January 30, 2013

Working With Modeling Wax

Beeswax Carrot

Modeling wax is a popular material in Waldorf schools. I have tried several times over the years to work with the material and have never been successful before. I’ve tried following a variety of helps and hints, such as floating the wax in warm water, to soften the wax, all to no avail. So, it was with a slight sense of dread, that I ordered a set of modeling wax for Dora. This time around, however, we actually got the hang of it! What I determined is that I had needed to work with smaller pieces. When I had read that one should work with small pieces of wax, I was still thinking in play dough terms. I have found that when Dora or I work with a piece that is no larger than a pea, we can easily warm up the wax and shape it as we wish. If we want to work with a larger piece of wax, we simply warm up several small pieces and then work them together.

Beeswax Berries 2

Even when properly softened, working with modeling wax requires more manual dexterity than working with clay or play dough does. So, though Dora really enjoys working with the wax, I have not tried introducing her to anything too complicated. What she enjoys making the most, is little pieces of food for her various wooden animals and doll house dolls. She’s made “berries” of every color and even made some “dragon berries’, which it ends up are multi-colored and quite large. She has also made “corn” for her chickens. I have just begun helping her to make some slightly more complicated shapes, such as “bananas” for her fairies and “carrots” for her rabbits.

Beeswax Chicken Feed

What about you? Have you done any work with modeling wax? If so, do you have any posts that you would be willing to share a link to in the comments section? Or if you know of any other good sites or resources for working with  modeling wax, could you please leave a comment about it? Thus far, the Waldorf books about modeling that I have found are a bit too heavy on the esoteric side and a bit too light on the practical-application side for my taste. Modeling wax can be purchased from most Waldorf craft retailers, but in the event that you want to know what set we are using, it is Stockmar Modeling Beeswax. There is at least one other major brand and one Etsy retailer that I know of, who also make colored modeling beeswax. It is expensive, but it never dries out and lasts a very long time. Please note, this is not the same wax that we used to decorate our pillar candles with, which is decorating wax and has a different texture.

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Maureen