Another enjoyable activity is beeswax modeling. The best source of beeswax for modeling that we have found comes from the Stockmar company which also makes the crayons used in so many Waldorf schools. Beeswax has several advantages over clay. It is warm, comes in many colors, and once hardened can be softened and used again. The honey-like fragrance and the flexible, organic feeling of this all-natural, non-toxic wax is pleasing to the senses. On cold days, the beeswax can be softened in a tub of warm water. With small children, it is sometimes helpful to get them started with a piece of wax by warming and molding it in your hands first. Because children learn by imitation, you should model the wax along with them. Begin by showing them how to flatten and round the beeswax, making little pancake shapes. This prepares the wax to be made into various shapes and figures. They will be inspired if they see something you have made. After several weeks of experimenting with simple shapes such as those shown in the illustration, you can begin to combine colors. Many-colored capes and hats can adorn simple human figures. You can lead the student to create animals, people, plants and anything from the child's experience. Often children love to make small villages from sticks and bark to be inhabited by the beeswax figures.
It is a more intriguing and natural process when the forms that you model come out of stories you have told or sights seen in your garden, such as flowers, insects, animals, or simple imaginative designs. Often a centerpiece — such as a piece of driftwood or a beautiful rock or crystal placed on felt or silk — can provide inspiration. Adding your models to the centerpiece create a scene which can be a surprise and a conversation piece when the family gathers for mealtime. Beeswax can also be used to decorate candles. A special decorating beeswax — a thinner version of modeling wax — is also produced by Stockmar. Because the sheets of this decorating beeswax are thinner, it is actually easier to work with. It can be an alternative for children who have difficulty using the thicker beeswax.
Beeswax modeling can be a delightful time of closeness for parent and child. On cold winter days, you might wish to place a lantern or candle on the table beside where you are working. In this atmosphere, conversations often become especially warm and nurturing. One can even soften the beeswax for a moment over the flame, being careful not to melt the wax.
Simple Beeswax Figures