Updated: Oct 10, 2021
There’s just something magical about acorns. The tiny caps invite the imagination and the nut is evocative of autumn, squirrels, and childhood games. I simply have to pick up a few when going on a fall hike, and if you have kids, you know how much they enjoy stuffing their pockets with the little treasures and finding the perfect one.
There are endless crafts you can make with acorns. But they need to be properly prepared first. I will show you how I preserve my acorns and share an acorn cap candle DIY.
First, after you’ve gathered your acorns, you’ll need to wash them if they are dusty or dirty. Give them a quick rinse in cold water. Children love to help during this step, and it’s a good chance to pick out any cracked or unwanted ones.
Next you’ll need to dry them in the oven to preserve them
Oven Drying Acorns Tutorial
Spread the acorns and their caps in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake your acorns at 200 degrees for about 2 hours. If you are just drying caps, it’ll take much less time, about 30 minutes. If your acorns are very large add another 30- 60 minutes.
Shake the acorns around on the pan a couple times throughout their bake. This will prevent a burn mark from developing on the side touching the pan.
Remove your acorns and let them cool.
They are now ready to craft with, and will last for many years.
Baking your acorns is very important. It kills any mold spores that are on the acorn. It also kills any bugs that are inside them. If you gather acorns and let them sit a couple days, you will see little white weevils emerge from some of the nuts. These are the larvae of an acorn moth (there are a couple species). The eggs are laid inside the acorn when it’s young. If you’ve ever seen an acorn with a little round hole, that’s where the weevil emerged.
Another thing to note is that some of the acorns will shrink while baking. That’s because the moisture inside their nut has been dried out. This will cause their caps to no longer fit. Simply glue the caps back on with wood glue, or if you want something stronger, a gorilla glue.
Finally, your acorns will smell while baking. It’s not specifically a bad smell, just kind of a sap green smell.
At my house we use the acorns for all kinds of craft project. We paint them different colors, scatter them around the pumpkins, glue them things, etc. I even make necklaces and earrings out of them. I use gorilla glue for this, so they don’t break from the kid’s wear and tear. They make me feel especially fairy tale like when I wear them. I use strong cords for the kids necklaces and chains for adults.
I’ll share with you how I make the little acorn cap fairy candles.
Acorn Cap Fairy Candles Tutorial
You will need;
·Bees wax, little pellets work best, or leftover wax from a candle
·An old tin cup, small pan, or something to melt the wax in.
·Acorn caps, preferable flat on the bottom.
Start by setting out your acorn caps. There are many varieties of acorn. I used ones with flat bottoms for my candles. I broke off the little stem to make sure they lay flat. If your caps are round, you can lay the caps in sand to help them sit up right.
Melt the wax in your tin, or pan. You won’t need much and can always melt more. Since it’s a small amount of wax I melted mine in an old ice cream scoop that I use for art. While the wax is melting, cut your wicks into tiny part, the length depends on the depth of your acorn.
Carefully pour the wax into the caps. When it begins to cool, stick the tiny wick in and make sure it stays upright. It can be tricky to get the wax into the tiny caps. I let the wax run down the side of a toothpick directly into the cap. Fill them all the way as the wax flattens as it cools.
Once cool, your fairy candles are ready. If you light them, keep a close eye on them as they only burn for a little while. Set them up in sand, or float them in a bowl of water. I used them mostly for decoration, while my children enjoyed setting some out for the faeries.