A quick sadness always strikes when you see that first petal fall from fresh Christmas centerpieces or bouquets. While you can’t make fresh Christmas flowers permanent, you can extend the life of certain varieties for one to two more weeks by dipping them in wax. The best flowers that hold up to the wax’s heat include roses, daisies, paper whites, tulips, hyacinths and stephanotis. (Warning: white flowers discolor quickly in wax, so choose another, deeper color.)
This easy craft gives the flowers a hazy sheen, and their natural beauty becomes surreal. It’s also a fun activity for kids!
1 lb. paraffin wax
Double boiler (or two pots, the smaller of which fits into the larger); double boiler
only needs to be big enough to fit one flower in
Short, decorative vases and pots
- Put 1 inch of water in bottom of double boiler and boil.
- Melt paraffin wax (Warning: never put paraffin directly over flame; it’s
extremely flammable!). Heat to 130 to 150°, no cooler or hotter.
- Choose firmest flowers and cut stems so that 2 – 3 inches remain.
- Using oven mitt, hold flower by stem.
- Dip flower quickly and cover completely. Let excess wax drip into pot.
- Place stem into floral foam or lay flower on parchment paper on its side.
- Let dry for at least 5 minutes.
- With wax dry, gently hold flower edges and dip stem. Allow that to dry for one minute before dunking flower in wax again. Once cool, repeat for stem.
- Look into bloom and see if wax didn’t cover any inner petals. If so, spoon in wax to cover.
- Handle with care so wax doesn’t crack.
Waxed Flowers on the Ready . . . Now What?
Five or six waxed flowers, intriguing as they are, need an arrangement to really impress. The short stems are the limiting factor in these arrangements, but floral foam or “oasis” saves the day.
Small, Short Vase: If you don’t have a short vase, use something as simple as a pretty mug to hold the reincarnated winter flowers. Consider adding two inches of reusable filler (sand, pebbles) and then top with another two inches of floral foam to preserve foam. Insert stems; add greenery and natural ornaments such as berry picks, pine cones, pine twigs. A pretty ribbon pulls it all together.
Small Box in Christmas Wrap: Even the ugliest cardboard turns into a holiday container when covered with some nice wrap and a ribbon. Cover the whole box and carefully poke as many holes in the top as flowers on hand. Arrange them tightly or loose and fill gaps with greenery and other accents.
Small Basket: Most families have one or two of these on hand. As with the short vase or mug above, fill the basket with reusable filler and then add a 2 inch layer of floral foam. Insert flowers and adorn.
New Life for Fading Flowers
While waxing won’t preserve flowers for years (only preserved fresh flowers do that), it will give them another week or so. Turn this into an activity with kids and you pique their curiosity as well as score a new decoration.