Long before we were able to buy colorful glass balls to decorate our trees. People made their own natural ornaments for the tree or home decoration. Now you can make your own tradition blackened beeswax Christmas ornaments to use for the holidays and keep for years to come.
Blackened Beeswax Ornaments for Christmas
The tradition of using wax for ornament making seems to have originated in Germany. German bakers were the first known to use tin cookie molds to create beeswax decorations. In colonial America this tradition continued.
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Many types of molds or forms were used to create beeswax projects. Stoneware cookie molds were a favorite and they are still used today. Just another one of many amazing uses for beeswax.
How to Darken Beeswax
In addition to the normal lovely appearance of beeswax, many crafters enjoy using paints, wax colorants and scents to make unique creations.
If you want a truly black wax project, using an artificial wax colorant is the most reliable method but it will not be a traditional folk-art craft.
Although, there are several ways to blacken wax the most common is with ground cinnamon. These directions will teach you how to create our own blackened beeswax ornaments using cinnamon and no other wax colorants.
Honestly, mine are more brown than black because of the type of cinnamon I choose to use. However, the process is exactly the same.
- mold release spray
Using clay cookie molds (such as the Brown Bag Molds – or similar) is one of the easiest ways to create ornaments with wax.
Any size mold will work well and those with a deeper depth are easier to work with and will produce a sturdier ornament. You do need a mold not a cookie stamp.
Many crafters love using the old Brown Bag Cookie molds – as I am in this project. I found mine on Ebay.
Prepare your clay cookie molds before pouring wax. They should be clean with no bits of dirt, dust, or debris inside the molds.
You do need clean wax for this project. The color of beeswax does not really matter – don’t pay extra for light colors. This natural wax is so easy to work with that melting it should be a breeze. The safest method is to use a double boiler.
You can use any type or brand of cinnamon. The darker – the better as we will be rubbing it into the wax surface.
1. Safely melt your clean wax. This is best done in a small double boiler that is dedicated to wax projects. Overheated beeswax can become flammable. Be careful – you only need to melt the wax.
2. Prepare your clay cookie mold. Buy a can of mold release – you will be glad you did. In a pinch, a light brush of olive oil can work.
3. For the first one, expect to make two pours. You might skip this step if your clay mold is already warm.
4. When the ornament is cool but still warm – remove from mold. Spread on a heavy coat of cinnamon and rub firmly. If you have trouble getting the cinnamon to stick – try warming the surface just a bit with a hair dryer.
Let everything cool again and use a brush to remove the excess cinnamon. Add a hole and string hanger and you are done.
Blackened Beeswax Christmas Ornaments Tutorial
- 8 ounces beeswax (net wt)
- 18 inches jute twine for hangers 3 pieces -6″ long
- 1 can Mold Release Spray or cooking spray
- Melt beeswax using the double boiler method. You do not want it to be extremely hot –just heat it enough to turn the wax liquid.
- Prepare your clay cookie molds (Brown Bag or other). They should be clean with no bits of dirt, dust, or debris inside the molds. Generously spray each mold with a coating of mold release or cooking spray. This helps remove the finished ornament from the mold.
- Use a level to ensure that your molds are setting on a level surface. Use small craft sticks, etc to make sure the mold is level both ways. This helps prevent wax from pouring over the side while filling.
- Cut the jute twine (or whatever your hanger choice material) into 6” lengths. They can be any length but 6” inches works well for me.
- Slowly fill the cookie mold with melted wax, do not overfill. Only fill one ornament at a time. As the wax cools in the mold, you will notice the wax pulling away from the edges. Once the wax is completely set but still warm – remove the ornament from the mold and throw it back in the melting pot. Seriously, this was a practice run. Now check that the mold is clean with no wax residue – spray again with mold release . Why throw away the first ornament? This practice run warms the clay mold and makes the second ornaments look better with less marring. (But you don’t have todo a test run if you don’t want to.)
- For our second try, again slowly fill the mold with melted beeswax. Once the mold is full ofwax you are ready to add a hanger. Take a hanger cord and push both ends down into the hot wax. Use a craft stick if necessary and hold the hanger under for just a few seconds.
- Within the next 15 – 20 minutes, the second pouring should cool enough to remove from the mold. While the beeswax ornament is still warm – rub ground cinnamon on the beeswax surface on both sides. This gives the beeswax ornament a grubby, folk-art look. Very cool.
- Some types of cinnamon are darker than others. I used Ceylon cinnamon because that’s what I had on hand. If you chose a darker cinnamon, your ornaments will take on a more blackened appearance.
- Safety Alert – Beeswax is flammable if overheated. Always melt wax with constant supervision and take all precautions to prevent fire or burns.
- Don’t skimp on the mold release or it will be difficult to remove your beeswax ornament.
- Make sure your cookie mold is sitting on a level surface.
Use Blackened Beeswax Ornaments Without a Tree
Well not everyone has a tree to hang ornaments on but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. Here are some ideas of how to use them even if you do not put up a tree.
- Use as part of a centerpiece for the table
- They can be used in lieu of regular place cards
- Special additions to a holiday wreath
- String a garland of ornaments across a window
This is a great folk art craft to recreated natural decorations for your home. I prefer the natural color and scent of fresh beeswax. However, you can add any fragrance approved for candle use to your wax ornament.