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For many families, homemade beeswax Christmas ornaments are a holiday tradition. Most of us have a special Christmas ornament that we remember hanging on the tree. Some of these creations can last for years with proper care. Make a new tradition for your family with DIY Beeswax Christmas ornaments.
Wax Christmas Ornaments
One of the easiest traditional beeswax crafts is casting ornaments. Your imagination can explore many things around the household to serve as molds.
In fact, anything that can stand up to the temperature of melted wax (170°F) has probably become a wax mold at some time in history.
A common product on many homesteads and farms, beeswax became popular in ornament making due to being so easy to work with. And, it was something that most farms either had on hand or could easily acquire.
Beeswax is made by worker honey bees. We use wax in many commercial applications and for creating crafts at home.
A popular method of creating wax Christmas ornaments was the use of cookie molds. They were often made of tin or clay. Today, the tradition continues with several companies making clay molds.
Traditional Beeswax Ornament Molds
Using beeswax for Christmas decorations is not a new trend. Wax 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.
Expert Beeswax Ornament Casting Tips
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.
This Santa clay mold is one of my favorites. It has a nice deep cavity that will yield a thick sturdy ornament.
Warming the Mold
Beeswax naturally contracts as it cools. Your beeswax Christmas ornament will be much nicer if your beeswax cools slowly.
Consider pre-warming your cookie mold before pouring the wax. A warm mold requires a little more time for the beeswax ornament to cool.
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.
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.
Storing Handmade Wax 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.
Beeswax melts at a temperature of about 147°F but it will bend at lower temperatures. After Christmas, wrap your ornaments in white tissue paper and store in a box in the closet – not in your attic!
Now if you want to add even more of a folk art look to your project, be sure to read about making Blackened Beeswax Christmas Ornaments. It gives them a unique look.
And honestly, there is no harm in buying some flashy bee-themed Christmas ornaments either. They offer color and flash that is hard to make in natural items.
Also, there are numerous small gifts you can make with a little beeswax. Don’t throw any away. Special projects such as these beeswax luminaries add a special touch to any occasion. Crafting with beeswax is so much fun!
Beeswax Ornament Tutorial
- 1 stoneware cookie molds
- Melting Beeswax: Beeswax has a low melting point of 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. The safest way to melt beeswax is with the double boiler method. This process allows the wax to heat evenly and is considered a safer method.
- Prepare Your Mold: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. 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.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.
- Prepare Ornament HangerYou 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 in MoldPour 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 Ornament HangerBend 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 and CoolAs 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.
- Remove Cooled OrnamentAfter several hours, remove beeswax ornament from mold. If it sticks, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.