How to Soften Beeswax

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Beeswax is used by honey bees to make honeycomb cells.
Beeswax is used by honey bees to make honeycomb cells. (Image: desnik/iStock/Getty Images)

Beeswax is made by the glands of worker honey bees. It is harvested for use in many types of crafts. It can be mixed with oils and clays to make skin and lip balms, or molded into natural candles and soaps as an alternative to harsher and more toxic ingredients. Beeswax emits a sweet smell, and it stays preserved for long periods of time. Beeswax is difficult to use at room temperature because of its hardness, so it's important to soften or melt the wax before using it in a craft recipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Beeswax block
  • Knife
  • Double boiler or two saucepans

Cut or chip off the amount of beeswax from your block that you would like to soften using a sharp knife. Smaller chunks will soften or melt quicker.

Put your beeswax in the top portion of a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, fill a saucepan with about 1/4 cup of water and place it on your stove burner. Place a second saucepan on top -- but not inside -- of the first one. Then add your beeswax to it.

Heat the water on low heat. Keep constant watch over your beeswax. Your beeswax will begin to soften when it reaches 90 degrees F.

Leave the heat of your stove on low, and don't try to rush the process by turning up the heat. Beeswax can be flammable; do not let the water come to a boil, or your wax will splatter onto the heating element.

Continue heating your beeswax until it reaches 150 degrees F if you wish to melt it completely. This is the melting point for beeswax. Once your wax is melted, you can add other ingredients such as oil or clay to make your lip balm, cosmetics or face cream. You can also pour your melted beeswax into a mold for your candle and soap recipes while the wax is warm. It will begin to harden again as it cools.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make unique holiday candles using beeswax. Pour the liquid wax into a turkey mold for Thanksgiving, a Santa mold for Christmas, or a pumpkin mold for Halloween.
  • Beeswax can also be softened in the microwave. Heat it for short intervals using a microwave-safe dish or cup. Consistently check the firmness until it suits your liking.

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