Beeswax has all sorts of creative and practical uses. Naturally made by honey bees, it lasts forever, never expires, and makes beautiful candles, beauty products, batik fabrics, and more.
I also use it to make handmade beeswax food wraps, an eco-friendly alternative to disposable plastic cling wraps.
What to Make With Beeswax
This rather plain looking block of beeswax (above) has countless creative and practical uses due to its unique properties.
Not only is it all natural—produced by honey bees—but it never goes bad and can be repeatedly heated and reheated. This means any leftovers from your projects can be saved for future use.
If you are new to beeswax, I have shared some interesting facts about beeswax here.
If you looking for sources, see these tips for purchasing beeswax.
1Beeswax Food Wraps
Beeswax wraps offer an eco-friendly alternative to plastic food wrap.
Basically, cotton fabric is lightly coated in melted beeswax creating a water-resistant surface. The fabric is still pliable and folds nicely around food items for packed lunches or to cover bowls of leftovers in the fridge.
Beeswax wraps last for many uses (mine are still going strong after a year) and can be re-coated in beeswax for a longer life or buried in the garden as compost.
How to Make Beeswax Wraps is packed with information or you can get the ebook with complete instructions.
How to Make Reusable Beeswax Wraps
by Melissa J. Will
Complete instructions for making beeswax food wraps for food storage that avoids plastic waste.
This ebook is a digital file (PDF format) you save to your device (not a physical product).
PayPal, Credit Card, Apple Pay
Due to tax regulations, digital purchases to EU, UK, and Northern Ireland are not available at this time.
2Preserve Decorative Leaves
This project comes from my childhood. Collect freshly fallen fall leaves and dip them in melted beeswax. This provides a protective coating that keeps the leaves looking colorful for weeks or months.
These leaves also look beautiful on a fall table or mantle or can be added to a child’s crown for creative play.
There are several ways to make beeswax candles, either by pouring the melted wax into some sort of heat-resistant container and adding a wick or dipping weighted wicks into melted wax.
- Beeswax tealights in seashells | Project instructions at Gardentherapy.ca
- Beeswax candles in jars | Project instructions at Abeatutifulmess.com
- Dipped beeswax candle | See video below
4Lotions, Creams, and Balms
Beeswax has been used for thousands of years in all sorts of cosmetics and beauty products including barrier creams, lip balm, lip gloss, hand creams, salves, moisturizers, eye shadow, blush, eye liner, mustache wax, hair pomades, and dental fillings (seriously).
Watch out for commercial products today that list beeswax as an ingredient. They boast about the beeswax but fail to mention that there are often a bunch of undesirable artificial scents, additives, chemicals, and petroleum projects as well.
Make your own so you know exactly what you’re getting.
- Homemade lip balm | Project instructions at Hearthandvine.com
- Healing foot balm | Project instructions at Gardentherapy.ca
- Honey, oats, and beeswax soap | Project instructions at Lovelygreens.com
5Polishes and Protectors
Because a coating of beeswax creates a water-tight barrier, it can be used to protect and polish various wood finishes and lubricate sticky finishes.
- Garden tools can benefit from a buffing with beeswax to protect and lubricate blades.
- Dubbin is used to protect and polish leather shoes and boots. Recipes vary but often it is made from a combination of beeswax and lard. | Dubbin recipe at globalflyfisher.com
- Beeswax wood polish | Project instructions at Lovelygreens.com
Also useful for cutting boards, and lubricating sticky doors, cabinet drawers, and windows.
- If you are sewing or crafting with needle and thread, beeswax can be very handy for coating thread and preventing it from twisting and tangling.
6Arts & Crafts
For many years, beeswax was used as the ‘resist’ for batik fabrics, basically blocking dye from reaching the protected areas of the cloth so designs and patterns can be formed.
Pure beeswax is no longer the top choice for batiks, as it can be time-consuming to remove from the fabric. When I had a hand-dyed fabric business for quilters, I actually used children’s glue as a resist. It’s not natural but it’s very easy to use and washes out readily.
That said, if you love traditional crafts, give it a try.
- Traditional batik on fabric using beeswax resist | See how it’s done
- Traditional Easter eggs can also be made using beeswax resists.
- Beeswax candle bowls | tutorial here
Quick & Interesting Beeswax Facts
For those who are not familiar with it, here are a few facts.
- Beeswax is a beautiful, honey-scented natural material.
- Beeswax is produced by bees (secreted from abdominal glands) to build combs where the store their food (pollen, nectar, and honey), lay their eggs, and raise the young bees.
- Beeswax taken straight from the hive contains all sorts of dirt and debris. This is normal and is filtered out during the rendering process by beeswax producers.
- Beeswax never goes bad and can be heated and reheated repeatedly.
- In storage, beeswax may develop a powdery-white coating called bloom. It is harmless, not a mildew, and can be easily removed.
- Beeswax works nicely for candles because it is flammable. I found contradictory information online but the melting point seems to be around 64°C (147°F) and the flash point is approximately 204°C (400°F). For home use this means you need to monitor the temperature when melting beeswax to ensure you stay within safe temperature ranges.
- When purchasing beeswax, always make sure you are buying a pure product. Many items sold as beeswax or said to contain beeswax actually contain much higher volumes of other waxes such as paraffin which is made from petroleum products.
Beeswax Sources & Buying Tips
- Before you buy anything, decide on a project so you know how much beeswax you will need.
- While you can buy it on Amazon.com (see different examples here to check prices), my first choice is to purchase beeswax from local beekeepers.
- Try a google search for a beekeeper’s association in your area. Many have farm stores or online shops. If you don’t see beeswax listed, be sure to ask just in case it’s available by special request.
- If you are willing to clean and filter it yourself, you will have even more options at a lower price. I pay between approximately $6/pound of clean beeswax at a local apiary.
- If you are in Ontario, Canada, The Ontario Beekeepers Association is an excellent resource for all things bee-related in my area. There are similar groups throughout North America.
- Most projects require melting the beeswax in a dedicated double-boiler or crock pot. Try to get one at a thrift shop and use it only for crafting, not food preparation.
- You will also need a food thermometer to keep the temperature of the melted wax in safe range to avoid burning.
Now go get some beeswax and start crafting!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