How to Preserve Fresh Wheat Stalks for Fall Decor

Use Whats Natural Elements Available like Wheat Stalks for your Fall Decor

We live in one of Canada’s prairie provinces and as most of you know I am not a fan, but in the harvest season the prairies are breathtakingly pretty, miles and miles of wheat and other grains blowing in the wind, it really is very beautiful. Not to mention the old barns you can see while driving, this old barn is about 5 km away from the major city of Edmonton.

Picture of Barn in a field, for a preserving wheat post


I remembered seeing this barn last year but in my memory I thought it was a waist high wheat field.  I drove out to it again and it actually sits in a pretty field of canola.

Besides wheat stalks, we can easily gather branches, pinecones, corn stalks and fall leaves for decorating.  I cannot imagine anything more farmhouse styled for fall than homemade sheaths of wheat.

How to Preserve Wheat Stalks

Earlier this year I made these super easy to make flower drying racks so I decided to get some fresh wheat and dry it myself for fall decor.   Once prepared it takes anywhere from one to four weeks to dry.

You need to start by gathering the wheat stalks, to be honest, these may be barley but I don’t know the difference, either way, I love the little whispy tops.  The colours are beautiful shades of soft green to golden yellows.

Gathered wheat stalks for fall decor.

Once gathered you need to clean them and I suggest doing them outside as the plants are wild and may have bugs, mine had a ladybug and an ant.  They weren’t prickly at all.

Go through each shaft of wheat removing all the lower leaves, tossing out any broken or miscoloured stems.

Cleaning wheat stalk stems for DIY fall decorating

Once you have the extra leaves removed, place the stalk ends in water.  Although I know they get rained on, I wasn’t comfortable immersing the fresh grain ends in water so I kept them dry.

Fresh wheat stalks being cleaned for fall decorating.


Clean each stalk with a soft cloth making sure not to break them.  After you clean each stem set it aside in a single layer on a towel to dry.  Let them dry for several hours.


Clean and damp wheat stalks laid flat on a towel drying.

Bundling and Hanging your Wheat Stalks

Bundle your stalks by holding the bottom of each grain section between your thumb and finger.

Gathering Wheat Stalks together


These wheat stalks are gathered 20  stalks to a bundle.  Place an elastic around the stalks.  Place a second elastic lower down the stalks as well.  Trim the ends of the stalks off evenly.


Preserving Wheat Stalks Hung to dry


Hang them to dry seed side down for one to four weeks until dry.

The wheat isn’t dry in the next picture, but its a good example of a simple way to use the wheat once it is dry.  The gather printable will be on the blog very soon.

Fresh wheat stalks gathered for fall decor.

Wheat stalks in a fall vignette.

Are there any local naturals you gather to use for fall decorating?  Do they need some time to preserve before you can use them?  Let me know in the comments, I always enjoy hearing from you.

9 thoughts on “How to Preserve Fresh Wheat Stalks for Fall Decor

  1. How I would love to live close to fields of wheat and barley. That piccy you shared of the barn is dreamy Leanna. It would make an awesome painting. Great tutorial too. I would never have know how to dry wheat to use in decor. Pinned just in case i pass a wheat field one day. Hope the farmer won’t mind if I steal some 😉

  2. Oh gosh, Leanna did this post remind me of my Mom. One of her favorite past times was to go for drives in the country and take photos of old barns and outbuildings around Edmonton and during their camping trips to BC. She would then paint those scenes. At her funeral luncheon we had all her paintings along the walls for people to see. I have a gallery of her paintings in my house. I wouldn’t be surprised if she painted that very barn! Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane and the awesome tutorial 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s wonderful. The first oil painting I ever bought was of a large old hay barn. I love old barns. I hope to see that artwork someday, what a wonderful keepsake.

    1. LOL too funny. When I lived in BC we use to collect and shell walnuts. Yummm. I saw a really elegant banner made with just walnuts as well. If you can “squirrel” a few away for decor maybe you could make one.

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