Beeswax can be used for all manner of craft projects from candles to homemade body products, homemade furniture polish and alternatives to glue and shellac for finishing paper projects. This article will teach you how to prepare beeswax for use in these rewarding home crafts.
- Skill level:
Other People Are Reading
Things you need
- Raw beeswax
- Double boiler or microwave oven
- Hob burner
- Glass jar
- Oven gloves or canning jar tongs
- Soap or beeswax moulds -- optional
- Baby food jars and lids -- optional
We can't actually "make" beeswax, only bees can. You can obtain bulk beeswax from beekeepers or stores that cater to beekeepers. Just look in your yellow pages under "Bees" or "Bee Keeping Supplies." Many herbal apothecaries or mail-order suppliers offer beeswax as it is commonly used to make herbal salves and body products. Some health food stores also carry beeswax either in large blocks or in bags full of small pieces.
Raw beeswax may contain a few impurities that can become visible as dark brown grittiness that won't fully dissolve into the otherwise transparent yellow beeswax when melted. Raw beeswax can be used as is if you are just aiming to make candles and it does not really matter if there is minor amount of graininess or grittiness in the candle as it won't be noticeable. However, if you are using beeswax to make face creams or lip balms, you may want to melt the wax down prior to your project and remove any impurities.
In addition to melting your bulk beeswax down to remove any possible impurities, melting it also makes it easy to pour into moulds to create small-size pieces. Most craft projects, with the exception of making large candles, only require a small amount of beeswax so that having large pieces is rather unwieldy as beeswax does not cut or break easily. Melting it down is the easiest method of creating small, project-sized quantities.
To melt your beeswax, place it in a glass jar with a wide mouth. Because beeswax is so difficult to wash out later, and very hard on the sink drain if you attempt to wash beeswax out of your favourite Pyrex bowl, an old glass canning jar with a wide mouth is best.
You can melt the beeswax chunks by placing this whole jar in the microwave or by setting the whole jar in the upper pan of a double boiler. Melting the wax actually takes some time, in both the double boiler and the microwave - about 15 to 20 minutes in the microwave and around 45 minutes to an hours in a double boiler depending on the quantity and size of the block you are starting with. Once the wax is melted, if there are any impurities they will become visible as dark brown graininess in the melted wax. Once the beeswax is entirely melted and liquefied, these impurities sink to the bottom of the jar and the pure clear melted beeswax can simply be decanted off of the top.
The melted beeswax can be poured into soap mould or other small-sized containers to make it fast to melt down and easy to use for recipes and craft projects in the future. You can purchase candy moulds, soap moulds or use small ramekins, baby food jars, or even baby food jar lids to create small usable pieces of beeswax. It is best to oil these moulds with olive or any kitchen vegetable oil ahead of time to make the hardened beeswax easy to pop out later. Place your moulds side by side on your kitchen counter. Use oven gloves or canning jar tongs to pour the hot wax into the oiled moulds. The wax will be fully hardened in an hour or less and can be removed from the moulds and stored for easy use in your craft projects. The wax will not "pop" out of baby food jars, but the small jars are easy to store and melt down in this size for future use.