf garland. Many colorful leaves are scattered throughout the area, a few sheets of parchment paper, a wooden bowl full of beeswax pastilles, a white bowl of small wooden clothespins, and a roll of twine.


Supplies Needed


  • Leaves. The more bright and colorful, the better! Don’t be afraid to mix various shapes and sizes.
  • Beeswax (or vegan wax alternative). The amount needed depends on your dipping pot and how many leaves you have. You’ll want at least ¼ to ½” of wax in the bottom of the pan after melting. About ½ cup to 1 cup of beeswax pastilles should be plenty. You can always melt more! 
  • A double boiler* See notes below.
  • Parchment paper or wax paper
  • Jute twine, string, or other similar material to hang the leaves from. A string of twinkle lights can create a beautiful wax leaf garland too!
  • Optional: Petite clothespins or clips to connect the leaves to the garland. I love using them because it makes it SO easy to attach and adjust the leaves, plus the pins themselves are really cute! But if your string is fine enough, you can also tie it directly around the leaf stems.


A close up image of a roll of twine, small wooden clothespins, and waxed leaves to make a beeswax leaf garland.



Double Boiler Notes


It’s best to heat beeswax via a double boiler rather than in a single pan directly on the stove because beeswax is highly flammable. It can smoke and actually catch fire if it gets too hot, much like grease! To create your own double boiler, choose a smaller pot, pan, or glass bowl that can rest on top or or partially nestle inside the lower pot of boiling water (but not fit completely inside, you don’t want it resting on the bottom of the lower pot). 

Since it can be a bit messy to clean up, some folks use an old or dedicated pan for beeswax. We don’t find that necessary though! For easy clean-up, simply re-heat the pot of beeswax, pour off any leftover wax to save for another project, wipe out the pot or pan with a paper towel, then wash well with soap and hot water (use the hot water from the double boiler!). 


Two pots nestled inside each other to create a double boiler. The top pot has beeswax pastilles inside, ready to be melted.
I created a double boiler by nesting a smaller pot inside a slightly larger one.


Tips for success


It’s really simple and straightforward to make a beeswax leaf garland. Cliff notes: dip leaves in wax and hang. Lol! But here are a few tips that will make things even easier and create the most beautiful, long-lasting beeswax leaf garland possible:


  • Use fallen, flat leaves. For the best results, collect leaves that have naturally fallen off the tree already. They’ll usually contain less moisture than those plucked fresh from the tree and preserve better in wax. Collect fairly flat leaves rather than ones that are already beginning to curl, and avoid leaves that are crispy and dry. 

  • Press the collected leaves in a book for 24 to 48 hours before you make your beeswax leaf garland (but not much longer or they’ll start to lose color). Flattened leaves are far easier to dip in wax, will dry more flat, and the coating of wax will be more even. Try to keep the stems laying fairly straight and away from the leaf while pressing. Add weight on top of the book as needed.

  • Keep the wax warm, but not piping hot. Super-hot wax can wilt or “cook” the leaves, so after melting, remove the hot wax from the heat and let it sit for a couple minutes to cool just slightly. But use it before it gets too cool! As the wax cools, it will start to re-solidify and dry more thick and chunky (less clear) on the leaves. If you’re dipping a lot of leaves, you may need to reheat the wax once or twice while you work. 

  • Dip the stems too! Dipping the leaf stems in wax helps to fully seal the leaves, better preserve their color, and make the wax leaf garland last longer. 


A large book is open with four different leaves positioned on one page, each one has space around it from the others as to not overlap. Around the book lay many more leaves that have been flattened.
Press the leaves in a book for a day or two before waxing


Instructions to Make a Wax Leaf Garland


  1. Add beeswax to the top portion of a double boiler, and with water in the lower pot, heat it on the stovetop over medium-high heat until the beeswax melts completely. Remove the wax from the heat, but keep the water in the double boiler in case you need to reheat it.

  2. One at a time, dip the pressed leaves in the melted beeswax. Work quickly, but be sure the wax coats all parts of the leaf. Tip: Also dip a good portion of the stem in wax now too. It will be easier to go back and dip just the remaining tip of the stem later.

  3. Hold the leaf above the pot and give it a gentle wiggle to let excess wax drip off. Then lay out the wax-dipped leaf flat on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Sometimes little chunks of wax will collect where the leaf is touching the parchment paper, so it may be best to lay the leaves face-side-up to hide those imperfections on the back. 


A leaf is being dipped into the double boiler of melted beeswax. A few waxed leaves, fresh leaves, and a roll of twine are surrounding the double boiler.
Leaves of shades of yellow and red are arranged on parchment paper after having been dipped in wax. The will be used for a beeswax leaf garland.


