5 Uses For Beeswax In The Home
Now that us Beeks have rendered our beeswax for the season, it's time to have some fun! Bee-sides soaps, lotions and body products, Beez wanted to illuminate some of the more unique ways beeswax can be utilized in the home/workshop setting! If you have a beekeeper friend, buying a lb of wax to keep on hand can be an alternative to many harsh chemicals.
Polish: Did you know wax makes for an excellent polish? Beeswax has natural water repellent properties and hold in oils and moisture for wood and leather extending the life of your furniture, shoes and cutting boards. Mixing beeswax with a carrier oil like linseed, olive oil or mineral oil to make it more pliable is a natural replacement to harsher chemicals and synthetic polishes on the market. Try mixing a half cup of food grade oil with a tablespoon of beeswax, add a few drops of essential oil like cedarwood or sweet orange for a pleasant scent to your home made polish.
Maple Wreath : Beeswax can be used in arts and crafts including dipping some of your earthly findings from your fall hike last week! Collecting a few pine cones or maple leaves make for bee-autiful fall décor. Here in the Hudson Valley we have TONs of vibrant colored leaves to choose from. When searching for your leaves, collect ones that are not overly dry as dipping brittle items in hot wax cause damage. Using a double boiler system, melt down your lb of beeswax. If you wish, you can add a fragrance oil or essential oil to the wax. Bee sure to check your flash points when adding oils, as some oils have a low flash point of which the scents will burn off before you have a chance to enjoy them. Usually about 155 degrees F is an ideal temp for working with liquid beeswax, so choose oils with flash points of 160 or higher. Let your wax cool til below your flash point before adding oils. Beez likes to dip her large maple leaves in wax with a mild fall scent like Smoked Applewood. Once she has dipped her leaf, she lays it in wax paper to dry. If needed, she can do several dips to get a nice thick wax coating on her leaf. Then Beez adds these leaves to an autumn wreath with orange and gold ribbon to display through October and November!
Pine Cone Fire Starters: Collect some quality pine cones from your morning walk and create a winter fire starter with beeswax. Buy a spool of wick and cut your wick to 12 inches. Using the double boiler system, melt down your lb of beeswax and add any oils for scent. If you wish to add a dash of color, wax dye is also available in candle making supply stores to create an artistic basket of pine cones (also make great party favors). Create a small loop at the end of your wick, that will sit on top of the pine cone making the cone hangable and also helps in the dipping process. Thread your wick around the pine cone to the bottom to light when you are ready to use as a fire starter. Dip your pine cones allowing wax to cool in between dips. Set on wax paper and re-dip until you are happy with your layers. Remove excess wax from bottom of cones when cones are completely dry. Excess wax can be reused so don't waste! After all of your pine cones are dry and complete you can hang around the house, create a wreath, assemble in a basket beside your fireplace to use as a fire - starter!
Pysanky Ukrainian Egg: Ever see an eastern European egg ornament with beautiful intricate coloring and etching? The use of beeswax on these eggs helps build the layers of beauty and symbolism artistically drawn on these eggs. You will need natural beeswax, a pencil, an egg of your choosing, a “kistka” - tool to work the beeswax onto the egg and “alanine” dye to build your layers of color. Choose a quality egg with no cracks or abrasions. Empty the egg of its yoke and clean gently with mild dish soap, plug up the holes in the eggs with beeswax to keep the inside hollow throughout the process. Using a pencil, design your egg however you see fit. Sectioning and quartering the egg to help with your design is a useful tip if you are seeking a symmetrical look. Using the kistka, the artist can cover the egg with beeswax in the areas they would like to keep as the color underneath. The wax will initially keep the first layer under the wax white (assuming your egg is white). After your first dip in dye, let that layer dry, add another layer of wax to your pattern and then dip egg into your next layer of dye. Continue this process until complete. Work with lighter colors first and build your layers until you are dipping into your darkest color on your spectrum. Finally remove the wax by carefully warming the wax and wiping away layers until the egg is clean. Once your masterpiece is revealed it is suggested to seal the egg with a UV resistant oil based sealant spray or varnish.
Polishing tools, metals, squeaky hinges and chains: Use beeswax with a carrier oil and melt in a double boiler system, ration ⅓ beeswax ⅔
oil (linseed or mineral oil). Use an old paint brush to paint wax onto old chains, tools, hinges and even jewelry! Wipe away excess wax and work wax into old tools to remove rust and seal the metal to protect against water damage and rust.
**Beek Bonus Tip! Save your beeswax renderings for your bees! We use natural wax, melt it down and paint it onto new frames for the bees to draw comb the following season. A boost of natural wax can help the bees work new frames.