Beeswax: where to buy it, and what is it used for?

In this article I explain where you can buy natural beeswax and what it is used for. The links below will get you to the sections of the article which might be most relevant to you.

Where can I buy natural beeswax?

Buy it here!

Can you eat bees wax?

What is it used for?

Where can I buy beeswax?

Sign for Local Honey for Sale

I encourage you to track down a beekeeper who is local to you and ask them if they sell bees wax. In an earlier article (Where Can I Find Local Honey Near Me?), I explain how to find a local beekeeper (bee keeper = bees wax):

  • keep your eyes open for roadside ‘local honey’ signs (don’t be afraid to knock on the door and ask);
  • contact a local beekeepers association (for the UK visit the BBKA’s website);
  • search online for ‘local honey’ or ‘local beeswax’.

Shameless Plug

Natural beeswax block from beehive yourself.

Shamelessly, I would like to plug my own natural beeswax blocks. Made from the beeswax taken from my Downland apiary, it’s gently purified without resorting to chamicals – this preserves all its wonderful natural properties and aromas. You can make a purchase here.

Can you eat beeswax?

A section of honeycomb: bees use their wax to store honey.

People eat bees wax all the time, mainly in the form of honeycomb which is either placed in honey-filled jars or as honeycomb sections. As for eating it from a bar or block, you might wish to ask the seller how they processed the wax and whether they used any chemicals.

Lubricating thread (bookbinding)

Bookbinding: waxing thread using natural beeswax.

Many bookbinders prefer to wax their thread; it allows it to pass through the holes easier and avoids twisting. To wax the fibres, just run the string over a beeswax block — do so with a little pressure from your thumb over the thread. Some bookbinders even rub beeswax on their tools, it helps them to slip through the papers easier.

Burnishing leather (leather working)

Burnishing leather with beeswax.

Beeswax, when applied to leather as part of the burnishing process, smoothes and shines the edges of leather. Firstly, an edging tool works the leather, followed by sanding. Next, rubbing the wax along the edges of the leather and applying sufficient vigour, friction heats up the wax so it melts into the fibres. As well as producing a smooth and shiny finish, bees wax helps to protect the leather.

Beeswax crayons

Recipe for beeswax crayons

To make crayons: melt beeswax, pigment and another substance (grated soap, another wax, oils); the pour the liguid into moulds. Try this crayon recipe here.

A coating on metal (rust prevention)

Beeswax on metal

Beeswax applied to metal gives a cosmetic finish and protects it from rust. To coat with bees wax: heat up metal with a blowtorch – this allows you to rub and melt the block of beeswax onto the surface – distribute the wax using a wire brush. Let the metal cool down, then buff with a rag. This video shows you how.

Beeswax wraps

Wrapping a scotch egg in a beeswax wrap.

Wraps are a great was to store food – they are reusable, stylish, and don’t use plastic. You can make them by: choosing a piece of material and cutting to size; then place it on an ironing-board with grease-proof paper underneath; grate beeswax over the fabric; apply another piece of grease-proof on top; next melt the wax using an iron. This video shows you how.

A coating on wood

Applying melted beeswax to wood; this gives it a shine and protection.

Beeswax gives wood a lovely sheen, as well as nourishing it. There are two ways to apply this wax to wood: firstly, melt the bees wax (and keep it in a liquid state), then rub a wax-soaked rag over the wood; secondly, buy (or make) a bees wax polish and rub it into the surface with a rag. This video shows you how.

Beeswax candles – dipped wick method

Bees wax dipped-wick candles being made.

There are two methods of making candles: dipped wick and moulds. Churches commonly use dipped candles made from the lightest coloured (or even bleached white) beeswax.

With the dipped wick method, you dunk a wick in to liquid wax – the wax adhers to the wick and returns to a solid state once lifted out of the hot liquid. Then you leave the nascent candle to cool for a bit. Repeat the dunking and the candle gets thinker. It is worth considering that each candle needs an appropriate size of wick in relation to its girth – this ensures the candle burns efficiently.

You can purchase wicks and candlemaking paraphernalia here. This video shows you how to make them.

Beeswax candles – mould method

Making beeswax candles using moulds

Beeswax candles made from moulds allow you to create something remarkable. I am a big fan of silicone moulds because the finished candle is really easy to remove. To use a mould: attach the wick so it runs through the mould (elastic bands and pieces of wood are really useful for this), then pour in the hot wax and leave to set. This video shows you how, and the same company (National Bee Supplies) also sells moulds.

Beeswax foundation for beehives

Placing bees wax foundation into a hive frame.

Inside most beeehives are removable wooden frames. Usually each frame is accompanied with a sheet of cell-impregnated beeswax, called foundation, which honeybees draw out into comb. To support each beeswax sheet, foundation is commonly made with wire melted through it. Furthermore, most beekeepers buy foundation from suppliers rather than make it themselves; one company even swaps beeswax for foundation (see here).

Skincare: balms

Skincare: beeswax balm

Beeswax is nature’s sealant and helps to retain the skin’s moisure. When melted, this wax can be combined with oils (grapeseed and olive oil come to mind) and fragranced with essential oils, to create a balm. People with skin conditions, in my experience, seem to use balms without problems, unlike moisurisers – this is probably because balms don’t require chemicals. Dr Sarah Robb’s two books, ‘Honey Potions’ and ‘Beauty and the Bees’, contain many bee-related cosmetic recipes including ones for balms.


Lemongrass honeysoap is made with beeswax

Honeysoap contains several ingredients, one being beeswax which gives it firmness. Furthermore, many of my customers found this soap very kind to their skin. You can find out how to make it in Dr Sara Robb’s book ‘Honey Potions’.

Beeswax used in ‘lost wax casting’

Beeswax is used in lost wax casting

A sculpture crafted in beeswax, is the basis of a mould for casting metal. I summarise this process below.

The craftsman makes a sculpture using beeswax – sometimes combining it with clay. In addition, he attaches wax shapes to act as pouring holes and ventilation tubes, before dipping the sculpture in a clay slurry. Once dry, the craftsman heats the mould, which in turn melts the wax so it can be removed. The mould is ready for molten metal, such as bronze. Once poured, and after the metal cooled, he breaks the mould to reveal a metal copy of the beeswax sculpture.

Watch this video to see how.

Beeswax is used for making Pysanka (Easter eggs)

Bees wax use for pysanka (Easter eggs)

Pysanka are Easter eggs which are decorated using dyes. The artist applies beeswax to the egg (yes it is a real hens egg!) to act as a wax resist; meaning the wax prevents the dye colouring the area covered by it. Once finished, the artist applies gentle heat to the egg so she can wipe off the wax.

Watch this video to find out more, and also visit this artist’s website.

Beeswax firelighters

Flames from a fire lit with beeswax firelighters

Beeswax firelighters are an an effective way to start a fire, the main advantage being you are burning a natural substance rather than noxious chemicals. The principle of making these is this: you apply melted beeswax to dry burnable fuel or fabric. I make firelighters using linen-feel serviettes coated in wax and cut into strips; use the same method as wraps. Alternatively, you could dip dry kindling into wax.

Congratulations for getting this far

Honeybees on comb - made from bees wax.

This is a long blog and deliberately so; I wanted to show that beeswax is a versatile natural substance that has numerous applications.

If you found this article useful, please consider supporting this site by hitting the like button, making a comment, or visiting the shop. I do sell beeswax 🙂

A big thank-you.

I would love to know you thoughts, please leave a comment.

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