After seeing the feedback from my last post, I decided to make for you a tutorial on how to make them. I don't make tutorials very often, so I hope I can make it clear for everyone. If it's not clear, don't hesitate to let me know in the comments :)
At first, I decided to make beeswax ornaments because I love how they look and smell, because I already had the materials, and most of all, as a crafter and artist, I love to challenge myself and try new crafts, new methods, new materials all the time. Beeswax is one of those addicting ones.
I've talked in many past posts, about rhythm, and how I constantly try to make sure we (our family) slow down our rhythm in life, to make sure we enjoy each day to the fullest. Beeswax has a rhythm. A slow one. You can't rush it. It will melt when it's ready, and you can't remove your shape until it's completely set. You have to be patient. It's not a craft you can do in half an hour from beginning to end. In fact, it takes me about 45 minutes to melt my wax alone! But, if you show patience, you will see it's rewards!
Let's begin, shall we?
First, you need some good quality beeswax. I buy my blocks at the local farmers market. I love to support local businesses, and also, I love the colour and smell of their wax. If you're not happy with the colour of the beeswax you find (some are more golden, some more brownish), you won't be happy with your end result. It's like the rule about cooking with wine: Only cook with wine that's good enough to drink or your meal won't taste good! LOL.
I have dedicated work tools for beeswax. It's wax, it's hard to wash, so keep this in mind. The pot was thrifted, the acorn pan is actually a muffin pan, and I bought a new measuring cup (this one has a 4 cup capacity). However, I didn't feel like buying a new cutting board, so I cover mine with parchment paper, and it does the trick. I also use a bamboo spoon (one made for 1 time uses), so if it cracks eventually, it can go. You could also use an old metal (but not rusty) spoon, this would work just fine.
With that said, I don't have a beeswax only knife. I have two chef knives in my kitchen, so I use the one I like least for the beeswax. It's hard to wash after, but doable with patience.
First, you take your block of beeswax and you cut it in chunks. Don't forget your parchment paper! Beeswax is hard, so I find it easier to chop corners. Just keep turning, you'll always have a point to work with.
I usually have about 2-3 cups of chopped beeswax when I start, but then it melts down to much less than that.
When lots of beeswax is now melted, you can use your spoon to try and break/cut apart the solid chunk that will have formed in the bottom. The more you break it up, the faster it will melt.
You can add more chopped wax as you go, if you feel it won't be enough.
NOTE: While your waiting for your wax to melt, now would be a great time to make your twine loops, so you can hang your ornaments, if you desire. I use hemp chord, but you could use anything you wish. Cut the desired length, and make a knot at the bottom of your loop.
When your wax is melted, you can reduce your heat to low, to just keep it melted.
Carefully hold a cloth underneath. You don't want water to drip in the moulds your about to use.
Carefully pour the wax in your mould until pretty much full. I like to leave about 1 mm clearance, so it won't spill out when I put the hemp chord in. Only pour 2 or 3 ornaments at a time, so they don't set before you're ready to put that chord!
Take your chord, and set the knot into your shape. Try to cover the knot in the wax completely, while making sure not to touch the bottom with your chord, since you don't want the chord to show in the front when it's set.
This part may seem tricky to some, but it's not too difficult, especially if your using moulds as deep as mine (it's almost 1 inch thick!). If you use something shallow, this step could be a bit more difficult.
Repeat with a couple more moulds, and so on, until you have as many as you like.
When you are done pouring your beeswax and have your chords in, carefully place your mould into the freezer. I leave my pan in for about 10 minutes.
When I take it out, the wax has already set. Funny thing about beeswax, is that it shrinks when it cools off. That's why I don't need to worry about putting any oil or anything else in my pan before pouring the wax in.
Sometimes, if the wax feels a bit stuck, I just gently push with my finger on one side of the mould and you feel it loosen.
And ta-da! You just made a beeswax ornament!
I lay my ornaments on a baking sheet layered with parchment paper, until all my ornaments are at room temperature. Sometimes I leave them until the rest of the day, just to be safe.
It's a bit of a long process, (it took me about 1 1/2 hours to do a bit less than the whole pan of acorns), but it's so worth it! And it makes your house smell amazing!
I hope this tutorial was clear? And if you decide to make some of your own, I would love to know how it turned out!
I've also added a few sets of these ornaments to my shop, if your interested in them :)