Tutorial : Preserve Autumn Leaves with a Waldorf Beeswax Bowl Luminary Candle Craft.

Cultivating autumn beauty in your Waldorf home can be as simple as lighting a beeswax votive candle when the days start to shorten. Even better, making a beeswax luminary, adorned with foraged fall leaves, can be a wonderfully bonding autumn leaf craft for you and your little ones. In early childhood, the magic of honoring the seasons can be a delight for us and our preschool children and bring the gifts of nature into hour home in such a joyful way.

Here in Southern California, the leaves are just starting to turn. We call it The Golding of the Leaves in our home and my children like to imagine that the fairies are working hard with their paintbrushes and their magical golden paint. It’s a magnificent time of year… natures last hurrah before she has to button down for the cold months of winter ahead.

Whenever we go on our daily walks, we take a basket and fill it with beautifully colored leaves… we marvel at the reds, oranges and yellows of Autumn. We often wish that the leaves we collect would stay that color forever but we know they will dry and brown and wither to dust. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could keep them red and orange and yellow for just a little longer… well, we actually can! Today we made a gorgeous, golden, beeswax bowl and adorned it with our Fall leaves, knowing that the magic beeswax will preserve the colorful leaves for us for years to come. We will put a candle into our beeswax bowl so that the golden candlelight will shine through the wax and the brilliant leaves will illuminate for us to enjoy through the winter months.

There are a few different ways we can make beeswax luminaries. Using a balloon for the form and popping it when the wax is set is one way but when working with young children, I prefer this method as we’ve had the balloon pop in the past, spraying hot wax all over us and I find this method much safer.

To make an Autumn Leaf Bowl you will need:

* Beeswax (I like to support local or small beekeepers. I turn to Etsy when my local beekeeper has no beeswax for me).
* Collected Autumn leaves
* A small porcelain or glass bowl
* A bigger bowl
* Clingwrap plastic
* A plastic bag without holes.

SAFETY WARNING : working with melted beeswax has the potential to burn you or your little ones. For this reason, we work with a bowl of cool water nearby (to cool a burn) and always with a bottle of Lavender essential oil at our fingertips. Medicinal grade Lavender oil has so many gifts for us, including helping to calm and relax us and inducing a deep and restful night’s sleep… but why we use it with burns is because it immediately soothes a burn and reduce the damage to the skin. I’ve had nasty and painful burns in the past and a quick dab of pure Lavender oils has been nothing short of miraculous.

Turn the smaller bowl upside down. Wrap the outside of the bowl tightly with clingwrap. Make sure that the clingwrap is tight and smooth over the bowl and that it is not broken.

Put the plastic bag into the bigger bowl. You will pour the melted beeswax into this plastic lined bowl.

Melt the beeswax (here is a tutorial on how to safely melt beeswax using a homemade bain-marie)

Pour the melted beeswax into the plastic lined bowl.

Quickly dip the small, clingwrap-wrapped bowl into the beeswax and take it out again, letting the excess melted beeswax drip back into the bigger bowl. Wait a few seconds for the first layer to cool slightly and then dip again. Repeat many times. Each time you dip the small bowl into the melted beeswax, it gets a thicker coating of beeswax. When your beeswax bowl is the desired thickness (the thinner it is, the more the candlelight will glow through it but it can’t be too thin or it will break when you remove it from the small porcelain bowl.)

When the beeswax bowl is the desired thickness, dip your leaves into the melted beeswax and press them into your beeswax bowl… the hot wax will stick each leaf, fast, to the beeswax bowl.

Settle the beeswax bowl onto a piece of clingwrap and push it downward to level the base of your bowl.

After you have let your beeswax bowl cool for a few minutes, gently unfurl the clingwrap from the porcelain bowl. Work it loose at the edges of the beeswax, wiggle it gently, working the clingwap and beeswax loose from the porcelain bowl.

When your beeswax bowl is separated from the porcelain bowl, gently peel the clingwrap away from the beeswax.

Voila! You have made a gorgeous beeswax votive that will shine golden, omitting its delicious honey aroma into your home.

In preparation for Michaelmas,
Blessings and magic to you,


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21 Responses

  1. We are patiently waiting for Spring to really kick in here. Autumn and Spring are my favourite seasons, there is just something really special about them.

    Love the beeswax bowl, I bet it looks amazing when lit up.

  2. it’s beautiful! We’ve also been admiring the change in season during our travels. How some leaves in the cooler places have already turned orange and red. We’ve also got a nice collection of leaves and acorns are something we don’t get back home.

  3. Oh, girl, you are so danged clever. I have loved beeswax since I was little – mom had this little cake of it that she used to coat thread when she hand-sewed. It smelled wonderful. I think I may still have that self-same cake. Wonder where it is? Yes. Happy.

    And may I see that I see your blog referred to and linked in so many places. You give a lot to many.

  4. Hello, I love this bowl idea, but would prefer to avoid using cling film. Could I tape wax paper to the bowl instead and achieve the same result, do you think? Thanks.

    1. Hi Michelle… yes, I think wax paper will work just as well… or parchment paper. As long as you tape it well as if the wax spills into your pot, cleanup will be a pain.
      xo Donni

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