Fall Themed Candles Embedding Real Leaves


Today, I’m going to show you one way to preserve those beautiful Fall leaves you found, and make something beautiful to add to your warm Autumn home decor. Candles! 

00_ We’re simply taking store-bought medium-pillar candles, and embedding the real leaves as a beautiful decorative element.
To do this, I’ll be using a separate wax medium.  The reason I am choosing to not just glue the leaves on, or seal them in with Modge Podge or something, is because those mediums are flammable.  I likely will be burning these candles. While I won’t burn them very low, I didn’t want to take the chance of having anything chemically-flammable as part of the candle, when it is easy enough to avoid that. Also, embedding the leaves within the sides of the candles will give the look I am trying to achieve.

All you’ll need for this project is some pillar candles of some sort, some plain melting wax (for candle making), your pressed leaves that you collected, and some pans. (A few other optional supplies will be mentioned along the way.)

01_pressing-fall-leaves The first step in working with real leaves, is to ‘press’ them.  This not only flattens them, but somewhat preserves their moisture for a bit, yet keeps their pliability to be able to work with them well.   I press them by placing my leaves between the pages of a newsprint pad of paper, and putting a small pile of magazines, or whatever for weight, on top.  A few days will do.

02_melting-candle-wax-for-dipping You’ll want to melt your wax over some kind of consistent heat.Making do with what I had, I cut some chunks off of my premium wax block, and put it in a roasting pan, over 2 burners on my electric stove on a very low heat. Possibly even the simmer setting. Start at the lowest and increase the heat as needed. Every stove is different, but generally speaking, you want the wax just liquid-y, but never to the point of bubbling. How much wax you melt depends on how many leaves you’ll be adhering, how many candles you are decorating, etc.  But regardless, you certainly want the wax deep enough to completely submerge a leaf.

  Once your wax is melted, you’ll want to have your pillar candles and leaves readily available to work with. Also, have a sheet of wax paper on a flat surface nearby, to be able to put your candle down as needed.

*This is a very important tip!
You need to keep your pillar candle itself somewhat warm to apply the dipped, hit-wax leaves successfully. The reason being is that lying your hot waxed leaf on the cold surface of the candle immediately sets the wax, and it does not apply well at all. 

But I have two great tips to choose from, for keeping your pillar candle warm:

1)  Have a heating pad on high on your nearby counter-top, with a sheet of waxed paper on it. You can roll the whole thing up with your pillar candle in it (in the waxed paper), or, you can simply lie the candle on it’s side, keeping warm on the side you’ll be applying to.

Or you can go with second option, which is what I ended up doing:
04_ 2) Simply lie the candle on the warm stove, beside the working burners to keep it warm. Obviously you don’t want your pillar candle to melt. But your burners should not be high enough to do that. This method worked well for me, as long as I did apply the just-dipped leaves to the warm area of the candle.

So here we go!
03_wax-dipping-leaves Dip your leaf in the hot melted wax, holding it completely submerging in the wax for a few moments. Keeping it submerged for a few moments (as opposed to dipping and retrieving) will really help the leaf get limp, which will be helpful in applying to the candle.

05_applying-real-leaves-to-candles (View images left to right.)
Then quickly but carefully lie and really ‘cling’ your whole leaf to the candle, and begin to rub down all over as you can.  I say as you can, because it is hot!  And yet you want to press it down as much as you can, before it starts to set. So gently press it down all over, without rubbing hard in any way, and then really just lay your hand down over it as soon as you can while it sets.

06_applying-real-leaves-to-candles_2 Continue adding leaves for your overall design. It is alright to overlap some pf the leaves as well.
Remember to warm the candle in between, as you’re dipping your next leaf.

Now if you find the wax has set in an area that the leaf is not stuck down well, here is a little trick to re-work it:
wax-fix Dip a fork into your hot melted wax, and drip it onto the area of your unsealed leaf that needs fixing.
Then press down again with your fingers.
The stems are optional to keep as is, cut shorter, or cut off at the base. I rather like them, and am leaving them for as long as they don’t break off on their own.

