Tutorial + How-to: Make Origami Waterproof with Beeswax

waterproof origami (1 of 1)

‘Tis the season for making origami Mayflowers!

Of course, when your kid makes an origami Mayflower, the one thing that she is IMMEDIATELY going to do is try to make it float.

Cue the broken heart in 5, 4, 3, 2…

Fortunately, there is a pretty easy way to make that paper boat float, and it also just happens to involve my favorite autumn crafting supply: melted beeswax!

waterproof origami (1 of 2)
solid beeswax in the crock pot, waiting to melt

1. Melt some beeswax. Melt a cup or so of beeswax in a crafts-only crock pot or a DIY stovetop bain marie. Bonus: it will make your house smell awesome.

You might think it’s weird that I measure my solid beeswax in “cups,” but I have this special way that I prep beeswax for storage, that then makes it super simple to use for recipes and such.

2. Make a boat! Make your favorite origami boat; I like this origami boat tutorial from SusieJ.

waterproof origami (2 of 2)
You can start painting with just the first puddles of melted beeswax that start to form inside the crock pot.

3. Paint a layer of beeswax onto the boat. Give your kids an old paintbrush that can now be the “beeswax paintbrush,” and let them paint melted beeswax all over the bottom and sides of the boat.

Yes, they’ll drip a couple of drips of liquid beeswax onto their skin, but it’s not really *that* hot. Lesson learned!

Have your kids paint the beeswax pretty far up the sides of the boat (as if they’ll need encouragement to do that!), because you’ll find that, anachronistically, the Mayflower is going to get into a LOT of sea battles during its voyage.

If your boat is small enough and your crock pot wide enough, you can instead dip your boat into the melted beeswax to coat it. You’ll need to dip it at a bit of an angle to release the air pocket from the middle of the boat so that beeswax can get in. Remember, those beeswax drips won’t be *that* hot!

4. Set sail! Your origami Mayflower is ready for its maiden voyage!

And yes, you might as well drop the Thanksgiving theme at this point and just let your kid make a whole fleet now. Pirate battles are hard on paper boats…

NOTE: Yes, this waterproofing method will TOTALLY work with soy wax, or any other eco-friendly solid wax.

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Written by Julie Finn

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, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.

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