42 Things to Make with Beeswax
Armed with my new book, The Beeswax Workshop, and one pound of beeswax you can make dozens of compounds for your apothecary, your personal care, and for home comforts. Each recipe in the book uses only ½ to 2 ounces of beeswax, with less than a dozen recipes using larger amounts of this miraculous substance. Have a look at things to make with beeswax that will replace many of the toxic commercial products you are buying now.
Beeswax is the only natural wax. It has never been synthesized in a lab, so there is no chemical substitute that will do everything beeswax does. You might think you can use paraffin wax, a petroleum based wax in your home, in place of beeswax, but paraffin is toxic when it heats. When you burn paraffin it gives off toxic soot that harms indoor air quality. When used in personal care products the hydrocarbons in paraffin wax are absorbed through your skin, needing to be detoxed by your liver and kidneys. (Consider your liver next time you put that namebrand lip balm on your chapped lips.) Paraffin lacks the health benefits that beeswax offers to herbal remedies. Beeswax is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, soothing, and moisturizing. No other wax offers these benefits, except bayberry wax, a rare and dear vegetable wax.
Why is beeswax so dear?
Female honeybees produce beeswax from 4 pairs of wax glands on their abdomens. These glands are at peak production on worker bees for only 6 days, from 12 days to 18 days of life. Bees must consume 8 pounds of honey to produce just one pound of wax. But oh, what miraculous wax it is.
Beeswax is the only naturally occurring wax. Vegetable waxes must be rendered from fruit or leaves like bay berries or candelilla leaves. Other waxes like soy wax or paraffin are produced by a toxic chemical process. Beeswax is wax, right out of the beehive.
I’ve spent the last few months researching some of the amazing things beeswax has been used for through history. From paintings to funeral rites, from healthcare to household products, beeswax is the universal element that infuses our lives with comfort and sweetness.
Science is unable to manufacture a synthetic beeswax in the laboratory. Instead it provides us with toxic ingredients that mimic the jobs that beeswax performs for us. But these cheaper substitutes have a cost, in our health, our environment, and ultimately our bank accounts. Beeswax, on the other hand, can be grown in your garden, if you have a beehive.
A single beehive or bee colony may produce 100 to 200 pounds of extra honey, depending your climate, but most of the beeswax will remain in the hive for the bees’ use. A beekeeper will be able to retrieve just 2 to 4 pounds of excess wax from that same bee colony. If you ever wondered why beeswax is expensive, this is one of the reasons. However, one pound of beeswax is an incredibly sweet and beautiful substance. When you consider all the things you can make with beeswax, it isn’t actually expensive at all.
Things to make with beeswax?
With one pound of beeswax you can make:
- 37 tealight candles
- 3 pairs of taper candles for your dining room table
- 16 beeswax Christmas ornaments
- 20 different moisturizer or body butter recipes
- 20 different herbal remedy salves, balms, or ointments
- 4 solid blocks of fabric waterproofing
- Deodorant, perfume, hand moisturizer, lipstick, shampoo, and soap for you for a year
- 3 pounds of hard lotion bars for gifts
- An encaustic painting
- 6 blocks of solid beeswax for the workshop, to lubricate drawers, screws, or preserve tools
- A dozen tubs of wood polish to polish wooden floors, furniture, and cupboard doors
- 20 tins of food safe cutting board conditioner
- 16 tins of hair pomade or beard wax for your grooming needs
- 16 tins of Musher Paw Wax to protect your dog’s paws
- 280 tubes of lip balm
- 4 pounds of grafting wax for fruit trees, you could create a whole orchard with that!
