The Benefits of Using Beeswax for Sewing

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Sewing is a centuries old craft and a skill to be admired. One substance that has been used in sewing applications for a long time is beeswax. This natural wax has many properties that make it a perfect sewing companion. Know to strengthen thread, it makes sewing easier with fewer knots. Explore the benefits of using beeswax for sewing. And, learn how to create a beeswax cake for your sewing toolkit or to give a friend

How Beeswax Can Transform Your Sewing Skills

Trio of beeswax sewing cakes in gift bags image.

There are several reasons that you should consider having a cake of beeswax for your sewing basket. No matter how hard we try, our sewing projects don’t always go smoothly. Thread and fabric sometimes seem destined for conflict and that causes frustration.

One of the main advantages of using beeswax is the way it strengthens your thread. Strong thread is more durable and less likely to break when you are sewing and later.

This is valuable for heavy duty garments that get a lot of wear. Your wax thread will be less likely to break down during use making your project more durable with tighter stitches.

It also helps prevent fraying. Thread is made of many fibers joined together. A coating of beeswax on your thread reduces friction and makes sewing smoother. This helps prevent the thread from unraveling.

Beeswax is a natural wax, made by honey bees. It is non -toxic and hypoallergenic. This means it adds no synthetic substances to your projects.

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DIY Thread Conditioner

Why make a beeswax block? Can’t you buy thread conditioning blocks? Yes, but pure beeswax blocks are so much better than the commercial wax blocks found at most sewing stores. In fact, once you experience the real thing – you’ll likely never go back.

A beeswax thread conditioner bar applies a very light wax coating to your thread. Depending on the application, you can apply wax to the whole length of thread or just the ends.

Wax adds strength and reduces fraying on all thread types and reduces static cling. But, it is especially useful for some types of embroidery materials such as metallic thread.

Cotton and silk thread should always be waxed before sewing but even polyester thread can benefit from a light coat of wax. This is for hand sewing only and helps reduce knots and tangles.

But – Never put waxed thread in your sewing machine – it will not end well!

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Re-Soften Your Sewing Bar

Over time, a wax thread conditioner block gets rather gnarly. If the surface of your bar gets notched or scarred, it is easy to smooth it out.

Place the bar on a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper. Use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat and melt the outer surface of the wax. Let it cool and the wounded surface will smooth out a lot.

Crumbly cake of beeswax and thread for sewing image.

Making a Beeswax Cake for Sewing

You might wonder who needs a beeswax cake or bar? Is this only a good idea for someone who does a lot of sewing. Honestly, most people could benefit from this gift – even if they never pick up a needle and thread.

There are so many uses for beeswax. Seamstresses, basket makers, leather crafters, book binders and more know of the value of beeswax.

And, of course, it makes working with thread or other hand sewing materials so much easier. Wait, can’t you just use a lump of raw beeswax? Sure, but it should be clean.

Clean Wax is Important

Regardless of whether you just a hunk of raw wax or fashion it into a beautiful block, it should be clean. Clean beeswax is free of excess honey, trash or dirt. 

If you acquire raw beeswax from a beekeeper (or your own hive), be sure to clean your wax properly.

Molding

Clean beeswax can be safely melted in a double boiler and shaped into blocks or bars of any size.  Having regular bar molds is great but you can use silicone muffin liners or candy molds too.

You can enjoy making your own beeswax sewing cake-it is so easy to do. Think about shape and size.

Will it fit well in your hand? It should be large enough to use with east but small enough to not take up too much room.

Give the Gift of Beeswax

Who would not want their own personal cake of beeswax for sewing and crafts? Natural wax made by honey bees is so useful -it seems almost magical.

It never spoils, stays solid at room temperature and a little bit goes a long way. One of the best things to do with a sewing cake of beeswax is to share it.

A perfect and inexpensive gift idea that anyone can use – what could be better? Beeswax has many uses beyond sewing.

Consider adding this project to your list of easy handmade gifts. Great for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Birthdays or even teacher gifts. They make a great addition to a gift basket with a honey bee theme.

This is a great simple project that only requires a small amount of beeswax. Once your beeswax is clean, it is very easy to create some beeswax wax melts to go along with your sewing bar. 

Or for a more personal project – homemade lip balm is always appreciated – it can fit right in the bag with the sewing bar too.

There are so many gift ideas you can create with a little beeswax. Don’t wait – get started today!

Trio of beeswax sewing cakes in gift bags image.

DIY Thread Conditioner – Beeswax Sewing Cake

Charlotte Anderson @ Carolina Honeybees, LLC
Create a unique and inexpensive gift for your favorite seamstress or crafter. A handmade beeswax sewing cake has many uses beyond sewing. Consider adding this project to your list of easy handmade gifts.
5 from 2 votes

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Tools

Supplies
 

Instructions
 

  • Beeswax bars:
    If you have the time, you can purchase raw beeswax and make your own bars.  Use a double boiler to melt the wax and pour into suitable molds. This can be a regular bar mold or you can make a fun shape – even silicone cup cake liners work!
    If you don’t have the time for that – buy some bars that are ready to go. The most common size is the 1 oz (net wt) bar of wax – though of course they can be any size or shape.
    This rectangular bar is easy to handle and looks rather like a little bar of gold – which of course it is -to the bees!
    Several small bars of raw beeswax for sewing project.
  • Choose a container or gift bag:
    The bar needs a container. Presentation is everything – it can be a tin or bag. Small organza bags are great for beeswax and can be used for any shape. 
    The bag will hold 1, 2, 3 or more small 1-ounce bars.The very nature of the bag, allows the wax to show through and the delightful wax aroma to escape. 
    Choose any color that matches the occasion or compliments your natural wax color. Avoid bag materials that are fuzzy.
    Beeswax does not melt unless it is exposed to temperatures over 147°F but it will attract fuzzy particles.
    Colorful organza bags for gifts.
  • Gift tag:
    Add a tag – this is where you can let your creativity go wild. Make it as simple or as fancy as you wish.
    While some people do understand the value of a beeswax bar, not everyone realizes the potential.  Add a small tag that explains the intended purpose of the bar of wax. I have a simple template that you can use or adapt to your project.
    Template sheet for beeswax cake tag.
  • Fold and attach tag:
    You can simply place your gift tag inside the bag. But, I think it looks very nice to embellish the tag in some way and attached it to the outside.
    Fold your tag and use a small hole punch to create a hole for ribbon or string. This will attach the label to your gift bag.
    Using a hole punch to create hole in tag.
  • Embellish gift tag front:
    For the front of the tag, you can decorate in any way. Something special that I like to do is use a simple bee outline stamp with some embossing ink and embossing powder. This create a unique raised bee design on the front of the cover.
    Let dry and then assemble your beeswax sewing cake gift bag. Your friends will be delighted.
    Bee stamp and embossing powder to create a gift tag for cake of beeswax gift image.
Learn more about bees and using products from the hive!Join me on Pinterest – @carolinahoneyb

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4 Comments

  1. Doni Juarez says:

    Thanks for all of the great articles!
    I have a quick question… just how is the sewing block used? As in, how do I apply the wax to the thread?
    Thanks!

  2. Charlotte Anderson says:

    You are welcome. In most cases, a length of thread of ran across the block – using your thumb to gently hold it against the wax. The friction and heat from your skin will cause a very light coating of wax to accumulate on the thread – this makes hand sewing much easier and I find less tangles too.

  3. Does the beeswax stain the thread?

  4. Charlotte Anderson says:

    No, beeswax should always be cleaned before using it for crafts projects. It should not stain anything.