How to Make Beeswax Christmas Ornaments with Cookie Molds
Creating handmade crafts is only one of many beeswax uses around the home. Some of these creations can last for years. Most of us have a special Christmas ornament that we remember hanging on the tree. Make a new tradition for your family with DIY Beeswax Christmas ornaments.
What is so special about beeswax? Well, it has many special qualities – and the story of where it comes from is miraculous. Beeswax is made by worker honey bees.
This all natural product is used for the actual building structure inside the hive. And, it’s not only bees that enjoy beeswax.
People use wax in many commercial applications and for creating crafts at home. You can make lotions, potions, lip balm, soap and more. Hundreds of handmade items include beeswax as a ingredient.
Beeswax Ornaments Have Traditional Flair
One of the easiest traditional beeswax crafts is casting ornaments. And various things around the household have been used as molds. In fact, anything that can stand up to the temperature of melted wax has probably become a wax mold at some time in history.
Using beeswax for Christmas decorations is not a new trend. Beeswax Christmas ornaments were an old world tradition.
It is believed that German bakers were the first to use tin cookie molds for beeswax ornaments. Now you can have a piece of history on your tree.
Making beeswax Christmas ornaments with cookie molds can be finished in one afternoon. They are ready to hang on the tree after cooling for a few hours.
Casting ornaments is a fun activity for young and old alike. It’s a great project to do as a family and involves few materials. With a few safety precautions, this is something that children can enjoy with supervision.
Materials needed for Beeswax Ornaments
- clay cookie mold – I use Brown Bag Molds – others will work
- mold release or vegetable oil
- container to hold melted wax
- material to use for ornament hanger
Melting Beeswax for Your Ornament
Beeswax is a wonderful substance to work with because of its low melting point. Beeswax has a melting point of about about 147° F.
We want to get the wax just hot enough to melt. It will discolor and turn dark if over heated.
The flash point of beeswax is 400° F . We do not want a fire so proceed with caution – not fear!
I am not a big fan of heating beeswax in a microwave. However, if you choose to do so: use a glass container and heat at short intervals at low power. This will take a while. Do not leave unattended.
Melting Beeswax in a Double Boiler
The safest way to melt beeswax is with the double boiler method. A double boiler has 2 pots.
The larger pot holds water. A smaller pot (containing the beeswax) sits inside the pot with water.
This process allows the wax to heat evenly and is considered a safer method.
Let’s Make Our Beeswax Christmas Ornament
- choose a clay cookie mold
- prepare your mold
- prepare hanger material
- melt wax and pour into mold
- insert the hanger into hot beeswax
- cover and cool your wax ornament
I like to use Brown Bag Cookie molds. They are becoming harder to find but I love the tradition. Pampered Chef and a few other companies also make clay molds.
The brand doesn’t matter as long as you choose a nice heavy duty mold. You may also find these mold in thrift stores, on Ebay and sometimes Amazon.
This Santa clay mold is one of my favorites. It has a nice deep cavity that will yield a thick sturdy ornament.
Choose Your Cookie Mold for Beeswax Ornament Casting
Place the mold on a table or counter. Don’t forget to protect the counter surface against spills. You want the mold to sit level. If it is not level, you will not be able to fill the mold full of wax without making a mess.
Prepare Your Clay Mold
It is important to use some type of mold release. This is especially true when you are using cookie molds with a lot of detail.
Your beeswax ornament will pop out of the mold much easier when you use mold release.
If you do not want to use a spray, some people report good results using vegetable oil. Lightly brush the inside of the mold. Just a thin coat is enough.
Should You Warm the Clay Mold?
Beeswax naturally contracts as it cools. Your beeswax Christmas ornament will be much nicer if your beeswax cools slowly. I do not recommend putting it in the refrigerator to speed the process – what’s the hurry?
Consider pre-warming your cookie mold before pouring the wax. A warm mold requires a little more time for the beeswax ornament to cool.
But, I think the end results are better. Some people choose to use a cool mold. It is personal preference.
Warming the Ornament Mold
There are 2 easy ways to warm your mold. (Do not wet your clay mold – we want it to be dry.)
Wrap the mold in a warm towel for a while before use. Let the heat transfer from the towel to the clay. Or, the easiest way for me is to plan on pouring the ornament twice.
The first time I pour my beeswax ornament, the wax will curl as it cools. The edges pull away from the clay mold. My second pour is always better.
So, I spray mold release on the mold. Pour my beeswax into the mold and wait for it to set (cool) enough to cleanly pop it out of the mold. Now, I pour a second time for my finished ornament complete with hanger.
Prepare Your Ornament Hanger
You can use any type of hanger for your beeswax Christmas Ornament. Wire, cord or ribbons are just a few possibilities for hanger material.
Choose your material and cut to a suitable length. You want enough length to push some down into the wax and still have enough to hang.
Pour Melted Wax Into the Mold
Pour melted beeswax into your prepared clay mold. You do not have to work fast but you want to pour the wax consistently.
Don’t have a lot of stops and starts. Continue until the mold is full and almost to the point of running over.
If you do have some run-over don’t worry, you can trim any excess off later.
The melted beeswax will start to cool and set right away. You will notice this first along the edges of the mold.
Then the surface will skim over. Let’s place our hanger quickly before the wax cools too much.
Insert Your Ornament Hanger
Bend the hanger into a U shape. Insert both ends into the melted wax.
If the hanger material starts to float to the surface, use a toothpick or similar object to gently press the hanger back into the wax.
In a few seconds, you can let go and it should stay in place.
Cover & Cool Your Wax Ornament Mold
As the surface (back side) of your beeswax ornament cools, the wax surface will become wavy.
Honestly, the slower the wax cools – the better it looks to me. My work room is cool this time of year.
My clay mold is sitting on a towel. Once I have finished pouring and inserting the hanger, I cover the mold with a cardboard box and place a towel over all. My project is left to slowly cool for a couple of hours.
Be Patient With Your Ornament Project
When you are making beeswax Christmas ornaments with clay cookie molds, things progress fairly quickly.
You can easily make 2 ornaments from the same mold in 1 day. But do not get into a hurry.
If you try to remove the wax before it has cooled, it may stick to the mold. This can become very messy. You will have the best results if you allow the wax to harden slowly – give it time.
Final Thoughts on Making Beeswax Christmas Ornaments
Congratulations! You did it. Or rather, you can do it. It’s time to polish your ornament with a soft cloth and hang it on the tree.
Making beeswax Christmas ornaments is a lot of fun. If you make a mistake, remelt the wax and try again.
Now if you want to add a bit of a folk art look to your project, be sure to read about making Blackened Beeswax Christmas Ornaments.