Paper Crafts How to Make Beeswax-Coated Paper

Published on October 16th, 2011 | by Julie Finn

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How to Make Beeswax-Coated Paper

Hand-dipping paper in beeswax gives it the patina of an antique and is a chemical-free way to preserve it. Here’s how to make your own beeswax paper.

How to Make Beeswax-Coated Paper

Beeswax-coated paper has a lot of uses.

The yellow patina lent by the smooth beeswax coating makes paper an instant antique, a perfect look for many scrapbooking, card making, and altered book projects. Or perhaps you’re more interested in the waterproofing effect of the beeswax–a beeswax-coated paper bunting is one outdoor party decoration that won’t be ruined by a rainy day.

And just as with beeswax leaves, beeswax-coated paper is, while perhaps not archival, certainly preserved. A beeswax-coated newspaper clipping can live in a shadow box of other mementos without crumbling to dust, and your grandmother’s hand-written recipe card, coated in beeswax, is safe from all tomato sauce stains while you use it.

To make your own beeswax paper, read on:

How to Make Beeswax-Coated Paper

I’ve said it many times in many tutorials, and I will likely say it many, many more times: a crockpot devoted to crafting is an invaluable resource. Get one from a thrift store near you.

In a double-boiler or crock pot devoted to crafting (get one!), heat a block of beeswax until melted. In your crockpot, this can be done with either the Low or Hot settings, but not the Keep Warm.

When the beeswax is melted, simply dip one piece of paper calmly but quickly into and out of the beeswax. Don’t attempt to immerse the entire sheet–keep your fingers safe!

How to Make Beeswax-Coated Paper

Hold the paper aloft over the beeswax pot until it’s finished dripping. Continue to hold it up for just another minute until the beeswax coating is solid and cool.

Turn the paper around and dip the uncoated end, trying to overlap as little as possible the paper that you’ve already coated. Again, hold the paper aloft until melted beeswax has finished dripping from it, and the beeswax coating is solid and cool.

How to Make Beeswax-Coated Paper

We use beeswax paper for so many things in our house: we make paper luminaries out of it, and weather-resistant buntings, and Christmas ornaments. I scrapbook with beeswax paper, coat newspaper clippings in it to preserve them, and dip sheets of poetry or old dictionary pages in melted beeswax to “antique” it. My girls use beeswax paper in any number of art and science projects, almost daily it seems.

Thank goodness for well-loved art supplies!


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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



11 Responses to How to Make Beeswax-Coated Paper

  1. Lacey Hays says:

    I love doing paper crafts and I have been looking for a way to waterproof my projects! Thanks for posting this. As soon as I can find a good source of beeswax, I am going to try this.

  2. Sew Natural says:

    great idea! must try soon :) Could this work on fabric as well?

    • Julie Finn says:

      We usually paint beeswax on the wrong side of fabric to make beeswax fabric, which is a natural alternative to oilcloth or laminated cotton. I don’t see why you couldn’t dunk your fabric, though, if you had a use for fabric coated on both sides with beeswax.

  3. JIm Stewart says:

    I am trying to do a large sheet, and since it won’t fit in my crok poit,I have to paint it on. It cools and dries so fast, its too thick. Should I dilute it with turpentine or linseed oil?

    • Julie Finn says:

      I don’t know how diluting it would work–experiment time! Another possibility would be to thrift a big old baking pan with edges, put some beeswax in the pan, heat it in the oven (keep it under the flashpoint!), carefully remove it from the oven when the beeswax is liquid, and dip the paper into that.

  4. Pingback: How-to: Beeswax and Fabric Scrap Ornaments

  5. Juiny C. says:

    This is interesting and I’m gonna share this information with others. In fact, beeswax has many uses. Beeswax is great for making candles, lotions, lip balms…etc.

  6. Leanne B. says:

    Hello there,
    I have several spice jars with white lids that I’m look to decorate. However, I’m leery about using paints or dyes on something that will store food-stuffs for long periods. I’m wondering if you think this beeswax dip would allow me to create paper of perhaps cloth coverings for the lids that would be able to stand up to regular kitchen use. I can’t see them needing to be actually washed very often, if at all, but they’d probably require a wipe with a damp cloth on occasion. Also, I am wondering if the beeswax could also double as an adhesive (the next problem to solve in my project).
    Thanks,
    Leanne

  7. Sarah says:

    Hi Julie,
    I am making a board book for a friend of mine who is having a baby in December. My experience with these things is that kids love to teethe on board books as much as they enjoy “reading” them. Do you think beeswax could make a good, non-toxic coating for the pages? I’d appreciate any insight you can give!
    Thanks,
    Sarah

    • Julie Finn says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t think that beeswax would work. It is non-toxic, but it will wear off with all the use it’s going to get. A lot of people enjoy making felt books for babies, because you can use either wool or recycled plastic felt, and they’re washable.

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