Team Project: Beeswax Art

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

Some hemp string will stand in for rope, and this onion bag will be our net.

Beeswax Painting

But first we had to prep our “canvas”. I took the board outside and sprayed it with Gesso.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

Then we plopped them in our canner.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

Beeswax Painting

And while we were working on that, we also laid out our work area with lots of newspaper.  And I mean several overlapping layers.

Beeswax Painting

Finally we were ready to pour some wax. We wrapped dish towels around the jars to protect our hands.

Beeswax Painting

The initial pour was a little nerve-wracking because we didn’t know what we were doing.

Beeswax Painting

The second one was a bit better, and we started trying to move the wax around a bit before it hardened.

Beeswax Painting

Eventually we ended up with a solid layer covering all the white stuff.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

We elevated one side of the canvas so that the wax would flow in the same direction. Gren helped.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

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.

Beeswax Painting

Then I heated up a section of the wax and pressed in our little aluminum boat.

Beeswax Painting

The finished piece.

Beeswax Painting

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!

Beeswax Painting

Baseball Bracelet

Baseball Bracelet 9

Major League Baseball is over for yet another season (go Tigers!).  But who says it has to end for everyone else? We have a baseball fan in our family.  Actually, fan is an understatement.  This person is wholly engrossed in obsessed with baseball.  So this is a wee giftie for that person.

Baseball Bracelet 7

I got the idea from My Ruby Girl and modified it a bit so it would be a bit bigger.

Baseball Bracelet 6

First you need yourself a baseball, one made out of genuine leather.  This one is from an Ottawa Little League.  Not sure how we ended up with it, but nonetheless …

Baseball Bracelet 5

Then you take a sturdy craft knife or box cutter and you cut around the seams, leaving a centimetre or two of space. You don’t want to cut too closely because you might cut the threads binding the whole thing together.

Baseball Bracelet 1

Baseball Bracelet 2

Then you can peel off those little centre bits away from the seam.

Baseball Bracelet 3

And then you can peel off the seam, all in one piece.

Baseball Bracelet 5

You can easily pull off all that sticky string.

Baseball Bracelet 6

Now you want to find the spot where the seam ends and the stitches are loose. Pull a few of those stitches out so you have space to cut the leather. You don’t want to cut the string.

Baseball Bracelet 8

Baseball Bracelet 9

Now you want to trim off that excess leather, cutting closer to the seam. Not too close, of course, but close enough that it looks nice and tidy. It’s up to you. Then you’re going to fold your long strip in half and cut it again.

Baseball Bracelet 12

Now you have two bracelets. If you want, you can stop right here, tack on some string or hardware at the ends for fastening and be done with it.

Baseball Bracelet 13

But we’re going to take it a little further.

Baseball Bracelet 10

What if we take both strips and sew them together? Makes the bracelet a bit bigger, right? I have some lovely hemp string here in a nice shade of Toronto Blue Jays blue, for their biggest fan.

Baseball Bracelet 15

I popped open my Altoids tin containing my special needles.

Baseball Bracelet 16

And got to work with one of the curved ones. It was a little bit of a challenge to force the string through the small holes, and because of the curve, not all the holes lined up properly but that didn’t really concern me.

Baseball Bracelet 18

Baseball Bracelet 21

When I had finished, I used the existing holes to sew on some vintage plastic buttons.

Baseball Bracelet 22

I made sure to tie the knots carefully underneath, and I rubbed a little beeswax over the knots to keep them in place.

Baseball Bracelet Final 7

Put a little wax on the buttons, too.

Baseball Bracelet Final 6

Then I doubled up the thread to make two loops around which to hook the buttons and fasten the bracelet.

Baseball Bracelet Final 8

I used beeswax here too, to strengthen the hemp string.

Baseball Bracelet Final 5

And then the loops naturally twisted around themselves.

Baseball Bracelet Final 4

The finished product.

Baseball Bracelet Final 1

I put a little almond oil into the leather, too, to soften it. It’s a nice little cuff.

Baseball Bracelet Final 2