07_ Once all of the leaves are applied, you might consider your candles done. But I really wanted to further seal the leaves onto the my pillar candles, so that they may better hold up for a longer period of time, without the leaves coming off.   The layer of wax over your leaves on your candle at this point is very thin, and that leaves (no pun intended) your decorative surface very fragile and at risk of being damaged.  It’s also somewhat bumpy from all of the pressing on. So another sealing coat is a good idea, and it’s easy to do!
08_seal-elements-on-candle Just heat up more wax in a sauce pan at a reasonable depth, and dunk the whole candle!  Use a size appropriate pan for the size of your handles, and no wider than you need, or you’ll need to use way too much wax to bring the level up.
Now….you also want to keep in mind that the submerging of your candle is going to drastically rise the level of your very hot melted wax. So, be mindful of the amount you melt.  My goal was to melt enough to dunk the candle to just over the leaf tips, without overflowing the wax all over my stove top range. I barely made it…missing just the tips of the leaves.

*Dunk it only once, (holding it submerged for a moment or two like the leaves), as double-dipping may create such a layer of wax, that it’ll become too difficult to see the beautiful shapes and colors of your leaves.
Once lifting them up out of the pan, just carefully set them down on that sheet of waxed paper, until the whole candle cools and sets.

09_Fall-candles-real-leaves Now they are finished, and ready to add some Fall beauty to your home wherever you choose to display them.  You can enjoy them long after the leaves outdoors have dried up and crumbled away. 
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial too, and will consider having fun making some Fall candles with real leaves yourself.

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Decorating with Autumn Leaves; Door Garland and Candle Jars

I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on God’s green earth, who appreciates the foliage that Autumn brings, more than I do.  I am mesmerized by it, from beginning to end.  Ask my kids.  They are often amused at how taken I am, with the beauty of this season.  And they’ve certainly come to understand that I don’t want them to miss one bit of it, any more than I do. I get especially excited when we are driving here and there, which with 4 kids I can tell you, we do a whole lot of.  “Oh!! There’s a tree starting to change right there! Do you see it guys?” And as fall progresses., each week is more full of awe than the last. As we go along, I’ll burst out “LOOK!….at that GORGEOUS tree guys!! LOOK AT THE COLORS ON THAT THING!!”  I’ve startled them. And they’ll be like, “We know Mama! Watch where you’re going!”  It’s true. I probably shouldn’t be driving at all in the Fall. Certainly not during peak foliage week.  There is just a span of weeks in this season, where the trees are all I can talk about, everywhere we go. Sometimes, I feel God made Autumn, just for me. Perhaps not. But gosh, it sure feels like such a gift of love.

The peak beauty of the season, is really all too fleeting for me.  I want it to stay just as it is in those weeks, forever.  At least, I want to save as many beautiful leaves as I can.  But I’ve never found a great way to preserve them for a while, until this year. Oh yes, there was the waxed paper trick but, I heard that never worked all that well.  And besides…..Confession of Domestic Shame:  I really hate ironing.  So when I learned that using Glossy Modge Podge really worked well, I was so excited to try it.  And I immediately started dreaming up a very simple, very rustic leaf garland for my home.

The kids helped me Modge Podge countless leaves they had collected for me, over the weeks.  We had them drying and being pressed between the pages of newspapers and magazines all over the house. I’m willing to bet we’ll be finding several we missed finding again, well into spring.  But I found you can actually Modge Podge a fresh leaf right away, anyway.  I do recommend the Glossy medium. I tried the Matte finish just as a test, and it seemed to strip the color, and not look very impressive once it was dry either. Something about the Glossy really does enhance the color of the leaf, and add lustre.  To Modge Podge (MP) the leaves, we just poured some MP in a non-pourous bowl, and used foam brushes to apply it to our leaves, doing the back of the leaves first.  Then you can lay them on newspaper or whatever, until they dry. They don’t really stick anywhere as drying, because they are not flat or heavy.  MP is so easy to clean up anyway.

I wanted my garland extremely simple and rustic.  Jute was just the kind of string for the job. I love this stuff.

I took 4 pieces of equal lengths of the jute, knotted the ends, and twisted the quadruple strand quite a bit before push-pinning it over the frame of our sun room french doors.

Then, I just stuck my leaves in between the twisted jute string, arranging as I wanted to, all the way across.

There it is. Done in like, . . .a couple of minutes.
And I didn’t fall off while standing on the chair I had to keep moving, even once.
(Although I think I had my husband and kids nervous, because they kept reminding me to be careful. That might have to do with the many happenstances I have had. But not this time!)

Look how pretty!  Honesty….my heart is racing a little bit right now, just looking at them. 
No two alike….such beautiful shapes and colors.

