Published on June 26th, 2015 | by Julie Finn1
How to Dye Wax with Crayons from Your Stash
You don’t need expensive wax dyes to turn your natural wax of choice a vibrant color. Here’s how to dye wax with crayons that you probably already have.
Wax in its natural state–beeswax, soy wax, whatever wax you like–is lovely, but it isn’t all the colors of the rainbow, and sometimes?
Sometimes, you just want all the colors of the rainbow. And that’s okay.
You CAN buy wax dyes online, or at any big-box crafts store, but you also don’t have to. For instance, I want rainbow beeswax candles without having to buy, own, and therefore store seven bottles of candle coloring. So the following is the method that I use. It’s not remarkably more eco-friendly than store-bought dye, but it does use supplies that I already own (and that I already have too much of, frankly!), it’s easy and fun, and the color possibilities are quite vast.
Here’s what I do!
How to Dye Wax with Crayons
You will need:
wax. I’m using beeswax, but any wax will work for this, as long as you remember that the ratios I’m about to describe to you won’t be the same for different waxes, so you’ll want to do a little experimenting. Soy wax, in particular, is absolutely notorious for requiring a LOT of dye to get a nicely saturated color.
crayons. I’m using regular old Crayola crayons here–it’s not a natural choice of colorant, but when I want my candles to be completely natural, then I leave them undyed. You can try soy or beeswax crayons, if you’d rather, but you should know that pretty much all “natural” crayons–even, yes, that gold-standard Stockmar brand–do contain paraffin. Check the MSDS for any product that you’re curious about.
If you’ve got other types of dyes that you want to try, feel free to experiment. I’ve already tried powdered tempera and liquid watercolors, however, and neither work.
crock pot and upcycled jars. Although you can do this on the stove, melting wax gently takes time, and a crock pot is the easiest way to both control temperatures and be able to walk away for a while–for instance, I spent half the day making the candles in these particular photos, but very little of that time was spent actually making candles. I demolished the closet in the kids’ bedroom, wrote a complete unit study on World War II for grades 4-6, ran on the treadmill, cleaned my desk and the bathroom counter, did some reading, and only occasionally popped into my studio to pour candles or melt a new color of wax.
Upcycle old spaghetti sauce or salsa jars for the wax containers, and in between uses, you can simply keep the hardened wax in that container with the lid on, or you can pour out the wax and do something else with the jar.
stirrers. You’ll want a clean one for each color that you dye. I use chopsticks, and then reuse them with similar dye colors.
1. Measure out wax and dye. For these beeswax candles dyed with Crayola crayons, I measured out approximately .05 ounces of crayon for every 1 ounce of beeswax.
You can see in the photos that when I pour off my melted beeswax from my crafts-only crock pot, I pour it into little molds for easier storage and easier measuring. These also make good fabric weights, and I display the leaf and pumpkin ones in a little basket in the fall.
3. Melt the wax and dye. Put enough upcycled glass jars into your crock pot that they can sort of hold each other in place, and then fill the crock pot about halfway with water.
Set the crock pot on low, and then simply add your pre-measured wax and crayon to each jar. Pop the lid back on, and leave it to melt, checking on it occasionally and stirring it with a chopstick.
You can use your dyed wax however you’d like, now–in a mold as a Christmas ornament, for encaustic painting, as a base for homemade modeling wax or crayons, or in these poured candles that I’ll show you how to make on Monday!