I have had five pounds of beeswax sitting around waiting to be made into candles while I keep my eyes open for an old taper mold or learn how to dip them. But I decided last week that the time had come to create with it even if it wasn't making candles. [caption id="attachment_1598" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Modelling Beeswax"][/caption]
Modelling beeswax is an often used art form in Waldorf style schooling. Unlike the more popular play dough, beeswax must be slowly warmed in order to be molded. This goes well with the idea of intentionally and slowly moving through our days and activities as opposed to the moving quickly through activities as young children (and adults) are prone.
I made some last week and was only partially satisfied with it although that was mostly due to how I colored it. Today, I tried again and was much happier with the results. So here is:
You will need:
- pure beeswax
- olive oil
- coloring (I made my own colorings which will be another post altogether)
- a crock pot that you are too particular about, or a double boiler, or an empty can with a pot
- muffin tin/plate/or whatever you want to cool the beeswax in
- wax or parchment paper
- Cut up about 1. cup of beeswax
- Add 2 tsp oil and 1 tsp lanolin (this makes it a little more pliable)
- If you are using a crock pot, which I found worked really well, set it on low and allow it to melt. This probably took about 20 min. I also used a tin can in a pot of water that I tried to keep a slow boil.
- Line muffin tin with the paper (just do it, I tried it with out and just oiling it...not a good idea).
- Once the wax mix has melted, add your colorings...it is easiest if you are doing only one color because then you can just add it to the crock pot, otherwise you have to divide it up.
- Pour a thin layer of wax in each tin. Keep it just a thin layer. Allow it to cool completely before removing.
- If you aren't happy with the colors or think it needs more beeswax, you can easily remelt it in the oven on a low setting...just watch closely, it only takes minutes.
[caption id="attachment_1597" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="red:Alkanet root, Orange:Alkanet and Annato, Green:Spinach Powder, Yellow: Annato Seed and Tumeric. I still need to fiddle with colors but I thought they were pretty, not vibrant really, but pretty."][/caption]
Now the fun part! Taking a small piece of the modelling wax, hold it in your hands until it softens. This varies depending on the warmth of your hands. Slowly begin shaping it to whatever you want to make, it will become more flexible as it warms. You can form and add different colors as you like.
[caption id="attachment_1599" align="aligncenter" width="373" caption="This was our little tester that Aneliese and I made together:) ; a little girl with blond hair who went for a walk wearing her red coat and no shoes or mittens!"][/caption]
This isn't so much for independent play with small children. Cecily isn't quite ready for it but Aneliese enjoys holding it in her hands to warm while I tell her a story about whatever we make and right now she really likes to make things together. Her little hands warm it much faster than mine but I noticed today that putting my hands in warm water before helped a lot. It will also leave your hands feeling a little sticky; it is beeswax but it very quickly absorbs into your hands. I also found it a little messy to make and I'm glad that I have an old crock pot for this kind of thing.
And the cost; I spent about 3-5 dollars max. as opposed to the 15-20 dollars that I wanted to spend on this which granted is beautiful looking and of course would be a lot less work! Still, I would mark this one up as being worth while.
What do you think? Does it seem simple enough that you would be willing to try it? If you do, please, let me know how it goes!