I still had a huge amount of old beeswax sitting around, leftover from way back when we made teacup candles. Just blue, though. Three shades of blue.
I also had a 24″ x 24″ piece of hardboard that I bought back when I had a different sort of idea for the tree branch coat racks.
We can’t waste these things, right? Well, here’s what the Pie and I came up with together, and I don’t think I would have been able to do this solo. This was our initial plan. A beeswax painting of an ocean scene, a fishing boat attached to a fishing net.
Some hemp string will stand in for rope, and this onion bag will be our net.
But first we had to prep our “canvas”. I took the board outside and sprayed it with Gesso.
Then we needed to prep our supplies. We took the three colours of wax, ripped up the sheets, and jammed them into 3 large canning jars.
Then we plopped them in our canner.
Of course, being full of wax sheets, they floated and tipped over and some of them got some water inside them (which will actually be important later on). So we had to wedge them in place with other jars filled with water and a round wire rack on top.
We brought the water to a simmer and slowly the wax began to melt. As it opened up more space in the jars, we tore up more wax and dropped it in.
And while we were working on that, we also laid out our work area with lots of newspaper. And I mean several overlapping layers.
Finally we were ready to pour some wax. We wrapped dish towels around the jars to protect our hands.
The initial pour was a little nerve-wracking because we didn’t know what we were doing.
The second one was a bit better, and we started trying to move the wax around a bit before it hardened.
Eventually we ended up with a solid layer covering all the white stuff.
We didn’t end up liking the texture we’d put into the wax with our hands, but we did discover two interesting side effects. We discovered that when we poured the wax at the same time we got these cool marble patterns.
And remember that water that got into the wax? Well it showed up again when we were at the bottom of the jars, and resulted in these neat bubbles.
We decided to do a second layer of wax, now that we kind of had an idea about how this was supposed to go. While we waited for it to melt, I laid out where I thought our fishing net and line would go. It was easy to warm up the wax with a hairdryer and then simply press the net into place.
The original plan was to make the fishing boat out of origami and then just press it into the warm wax, but we changed our minds and decided on an aluminum boat — because many of them are made out of aluminum in reality. Fortunately we had a few tin cans in the recycling and a nice pair of tin snips.
We elevated one side of the canvas so that the wax would flow in the same direction. Gren helped.
Then we poured, using lighter wax up where the sky would be and darker wax in the deeper part of the ocean. We poured some over the net as well to make it look partially submerged.
A close-up of the marbling and bubbles in the boat’s “wake.” Those bubbles are full of water, not air, so we needed to pop them and dry out the water.
While the wax was still warm, we cut it away from the stuff that spilled over the edges of the canvas using a sharp knife and a hairdryer to keep the wax pliable.
Then I heated up a section of the wax and pressed in our little aluminum boat.
The finished piece.
We will be spraying it with a sealant to protect it from scratches (there is already a corgi foot print at the top of it) and then we will mail it home in time for Christmas!