Beeswax is made entirely by bees. Hard to believe, once it is in your crock pot or melting pot, but it's true. Once melted, beeswax smells like warm honey. If I close my eyes, I can associate the scent with autumn, baked goods, and even cleanliness.
Speaking of cleanliness, beeswax actually cleans the air because it releases negative ions which helps rid the air of contaminants like dust and pollen. The science behind it is simple. Dust, dander, including pet dander, and other impurities float around on positive-charged molecules. Negative-charged molecules are drawn to opposite charges, where they attach and lower them to the ground. While the elements are not completely eliminated, they are brought down where they are easily cleaned through dusting and vacuuming, making them less likely to be breathed.
Although beeswax is smokeless, unlike petroleum based paraffin, if allowed to overheat, beeswax will begin to smoke and change color. If you don't have a temperature dial on your melting pot, and it begins to smoke or change color, you can simply turn off or unplug the pot for a few minutes.
Here are the necessary supplies you will need:
A dedicated crock pot or melting pot with a dedicated project pan or insert, or an electric griddle and several tuna sized cans.
Be sure to turn it on well in advance of creating your art.
It takes well over an hour
to melt even this small amount of wax in my crock pot.
You will also need
a canvas or block of wood for your substrate,
heat gun or iron (if iron is not specifically for beeswax, cover a regular iron with aluminum foil to keep the wax out of the steam holes)
tweezers (not shown),
a faux credit card,
various papers, napkins, any paper that doesn't have a shiny coating,
anything that will mark or color, as long as it is NOT acrylic (I have twistables and mica powders),
a dedicated natural bristle brush (not shown).
Before I could dip my tissue in the beeswax, I dropped my tweezers in the hot wax. After retrieving them, I failed to wipe the wax from my fingers.
Before I adhered the tissue to the board, I heated it. Then I added the wax laden tissue
and removed as many of the wrinkles as I could with my faux credit card.
Next, I performed the same steps with a napkin.
It was now time to add some color to the doily using the twistables. I've had these for at least five years, but don't use them because they are greasy and smear on my mixed media projects. But it seems I have finally found the perfect use for them. Several of my British friends just discovered them last year, but they get them in packages of 10, not five, like mine.
If I had used natural beeswax, instead of white, the doily would not have been so obvious.
Once down, I noticed the twistable color was being shifted away from the doily.
It was still way too stark for my taste.
I looked around to see what I could find to cover over this too bright addition.
That's when I came up with a portion of a dictionary page for the top,
and a lovely napkin for the bottom.
I never found a way to use the mica powders,
but now I wish I'd used some on the bright blue twistable that I didn't manage to cover.
1. Tissue paper and napkins are lovely and take the wax well. On the other hand, they do NOT adhere well to wood.
2. Old book pages, when dipped in beeswax, become transparent, while napkins become transluscent.
3. Twistables work well, but be sure you like the color you are using, or it compliments your piece.
4. I suggest using natural beeswax if you are going for a vintage feel and white beeswax for a modern feel.
5. One thing I discovered after I had worked on the project for awhile was to coat the wood with beeswax so the papers would have something to adhere to.
Thank you for your visit to my monthly tutorial. I learned a LOT, but have a long way to go before I can say I feel comfortable using beeswax. If you have played with beeswax and have any suggestions for me, please feel free to leave them in comments. The more I learn, the better I'll understand this very different product that acts as its own glue.
As soon as this goes live, I will add it to my Tutorials page under "First Experiments Using Beeswax."
Today is Day 10 of AEDM. I would love to have you join me every second Thursday of the month, where I experiment with a new (to me) product or technique and create a tutorial using it.