  1. Once all the leaves have been dipped and are dry, go back and dip the remaining exposed portion of stem in wax as well. Avoid re-dipping the leaf though, or the extra wax layer will show.
  1. After all the waxed leaves are dry (they dry fast!), clip or tie them to twine to create a garland. It’s usually easiest to hang the twine where you want it first and then attach the leaves. Cluster the leaves close together for an extra lush leaf garland, or hang them more sparsely for a simple, dainty look.


Beeswax leaf garlands look even more amazing when backlit, such as strung in a sunny window or pinned in front of twinkle lights. Light really makes the colors pop! If you don’t want to use tacks or nails, try these small suction window hooks.


An orange and white cat lies on a cat perch that is attached to a window sill. The cat is looking upwards, towards a garland that is hanging along the upper portion of the window.
Quincy says “Thanks for making my window look purrrdy, Mom!” See his favorite sturdy window perch here.
A beeswax leaf garland hangs across a window. Twine and small wooden clothespins are used to attach the leaves to the twin by their stems. Beyond to the outside, there is a copse of oak trees.
A fireplace with a leaf garland hanging on the mantle has a large mirror centered above it. Below the fireplace there are a variety of different pumpkins assorted around, some stacked atop each other. To the left and the right of the fireplace there are two alcoves that have windows and contain many houseplants arranged in the area.
Pumpkins + beeswax leaf garland + beeswax candles = the perfect fall vibe.
A close up image of a beeswax leaf garland hanging below the mantle of a fireplace. Fairy string lights have been strung directly behind the garland, illuminating the leaves from behind. There are a few small pumpkins of the mantel as well as a candle that is lit.
I think the waxed leaves look so pretty strung on twinkle lights along our mantle.


How long do waxed leaves last?


Wax-dipped leaves should last (retain color) for several weeks, perhaps up to a couple of months. That said, we like to do this project close to Halloween and then enjoy the colorful wax leaf garland through Thanksgiving. If I make more than I hang, I save the extra waxed leaves in a dark place as back-up so I can swap out any that fade faster than the others. Once we’re done with them, the waxed leaves are a welcome addition to our compost pile. (We don’t put them in our worm bin however.)


Other uses for beeswax leaves


Beyond garlands, there are many beautiful and creative ways to display waxed leaves for fall decor! Cluster the leaves in a bowl or spread them out on the table to create a centerpiece. Pinecones, acorns, and gourds make great waxed leaf companions! Tuck the waxed leaves into a fall wreath, or fill a clear vase with them. You could even glue a magnet on the backside to adorn the refrigerator with fall flair.   


A variety of leaves in various colors of orange, yellow, and red are spread out of two sheets of parchment paper after being dipped in beeswax.


And that’s how to make a beeswax leaf garland.


Well friends, I sure hope you have just as much fun creating your own fall wax leaf garlands as I do. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Also tag me on Instagram so I can see your beautiful leaf garlands too! If you found this tutorial to be inspiring and useful, please consider leaving a star review below. Also, spread the fall love by pinning or sharing this post. Happy leaf foraging and crafting!



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4.50 from 6 votes

DIY Beeswax Fall Leaf Garland

Learn how to make a beautiful, natural fall beeswax leaf garland. It's a fun, easy, and sustainable autumn craft project that the whole family can enjoy! Wax leaf garlands look beautiful strung across a sunny window, fireplace mantle, or trailing along a banister. 
Keyword: beeswax leaf garland, diy fall garland, fall leaf garland, homemade leaf garland, waxed leaf garland

Ingredients

  • Leaves – choose fallen, flat, colorful leaves that are not yet curling or getting crispy
  • Beeswax or vegan alternative, enough to create a shallow pool of wax (about 1/4 to 1/2-inch deep) in the pot once melted
  • Jute twine, string or twinkle lights
  • Double boiler
  • Small clothespins
  • Parchment paper or waxed paper

Instructions

  • Press your collected leaves in a book for 24 to 48 hours before you make your beeswax leaf garland.
  • Gently heat beeswax on the stovetop in a double-boiler.
  • Once the wax has completely melted, quickly dip each leaf in the wax (one by one) and ensure all parts of the leaf have been coated. Dip some of the stem too.
  • Hold the leaf over the pot of wax and lightly wiggle it, allowing excess wax to drip off
  • Lay waxed leaves out on parchment paper or waxed paper to dry. They dry fast; within 10 minutes!
  • Once dry, go back and dip the uncoated tips of the stems in wax (avoid getting more wax on the leaf). Allow to dry again.
  • Use small clothespins to attach the waxes leaves to a piece of twine, string or twinkle lights to create a garland. (It's easiest to hang the string where you want it first, then attach the leaves)
  • The leaves should retain their color for several weeks, up to a couple months.
  • Enjoy your beautiful homemade beeswax leaf garland!
  • For easy clean-up, re-heat the pot of beeswax, pour off any leftover wax to save for another project, wipe out the pot or pan with a paper towel, then wash well with soap and hot water.


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