tutorial :: making beeswax polish

Beeswax polish is almost always listed in my instructions for making peg dolls. But I realized something the other day.  Before I had ever made my first batch of beeswax polish, it seemed intimidating. What kind of wax should I buy?  How should I melt it? What kind of oil and how much should I add?  How should I store the polish once I've made it?

So, here is a tutorial, plus some additional information, which I hope will answer any questions you might have.  If you have more questions after reading this blog post, please feel free to email me.

-- Beeswax (resources for purchase are listed
    with links at the end of this supply list).

-- Oil (olive, sunflower, jojoba, or almond)

-- A small saucepan

-- A set of metal measuring cups (it's best to
    have a dedicated set for making polish)

-- A wooden skewer or something to use for stirring

-- Small storage containers

SOME NOTES ABOUT OILS :: I have tried to do a little research into properties of various oils -- especially the rate at which they go rancid.  As far as I can tell, as long as they are stored properly (i.e. in a cool place, away from light), olive oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil and almond oil all have the same shelf-life (about a year).  Many people use olive oil when making polish because it's on hand for cooking.  If the olive oil I have on my shelf has a strong smell, I reach for sunflower oil which has no smell, allowing the beeswax aroma to shine through.  Jojoba and almond oil are fine, but most people don't keep them on hand.  I encourage you to use whatever you happen to have at home rather then buying special oil for your beeswax polish.

SOME MORE NOTES ABOUT OTHER SUPPLIES ::  I use these beeswax sheets from Glory Bee for making polish, and you can also find blocks of beeswax from Glory Bee and Mountain Rose Herbs.  For storage, I like the round tins found here and here.

STEP 1 ::  Put approx. 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water in the sauce pan. Add a small amount of beeswax to the 1 cup (240 ml) measuring cup and place the base of the measuring cup into the water. Put the saucepan onto the stove-top over a medium-low flame until the water maintains a low simmer.  As the beeswax melts, add more wax to the measuring cup until it's approx. 1/4 full of melted beeswax (this would amount to 2 liquid ounces or 60 ml).

STEP 2 :: Pour in 1/4 cup (2 liquid ounces/60 ml) oil and use a metal spoon, chopstick or bamboo skewer to gently stir, making sure the oil and wax are combined.

I like my polish to be approx. 50% oil, 50% beeswax so that, once the polish cools and hardens, the consistency is similar to lip balm.  You might prefer a little less wax and a little more oil, or more wax and less oil; my suggestion is to experiment with ratios and see what suits you best.

STEP 3 ::  Pour half the melted polish into the 1/2 cup (120 ml) measuring cup and half the polish into the 1/3 or 1/4 measuring cup and allow to cool.  You can speed up the cooling process by putting the measuring cups containing the beeswax in the refrigerator or freezer.

STEP 4 ::  Once the polish has fully hardened, rap the measuring cup on the kitchen counter and the cake of polish should pop right out (if it doesn't pop out, put it back into the refrigerator for a while).  Store in a small container. Alternatively, you can pour the liquid melted wax polish directly into a small metal storage container or a 4 ounce (60 ml) mason jar. Allow the wax polish to cool and harden in place, then store it in the container where it has hardened.

STEP 5 :: To use the polish, scrape a small amount off the top of your little wax-cake and then, with a paper towel, rub the polish into the wood until there is very little residue left on the surface.  You can also use this polish as a balm for dry hands and feet.

CLEANING UP :: Due to the fact that it's difficult to completely remove waxy residue, I have a dedicated set of measuring cups for making polish. However, it's important to clean everything as thoroughly as possible, because after a period of time, any oil residue will go rancid and can contaminate the next batch of polish (the wax won't go rancid, but the oil will).  I've tried several ways to clean my measuring cups and have found the best way is as follows: boil a pot of water, quickly dip the waxy measuring cups in the very hot water and then wipe off the wax with a paper towel.  Try to avoid getting wax in the sink as it can build up and cause a clog in the drain.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this out. I love your peg people and need to make more for my kids.


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