I like to make natural crafting materials for the wee ones. I’ve made paints and crayons, play dough and paste. I like the cost savings, and I especially like being in control of the ingredients, BUT I’ve learned something over the years… If the process is too messy, no matter how much I like the outcome, I won’t do it again. I think we’ve all had those undertakings that seemed like a good idea, but then it took hours to restore order to the kitchen! If I can’t pull it off in a semi-reasonable manner, I’ll go ahead and buy.
So, I’ve learned, when I go about making something, I try to find the easiest… fastest… cleanest… way to do it. Yesterday, after I made a batch of Modeling Beeswax… similar to Stockmar Modeling Beeswax… the picture above is what my kitchen looked like when I was done. I kid you not, no mess to clean up. Basically, when I was done making the Modeling Beeswax, everything looked like I had just started. Here’s what I did.
WARNING: I DO NOT consider this to be a craft to do with young children. Burns from the wax could be serious.
- 1 teaspoon Jojoba Oil (jojoba, coconut or olive oil) I used jojoba oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Lanolin Oil (people also use Lanolin cream as found in Nursing Creams)
- 1/2 cup melted pure filtered beeswax
- Colorant (I used a wax concentrate from a company no longer in busy) You can use food coloring, crayons, or other concentrates. If using food coloring use the paste, gel or powder. The liquid will not mix. BTW… I have never used the colorant I linked to. This is just an example of other options available.
Note on amounts of ingredients. Because all beeswax can be slightly different, the amounts above may not always have the same results. You need to experiment. In the directions below, after you melt the wax and add the jojoba and lanolin, I pour a small amount, about 1/2 teaspoon on a surface to cool. I then test it. If it is crumbly, I add a LITTLE more oils. If it is too sticky, I add a little more beeswax. If I have to error, I would rather have the Modeling Wax a little sticky as opposed to too hard. This is not an exact science. You will need to play with amounts each time you get new beeswax.
Also Note… check local farmer’s markets and farms that sell honey. They often sell beeswax. You might be able to get filtered beeswax for much cheaper than on line.
- 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup reserved for non-edible crafting
- muffin tin with paper liners
- a teaspoon
- hot pad and oven mitt
- paper towels for clean up
Note: I used the microwave. You can also melt the wax in a double-boiler or crockpot. I find the microwave the least messy.
Place beeswax in Pyrex measuring cup. You do not need to grate the beeswax. (Makes the job faster.) It will melt in block form. (Does melt faster if grated but I don’t enjoy grating beeswax 🙂 Melt enough beeswax to get 1/2 cup melted beeswax. I bought my beeswax from a local farmer that sold it in 1/2 cup blocks. If you have larger blocks, just cut off chunks.
In my microwave, on high, it took 4 minutes to melt MOST of the wax. You do not not want to overheat the wax. You can actually burn it. If you remove the wax before it is completely melted and allow the rest of the wax to sit and melt, you will not overcook it.
CAUTION: The wax and the cup are extremely hot. I use oven mitts and pot holders to handle the measuring cup. Use extreme caution.
Carefully mix in the jojoba oil (olive oil or coconut oil) and lanolin oil to the melted wax. Mix. Add the colorant.
Place paper muffin liners into a muffin pan. Pour melted wax into cups filling about half way. I got 3 muffin cups from each 1/2 cup of melted beeswax. To make things easy, I started by melting the yellow, then the red, then the green, then the brown in the cup. I drained as much as I could out of the measuring cup, then, without cleaning the cup, I melted more wax. I did not clean the cup each time.
When the wax is set, but still slightly warm, remove the paper. If you wait until they are completely cooled, then can be harder to get out of the pan, and the paper can stick to the beeswax. However, if you must wait, it really isn’t hard to do, the paper may rip a bit. Do make sure to remove all the paper because it will interfere with the use of the Modeling Beeswax.
For easy clean up, after you’ve melted the last of the wax, while the cup is still very hot, wearing your oven mitts, wipe out the inside and outside of the measuring cup with paper towel. Do the same for your teaspoon. That is all the clean-up that is necessary! Wasn’t that easy… and neat?
Before the wax has even set, your clean-up is done!
Working with the Modeling Beeswax:
I usually place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on a work surface while playing with the Modeling Beeswax. They wax can stick to surfaces and parchment or waxed paper makes clean up easy.
When the beeswax has set and cooled, it is ready to be played with. If you’ve never used Modeling Beeswax before, you do need to “warm up” the wax a bit in order to be able to work it. It helps to cut the wax into chunks and work a little at a time. The heat from you hands will warm it up. One of my favorite ways to “warm up” the wax slightly is to lightly heat a rice pack in the microwave, and with the Modeling Beeswax in a baggie, lay it on the rice pack. You do not want the wax to actually start melting, just to warm up enough to be pliable. Placing the wax, in a baggie, against your skin, like under your arm or in your bra, is another trick 🙂
Once the beeswax is pliable, it can be worked like any modeling clay. The Modeling Beeswax will not dry out. You can often take apart a sculpture and reuse the wax. It is a fun alternative to the more common place clays and doughs.