Thursday, December 16, 2010

DIY Beeswax Ornaments

About fifteen years ago I saw instructions on how to make beeswax ornaments in a magazine. I am still using those ornaments years later. They have been stored in the attic and an underground storage room, withstanding heat, freezing temperatures, dampness - and they still look great! I remember looking everywhere for the main ingredient, beeswax, and ended up finding it at the hardware store. In the past the wax was used for coating nails and screws in woodworking and used on window sills and drawers to allow them to slide more smoothly, but since then it must have been replaced by something in a spray can..   Next I went to the local mega store - the one that has everything - and I was directed to Burt's Bees... I should have looked at a craft/hobby store first because in the last several years, thanks to the popularity of candle making, there is plenty of beeswax to be found. However, I ended up purchasing a few blocks from our local beekeepers, Honey Heaven.  It just seemed right to support our local business and it feels good that my ornaments were made by local Missouri bees!

The only supplies you need in addition to the beeswax:
*A mold--soap or candy molds work well.  This year I used a cookie sheet  mold.
*Wire for hanging
*This year I added dried rosemary to the wax of some of the ornaments - it adds an aroma, texture and color..

I do remember that when you melt the wax it was a pain to clean it out of the pan.  I've revised my melting method - I now use a recycled tin can in a pan of boiling water, a double boiler method...

When the wax liquefies, you simply pour it into the molds.  I've read other instructions for making these ornaments that recommend using a candy thermometer and cooling the wax to 170 degrees prior to pouring it into the molds. I've never messed with using a thermometer and haven't had a problem - it's just that simple..

The wax begins cooling fast and when the edges start solidifying, insert the wire into the ornament. After the wax has completely cooled it will pull away from the mold easily. I added the crushed rosemary to a portion of the wax that I used for the Christmas tree molds. I'm not sure if I like it as well, but the smell is wonderful and it adds some interest to the ornament.

Pretty simple.. and they'll last a decade!

Merry Christmas!


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