How to Make your own Beeswax Wood Conditioner

June 15, 2014 | Posted in: Blog

There are so many chemicals in everything now days, I have a hard time believing some product labeling. I make my own toy and cutting board finishes because I want my customers, as well as myself, to feel good and safe about what they are buying. I am even so extra careful with my baby toys, as to go as far as designating a “wood toy finishing zone”. I only use my special beeswax/oil mixture in that area and keep all my other finishes away.

I was whipping up a new batch the other day and thought I would do a little documenting in case someone wanted to learn to make it themselves. I even use my beeswax mixture as an all natural lip balm.

Firstly, here is a pic of all the things you will need to make this wonderful mixture.

DSC_1051 Things you will need:

Block of Natural Beeswax

Jojoba oil

Vitamin E Oil (If you are going to be using it as a lip balm, which is awesome)

Cheese grater

Glass Measuring Cup

Handy Spatula, or Scraper

A Microwave or Double Boiler

Glass Storage Container or Tins with Covers

For my kids toys and teethers, I use jojoba oil as my “oil of choice”, but another option is Mineral Oil. For more info on both oils, click the links. I generally use a mineral oil/beeswax mixture for all my cutting boards and other kitchen items. Mineral oil is food safe and also safe as  toy finish.   It is a lot more economical for larger batches of finish. I do not recommend using olive oil as it will tend to go rancid over time.

Grab that hunk of beeswax and start grating. The shavings make it easier for the wax to melt into the oil. Ignore those shoulder cramps, push through the pain! (Watch your knuckles) I put a paper towel underneath to catch my wax, but you could also grate right into your measuring cup if your grater fits.

DSC_1052Depending on how much finish you want to make, grate as much or as little as you want for your batch. The wax keeps much better if left in the block.  It does not dry out as fast.

Put your shavings into your glass measuring cup.

DSC_1054Here is the tricky part; I have found there is no perfect ratio for me. A ratio of roughly 3 parts Oil to 1 part Wax is a general estimate. I recommend starting with a little batch until you get the hang of what consistency you like. A little more oil if you want it runnier, a little more wax if you want it more firm and paste-like. After putting your shavings in your cup, there is a lot of air in there. I like my finish a little on the soupy side, so I add a bit more oil, so roughly 4 to 1.

Add a little Vitamin E if you plan on making lip balm, and if that is the case, you want a bit more wax and less oil. See, just go with it.  A little trial an error is a good thing.

Next, place your glass measuring cup in the microwave for roughly 2-3 minutes depending on your machine. Or use a double boiler if you do not have a microwave. Keep an eye on it until all the wax is melted.

DSC_1055You can leave your mixture in the cup and stir it as it cools, scraping the sides as it does so. Or you can pour it into a glass seal-able container. It takes a long time for it to cool, so please be patient. I also sell small 2 oz. containers of my finish for folks who would like to purchase it, so in this case, I just use my measuring cup and pour the mixture right into my tins.

DSC_1056

DSC_1057

DSC_1058Here is a batch I made earlier with mineral oil.

Let it cool all the way and it is ready to apply. As a wood finish, you need to apply it liberally. Use your hands or a rag, either works great. Let it soak in for a decent period of time, then wipe off the excess. With some woods, you might need to apply a second coat. Re-apply when you see your wood board, toy, or other naturally finished wooden item seems to be drying out.

DSC_1059Here is what the jojoba/beeswax mixture looks like when it is cooled. You can purchase a clear jojoba oil if you don’t like the yellow coloring of the golden jojoba oil, but they do the same great job.

I have friends that help me finish my wood toys when I am in a pinch. They always comment on how smooth and supple their hands feel afterward. Just make sure you wash your hands with soap when you are done finishing. Or you will have oily hand prints where they don’t belong!

Please let me know if you have any questions on this process.

Have fun!

-Kate

2 Comments

  • Laura Thompson says:

    So glad to have found this recipe for conditioning my cutting boards and wooden utensils! I assume that after the beeswax is grated you add the mineral oil before microwaving? However, it would seem melting it separate would give a more accurate ratio. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Laura

  • Oak Tree Arts says:

    Hi Laura, I melt it all together in the microwave.

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