Intro: Wax Paper Pressed Foliage Bookmarks
Wax paper can be sealed to itself if you iron it. The heat melts the wax, and when it cools it now has a light seal.
I wanted a way to preserve some leaves and flowers I collected in Korea, and I thought of sealing them in wax to hang as art on the window. The project took a turn somewhere and I decided to make bookmarks with my pressed foliage.
Step 1: Press Leaves (or Flowers)
You’ll want to start by collecting leaves, flowers, or whatever else you can press. Smaller and thinner things work better with this wax paper method.
After collecting them, press them in a notebook or between blotting paper, and leave something heavy on top of it for a couple days.
When they’re flat and dry, they’re ready to use!
Step 2: Gather Materials
- Pressed leaves/flowers
- Wax paper
- Thick paper
Step 3: Arrange and Iron
This stage is a bit of an art. Play around with different arrangements of your foliage. During the ironing step you may find out that some arrangements don’t seal well in the wax paper, and you’ll likely have to disassemble a few of your bookmarks and redo them! So, don’t get too attached to your arrangements yet…
- Place a sheet of thick paper on the ground.
- Place wax paper on top of the paper.
- Arrange your foliage on top of the wax paper.
- Place another sheet of wax paper on top of this, then thick paper on the very top.
Now that you have your foliage sandwiched by wax paper and thick paper, you are ready to iron.
A FEW NOTES:
- The thick paper protects the iron from damaging the wax paper. It also prevents wax from getting on the iron and creating smoke.
- The longer the heat is on the wax paper, the more of the wax soaks up into the thick paper on top. This makes the wax paper less able to seal. Thus, a quick go-over of the iron is key.
- You need to try out different speeds and iron temperatures. What worked best for me was to have my iron on HIGH, and then I would real quick iron up then down on the page, ONCE, for a total of about 1 second. Then I would put a heavy book on top and press for a couple seconds. When I lifted the paper off the wax paper I would see how well the wax sealed. Minor touch ups are possible with the iron, but if I wasn’t happy with it, I’d often peel it apart and start over fresh with new wax paper.
Step 4: Seal Edges
Cut the wax paper down to the size of the bookmark you want. You can then seal the edges with a narrow, folded-over strip of extra wax paper – this looks nice, and prevents the bookmark from peeling apart.
Step 5: Finished!
You're done! Now go crazy and make a bunch more with all your pressed foliage! Or experiment and use string or newspaper clippings or whatever [flat] things you want to have in a bookmark! If kept properly (like in a book), these can last a year or several years.
(You can even do other cool things by ironing wax paper like this - like make a sealed snack bag to give to people as homemade favors or to take on a hike. Or, create a large version you can tape up in a window that receives direct sunlight - leaves and flowers really look beautiful when backlit. Experiment!)
Over time the edges might start to come apart a little. You may be able to iron it back into place a couple times, but eventually the wax will be all used up and you won't be able to do this anymore.
If you REALLY fall in love with one but the wax paper is coming apart, you can just peel the wax paper apart, harvest the pressed foliage inside, and just do it again with fresh wax paper!