A Beautiful Beeswax Finish For Cheap

Filed under: Finishing,In The Shop,Tutorials |

I recently made my own beeswax finish that incorporated beeswax and mineral oil.

This was a very straight forward process that created a quality product at a very, very low cost.

How to make a Beeswax Finish

I purchased the mineral oil at the grocery store in the pharmacy section and I got the beeswax from a local honey maker. The total cost for both was under $3.00 giving a cost per ounce at roughly .24 cents. This is 1/10 of the cost for similar commercial products!

The recipe that I used is simple and it took less than 15 minutes to make it.

Here’s the recipe that I used:


Ingredients:

1.5 cups (355 ml) mineral oil
2.5 ounces (71 g) beeswax

Preparation:

Use a tall metal container or can and pour the mineral oil into it and add the beeswax. Melt over a low heat source just until the beeswax has completely dissolved (please see tips and comments below for suggestions), stirring as it melts. Once the mixture is blended, remove from heat. Allow to cool for a couple minutes so that it’s not too hot for the glass jars, then pour into the glass jars and allow to finish cooling completely. Add the lid, label it, then store in a cool location.

These ingredient amounts resulted in a wax that though solid when cooled was soft and smooth. You can vary the amount of beeswax to give you either a softer or harder wax.

I used the smaller (4 oz.) size Mason jars because they are short with a wide mouth, allowing me to access right to the bottom. This recipe yields around 16 oz. and requires 4 of these jars.

Be careful when heating and blending the oil and beeswax, especially if using an open flame!

As you can see, there’s not much to it. :)

Here’s some more photos beginning with the ingredients:

Beeswax

Here’s the blended oil and wax cooling:

Beeswax finish for furniture

A closeup of the wax:

make your own wax

This one shows the soft, smooth texture of the wax:

beeswax and mineral oil

With a few simple ingredients and a few minutes I got enough beeswax finish to last me for quite some time, and all for under 3 bucks! :)

Update: Since making this recipe I have I also made others by adding more amounts of mineral oil. By adding more mineral oil the finished product becomes a softer paste, which I like for other applications. Start with the above recipe and then experiment to get the consistency that you are looking for. You can always reheat and add more mineral oil until you get it right. :)

I also spoke with several people that use a microwave oven for melting the wax and blending. Although I haven’t tried it yet it sounds to be a lot safer than doing this over an open heat source.

Back to the shop…

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12 Responses to A Beautiful Beeswax Finish For Cheap

  1. Great post. Remember if you are going to use this on cutting boards like the one pictured, both the mineral oil and bee’s wax need to be food grade. Baby oil has fragrance added and some commercial bee’s wax can have contaminants (not a problem for your locally sourced bee’s wax).

    Bob
    February 11, 2010 at 1:05 am

  2. Good point, Bob, thanks!

    Woodworker's Guide
    February 11, 2010 at 7:23 am

  3. do you think i can use this finish for the teethers?

    willy
    December 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm

  4. I would say yes. Keep in mind the tips that Bob mentioned above.

    Woodworker's Guide
    January 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm

  5. I make the beeswax/mineral oil paste for my hubby and I put the tin can into a small pot of water on the stove top. That way I can stir, I use a chopstick,while it is melting and the pot of water prevents any possibility of the wax catching on fire. I have also squeezed the tin into a sort of spout which makes pouring oh so easy.

    I have not tried the microwave because I like to be able to see what I am “cooking”, but I write this as I was shocked that some people may put the tin with wax and oil directly on a stove,either electric or open flame. NOT a good idea EVER!

    Tilly
    March 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

  6. Tilly, thanks so much for the great tip! You’re right that this should never be done over an open flame.

    Woodworker's Guide
    March 16, 2012 at 9:04 am

  7. Thanks for all the great tips. I too did mine in a can in a pot of water. Works great! I wondered how many coats or is it just one that gets applied, my hubby made a butcher block. Thank you

    Kerri
    April 6, 2012 at 1:11 am

  8. Kerri, this is what works for us – for butcher blocks and boards we usually start with several of coats of just mineral oil, letting them dry in between. Then we’ll do a coat of the beeswax/oil mixture and buff it well when it’s dry. From then on we then apply the beeswax/oil as needed.

    Woodworker's Guide
    April 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

  9. Hi…I think you have the formula wrong. That consistency would require 2 cups of mineral oil to 2.5 oz of beeswax. I made it using the above formula and came out with a very hard wax…which serves its purpose too. Just FYI.

    Lynn Reid
    May 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

  10. Lynn, I’m not quite sure what you mean by “that consistency” but, as I said above, experiment to get the consistency that you want. If it is too hard to your liking simply reheat and add more oil or if too soft add more beeswax. Likewise, you can soften hard wax by lightly heating it in a microwave for a few seconds.

    Woodworker's Guide
    May 9, 2012 at 4:51 am

  11. I made this finish this afternoon, let it cool, and rubbed it onto one of my new unfinished maple veneer bookcases. It worked great, and I’m looking forward to adding more layers!

    Carole M
    March 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm

  12. Carole, glad to hear that it’s working for you!

    Woodworker's Guide
    April 2, 2013 at 6:29 am

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