Do you see that long pointy leaf? After being out and about collecting leaves, the kids came running in, so excited to give me that one. They call it my giraffe leaf.  I love giraffes, and they saw a giraffe skin pattern in it. I do too now.  I felt the love, and that leaf makes me smile even more than all the rest now.

I also used the glossy Modge Podge to apply more leaves to jars.  I love that you can just slap that MP all over the jar with a foam (or flat bristle) brush, and everywhere it dries where there is not a leaf, it looks like frosted glass.

Isn’t it beautful?
I’ll warn you that this project took a little more patience than I had anticipated. Certainly not as easy as my garland! It’s worth the little bit of trouble I think though! It’s just that the leaves, which I had MP’d the back of, as well as the jar, don’t want to lay down flat right away. It’s all kind of slippery. It’s only once the MP glue starts setting a little, that is starts sticking as you need it to.  You need to MP over the leaves too anyway, so I kept kind of poking the leaves down where they were sticking up. Once the whole jar was dry, I did one more final coat.  Oh and I just let stems hang free off the glued down leaf. I liked them that way anyway, if they didn’t want to stick.

They give such a warm glow of radiance.

I can see myself doing these same projects with leaves every year, from now on. And other preserved leaf projects I’ll think of I’m sure now too. 
I so enjoyed every minute of working with the leaves, and I am so very happy I found a way to preserve them, and let the beauty live on in my home, as the world around us outdoors drains colorless.

Thanks for coming by, and listening to me go on and on about my love for the colors of Autumn.
It sure was an amazing Fall season this year, and I thanked God for it every day.
Do you get a colorful foliage season where you live, in the Fall? And if so, have you done anything with the leaves?

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Rustic Autumn Wreath / A Simple Craft

 If you’d like to add a touch of crafted Autumn decor to your home, but don’t have a lot of time or energy right now, this wreath is for you! It is so very simple and quick to make.  I think it’s beautiful, and has a real rustic flair that fits right in here at our homestead. 

  I hung our wreath in the sun room, on the wall directly in front of anyone coming in through our front door.

It’s so very simple to make, you really don’t even need to be shown how. 
But I will tell to you how, and give you a couple of tips as well.

Start with a stick/branch wreath, which can be found ready-made at your local craft store.

The pumpkins I also found at the craft store. They are very light in weight, made of a paper medium, and some kind of painted wire.  They are finished with a shellack, and they came as a bunch in a net bag, much like potpourri comes. So you may want to look in that area. 

To attach them to the wreath, I used a small piece of raffia! I simply slipped it under the wire on the bottom/underside of the pumpkin, and tied it onto a branch where I wanted the pumpkin placed. How easy is that? I cut any excess tails of raffia I didn’t need, but I don’t even care if it is seen, because it just adds to the simple rustic charm of  the wreath, in my opinion.

Then I added some nice looking faux fall leaves.  You can simply just tuck them under the intertwining sticks of the wreath. But if you want to be sure they stay, and/or plan to save the wreath to use year after year, I recommend using a dab of glue from a glue gun at the base of the leaf or stem area, and stick in between branches in an inconspicuous place.  The leaves don’t need to be any more attached than that, and keeping the leaves loose gives it a more natural look.

Just follow that technique with leaves and pumpkins, all the way around.

The little birdie is just a clip on, and was also picked up at the craft store at some point. It was one we had, and it not only went perfectly with this wreath, with it’s warm tones, but added new interest.

The wide ribbon is wired, which can be a little difficult to work with, when tying bows or making nice curls. But I found a trick I’ll share with you. 
TIP:   When working with wired ribbon, use an aluminum can, cup, or any cylinder object to make nice curls for the tail of your ribbon, or uniform loops in your bows.  Simply choose an appropriately sized cylinder object, relevant to the size you’d like your curls or loops, and use it to shape your ribbon.  You can place the cylinder into the loops to make them nice and round where they curve around, and/or wrap the ribbon around the tails to make nice curls.

It’s really as easy as that! It can literally be done in 10 minutes.

A very simple craft on how to make a rustic Autumn wreath for your home decor. #autumn decor #autumn home decor #autumn-crafts #autumn-wreath-tutorial #autumn-wreaths #fall-crafts #fall-decor #fall-home-decor #fall-wreath-tutorial #fall-wreaths #seasonal-crafts #seasonal-decor #seasonal-wreaths houseofjoyfulnoise.com It’s not only a simple and beautiful wreath for this awesome season, but you can say you made it yourself.