Working with Beeswax

An old 2010 blog post that I am repurposing as this trick of the trade is well worth sharing again!


Over the years, the girls and I have had a love/hate relationship with modeling beeswax. In Waldorf circles, the wax is an integral part of a child’s crafting and education. It is natural, safe and has such a soothing and beautiful smell. The color choices are endless and when left with their imagination – children can create the most beautiful scenes and items… the experience doesn’t even come close to playdough or clay.
The difficulty (and frustration) that we often had with working with modeling beeswax was that it is very hard when it comes out of the packaging… and in order to manipulate the material, it must first be warmed until it becomes soft and workable.

The positive to this is that it supports what we are trying to teach the children in this super fast paced world…. that our creations, our art and our time should be spent mindfully and slowly – with patience and love. Warming the beeswax is just as much a part of the process as modeling with it is… which is one of the many reasons I love the Waldorf model of education, as it keeps the whole child and the whole experience in mind.

The negative to this is that it can become very challenging (especially when working with large groups or when wanting to use more than one color to create)… to warm the beeswax in your hands **all** of the time. So, we experimented with various techniques… using a warm blow dryer beforehand or tucking the wax under our arms as we worked on another activity. And sometimes it was good that way… but more often, the children lost interest and would choose something else to work with knowing the process would take a very long time.

It wasn’t until we took Stockmar’s instruction to place our wax in warm water before working with it that we REALLY began to enjoy the experience.

The girls are SO hooked. They will sit for hours creating full scenes and then playing them out… they make faces, and hair, and flowers, and trees… rivers and fish and I could go on and on…

Today they made flower children…. it is one of many simple tutorials that Stockmar offers HERE

For young children, I sometimes have them hold/warm a bit of modeling beeswax during nap time… its something soothing and quiet to do with their hands as they drift off and the smell is just as calming.

Here are the girls’ flower children… but the fun didn’t stop here..

Then they found every little ball that was leftover around our house and warmed it to make ‘accessories’…

Here is a little scene they set up with a river (the blue silk), a bridge (the rocks), a boat (a flat piece of blue Agate) and their flower children and ‘food’…

I had to pull them away to eat dinner and get ready for bed… and then they begged for a few more minutes to play….

The product is not cheap… but can be used over and over again. And, I think, that our children should be given the gift of working with quality material and learning to appreciate and care for their supplies.


3 thoughts on “Working with Beeswax”

  1. Thank you for posting this, as I have the same frustration with beeswax. We will try the warm water and see if that inspires more interest! Also, love the cozy woolies on the girls!;)

  2. Thank you for posting this, as I have the same frustration with beeswax. We will try the warm water and see if that inspires more interest! Also, love the cozy woolies on the girls!;)

  3. I'm so glad you posted this! I just ordered beeswax for my children and my preschool class. We've never played with it before, so it's nice to have a little preparatory advice!!!!

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