- 2 emergency solid fuel stove/heaters
- 20 festive pinecone fire starters, for gifts
- 16 tins of leather dressing, shoe polish, or boot conditioner
- 27 tubes of archer’s wax
- 18 tins of bore butter, black powder lubricant, or bullet lube
- 55 tubes of rock climber’s hand balm, for the local climbing gym
- 12 bars of customized organic snowboard/ski wax or surf board wax, that won’t leave any Polytetrafluoroethylene to pollute the environment for hundreds of years
- 16 beeswax and cotton food wraps to replace the plastic wrap and Zipper bags in your kitchen
- 72 sticks of sealing wax, for wedding invitations, thank you cards, or to trade at the re-enactment faire
- 15 one ounce naturally coloured nontoxic crayons, safe enough for your littles
- 37 one ounce nontoxic oil pastels
- 18 nontoxic blocks of beeswax modelling clay for your Waldorf schooling friends
- 3 pounds of nontoxic plasticine-type modelling clay
- 100s of pysanka eggs and you can reuse the wax
- 40 tins of organic cork grease for your clarinet, saxophone, or oboe with enough to share
- 12 bars of solid beeswax for treating hand sewing thread so it doesn’t tangle
Or with one pound of beeswax you can:
- Polish and preserve a set of copper pots for years
- Season 4 cast iron frying pans and give them a non-stick coating
- Pre-treat 5 snow shovels so that the snow won’t stick
- Seal 100 mushroom log plugs
- Waterproof 8 pair of canvas shoes, 10 canvas hats, or 4 canvas rucksacks
- Preserve wooden garden beds without adding toxins to your organic garden
- Cover 6 pounds of homemade cheese with nontoxic wax
- Prepare swarm lures for 18 hive boxes for your apiary
- Hold 22 pounds of honey when formed into honey comb by the bees
- Mold 8 comb foundation sheets for a beehive
Those 42 things you can make with beeswax, barely scratch the surface. Beeswax is universally useful in your home.
How much does one pound of beeswax cost?
You pay for convenience. You pay for free shipping. You pay for custom preparations. You also pay for the level of refinement.
It’s quite likely that the beeswax that is closest to you, in your own neighborhood, rendered by your local beekeeper will be more expensive than the beeswax of commerce. But if your beekeeper is organic, it may be worth it to pay a little extra for local beeswax. Residues of the mitrocides and fungicides used in commercial beekeeping may be found in the wax, if the wax you buy is not organically grown.
Wax that you buy from your local beekeeper may contain propolis, residual honey, and bee parts. These will need to be rendered out for some uses. It’s easy to do this, but you’ll end up with slightly less weight of usable wax. Once it’s rendered it will be cosmetic grade/candle grade wax.
Let’s look at the price of beeswax available on the internet
New Directions Aromatherapy in Ontario (#noAffiliation)
Cosmetic grade beeswax $9.19 Cnd per lb (about $7US)
Cosmetic grade $9.25 Cnd per lb.
Cosmetic Grade $8 Cnd per lb. (Minimum orders apply)
Yellow Beeswax Pastilles $9.36US per lb.
Organic Beeswax Pastilles $17US/ lb
Cosmetic Grade Beeswax Pastilles $11.50US, free shipping with prime (Of course, this one is an affiliate link).
What does it mean?
As you can see the cost of cosmetic grade beeswax is around $9 US. The price gets lower per pound when you buy in bulk. You’ll pay more for pastilles and more for organic. But have a look again at all that you can make from one pound of beeswax.
Most of the recipes in my book, The Beeswax Workshop use less than 80 cents worth of certified organic beeswax pastilles, the most expensive form of beeswax. This same amount of cosmetic grade beeswax is less than 25 cents. A single tube of the name brand lip balm made from paraffin wax and petroleum jelly is $2 a tube. Beeswax based lip balm is also around $2 a tube. But you can make 4 tubes of lip balm with 50 cents worth of organic beeswax pastilles, plus a little olive oil, or coconut oil that you already have in the kitchen. In that light, natural beeswax is a bargain. And you’ll be helping your liver by NOT putting toxins on your lips. You’ll need lip balm tubes but you can reuse them or recycle ones you already have.
There’s so many things you can make with beeswax you’ll wonder why you waited so long to start using it.
In Canada – Amazon.ca