Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bee’s Wax Solstice Ornaments

by Marci Tsohonis
Originally published in the Nov/Dec '17 issue of The Essential Herbal

I have a tradition of making Winter Solstice ornaments for our tree and for gifting, because they are hard to find in gift shops or online.  In years past, I have made clay, quilted, embroidered and felted wool ornaments.   I am making solar ornaments with Bee’s wax this year. 
Do you have Brown Bag clay cookie molds in the back of a drawer somewhere?   
You know, the ones you saved for making that cool homemade paper-craft project you have always meant to try?   I did!  Wax ornaments are my favorite way to use them now.  Some of the molds are too large for ornaments, but others are just perfect.  If you don’t have any, you can sometimes find them on the cheap at Antique stores.  I have acquired several that way.
I want to make a rubber mold of our Sol doorbell because it is the perfect size for a tree ornament. 
I could not locate any rubber mold making kits in our town, only acrylic clay mold material.  It didn’t hold the pressed image well, or, I didn’t do it correctly.  It lost some details when the clay relaxed.  I have since learned Amazon has the rubber mold material, but I couldn’t get it delivered in time to use it for this article. 
To make wax ornaments in the clay cookie molds, first spray 2-3 clean molds lightly with vegetable spray.  Arrange the molds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper so you can reclaim any spilled wax.  Melt about 1 to 1½ cups of bee’s wax to 60 degrees in a wax-melting pitcher (or other small, metal container) in a saucepan with 2 inches of simmering water.   The metal container will allow the wax to stay fluid long enough to pour it into a few molds.  Using a ladle will not work well.  The edges cool so quickly that any pouring irregularities will be highly visible. 
Add one half teaspoon of Cassia essential oil to melted wax after it has cooled to 50 degrees.  Pour into cavities immediately, slightly under-filling each mold.  Tap the edge of the mold on the counter and release over a soft towel after they have cooled an hour or two.  Most will pop out of the cookie molds very easily.  If they don’t, refrigerate them for about 20 minutes and try again. 
To create a smooth hole for ribbon or string, heat the end of an ice pick or narrow paring knife over a stove burner or candle.  Press lightly, and the hot metal will easily pierce through the wax to create a smooth hole in the ornament.  If the edges are rough or irregular, heat the flat side of a butter knife and quickly smooth it over those areas of the ornament.  
 Happy holidays! 

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