After our honey harvest we made sure to save all the beeswax cappings from the frames and any extra beeswax we could get from the extractor. Beeswax is a miraculous material. It takes bees four pounds of honey to make one pound of beeswax. Beeswax is used by bees as not only a storage container for honey, but a filter to keep the hive air clean as it filters the air that is circulated through it by the bee’s wings. That’s why beeswax candles are so good to have in your home. Even if they are not lit- they are helping to detoxify the air around you.
We had left the harvested beeswax on a plate in the backyard for the bees to pick through and remove all traces of honey and pollen but we knew for safety’s sake we still needed to melt it down and strain out all impurities. First step- grating the wax down into consistent pieces.
Beeswax is highly flammable so it is important to use a double boiler to melt the wax down slowly, constantly observing and stirring.
Next we strain the dark wax through a cheesecloth and voila! Beautiful creamy yellow beeswax emerges. We are ready for crafting.
We decided to start slow and stick with making simple, straight-forward lip balms, and waxed fabric squares which can be used as a kind of recycled Saran wrap. Wrapping things like cheese, cut vegetables, fruit, even sandwiches in this will keep perishables from exposure to the air.
If you want to do this craft and don’t have a hive – don’t worry- beeswax is available online at Brushy Mountain Bee Company.
Our recipe for the lip balm consisted of:
- One part melted organic beeswax
- 2 parts Shea Butter
- 2 parts Coconut Oil
- 20 drops essential oil, like Peppermint
- 1 tablespoon Almond oil
Mix all the above into a glass dish and melt together constantly stirring in a large pot of nearly boiling water with the heat turned off. When all the material is melted together and smooth, use a pipette to pour into pre-sanitized chapstick tubes or lip balm containers. We got ours from Brushy Mountain Bee Supply Company.
It was so much fun watching how quickly the oils and wax harden in the containers. You can even control how firm you want your lip balm by testing the consistency of the material on a piece of parchment paper, letting it harden (takes about 2 minutes) and deciding it you prefer a firmer or more viscous texture.
Next we tackled our homemade Saranwrap project.
So easy! Line parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle beeswax on a pinking shear-cut piece of regular fabric. (We used Brushy Mountain beeswax on this, we wanted to reserve the hive beeswax for the skin products.)
Put cookie sheet into a 280 degree oven for about 4 minutes or until beeswax melts. Brush melted wax over fabric evenly, making sure to cover all edges. Immediately life off of parchment paper and place to harden on freezer paper or another piece of parchment paper. Wax will instantly harden.
This project is such fun for kids because it is immediately gratifying. To use the waxed fabric simply wrap up any food items that needs protection from air and refrigerate. Fabric can be washed in cold water and left to dry afterwards.
This was such a fun way to spend time with friends! Michelle and I are getting together soon to use the rest of my beeswax for body butter and we will post that lesson too.
Posted by: Miranda Sevcik