Solar beeswax melter

Not Glowforge related at all, but something I thought others might find useful if you have bees or know a beekeeper who will be willing to sell or give you some wax.

This week our temps are in the high 80s - low 90s. I decided I’d better melt my beeswax that I took from our hives last year. Some I’d kept in the freezer, but forgot that I’d kept some in a plastic bucket with a tight lid on it. The bucket was pretty full, but the wax was from some really junky combs we’d taken out of the hives.

When we first got our bees and started collecting the beeswax after our second year of having them, I watched a lot of videos on the best way to melt the wax. Most everything I saw, and even at some state apiary conventions seminars I attended, had a long drawn-out process of mixing it in hot water, draining it, etc. It looked like a huge hassle, and I’m sure it is.

So I came up with another option. I purchased a small cement mixing tub from Lowe’s, and some small baking pans and black knee-high nylons from Dollar Tree. I stretched a nylon over the baking pan, load it up with wax, and covered it with a sheet of plexiglass that fits over the tub (you don’t want bees or other insects getting in there), and set it out in the sun to do its thing. It works perfectly! We always let our bees clean the wax when we’ve extracted honey, so usually there is very little honey left on it, and what honey may be there will settle below the wax, with the wax floating on top. The nylon makes an excellent filter, keeping the majority of the junk out of it and you end up with nice clean wax with no hassle. Then I just use my wax-only double boiler to melt the wax, pour it into little candy molds (I found the little button candy molds equal 1/2 teaspoon beeswax each - make sure you don’t use the mold for any food items if used for wax) and let it set. Nice and easy to store and when I’m making chapstick or something else, I can easily take as many buttons as I need.

Here’s some pics of my setup. The nylon-covered tray with wax piled on:

with the plexiglass over it:

And here’s the front top and bottom of wax that I pulled off the right-hand tray before I refilled it this morning:

All of the dark stuff of this wax will settle to the bottom of the double boiler when I melt it, so I’ll end up with nice clean wax. Then I just wipe out the double boiler and go on to the next batch.

Anyway, hope this helps someone if you’re making your own wax. :slight_smile:


So, do you have a surplus of honey that is looking for a home? :slight_smile:

Curious what your opinion is of Texas Beeworks? (that is if they’re on your radar)


Do you ever get to tell anyone that it’s none of their beeswax. I might be inclined to carry a vial just for that purpose.

The Dad in me couldn’t resist.


Great minds think alike:


What a great idea! And you’ve given me me a great new use for the solar cookers I’m not using for anything else. :sweat_smile:


@evansd2, unfortunately I don’t have that great of an amount. I’ve never heard of Texas Beeworks. One thing I do know though, is do NOT buy any honey that says it’s made in Del Rio, Tennessee. It has been proven that their “honey” actually only has enough actual honey in it to allow it to be called honey and the majority of their product is corn syrup. But it’s in a lot of stores and markets. In quickly looking at an article on CNN about the controversy on Texas Beeworks, the issue seems to be that the complaint that she’s “setting a dangerous precedent to others” by wearing dark clothing and her hair down while gathering bee swarms. We’ve done that ourselves on a couple swarms because of the circumstances of where we were when we were asked to collect a swarm (like being at Lowe’s for instance). And we know many beekeepers who never wear gloves, even when working in their hives, including some kids. When bees are swarming, they are much more docile because they don’t have a hive they’re protecting, they’re just out looking for a new home. However, when we go into our hives we do suit up, or even if Marc mows around them he does. But for the complainer, Thompson, who claims she herself is a “professional beekeeper” to say Chamberlain/Texas Beeworks, who has worked with bees since 2002, is setting a dangerous precedent, just sounds like a competing swarm catcher is upset about the competition. I doubt very seriously someone just watching her on TikTok would say, “Oh look, there’s a swarm! Let’s go get it,” without knowing anything about beekeeping, would do it. The vast majority of people are still afraid of bees. And I can tell you from experience, even though I have been completely suited up, I’ve still gotten stung twice. And once you’re stung, that’s when you can be surrounded by more bees, because of the pheromone given off by the sting, other bees come to the “rescue.”

@tjleasa - no, but that’s funny! I should make a keychain of that! Something like what @mattwarriner did for his commemorative book club keychains, but with a little plastic vial with some beeswax in it!

@designatednerd, so what IS in the box? :slight_smile:


Like a pound of beeswax. Plus leather slicks and needles and thread.


Gotcha! I forget about running thread through beeswax. I used to have one made out of plastic that had the beeswax inside and slits to run the thread through. Wonder if I still have it somewhere? Hmm…


The beeswax is actually for finishing the leather - the thread is pre-waxed.


When I was keeping, I didn’t get stung. Even my wife & kids escaped.

My wife did get freaked out one summer day when she was out in the yard near the hives. Bees started landing in her hair an on here shoulders (smell? color of clothes?). She started freaking out running back toward the house waving her arms all around her. By the time she reached the garage they were almost all off her. She settled down and the remainder left looking for something else to sniff I guess.

That fall the label I designed for my honey jars was a cartoon woman running and waving her arms while being chased by bees :grinning:


One of my stings was because a bee was on my jacket and got caught up in it and I hit the bee taking my jacket off. I didn’t know it was there. The other was on my leg because as I leaned over to look into a hive, I placed my hand on my knee, again not knowing there was a bee there, and got stung. My husband’s gotten stung a few times by leaning on one. And once you get stung, they have a tendency to come after you. But I’m not scared of them, just cautious. I used to be terrified of bees, and I am highly allergic to them, but since we started keeping bees, I just find them fascinating.

I hope your wife got a good chuckle out of the label and not mad because you made it about her! :rofl:

@designatednerd, that makes good sense! I have used mine on some leather keychains I did for a friend. But I have also used it on thread on some heavy material I was sewing. Mainly I just use it for chapstick and muscle balm, and to mix with mineral oil for my cutting boards.


There was a point that I found honey affordable and knew some friends that had made some jalapeno mead planning to use it as a marinade at an event planned over a year in the future. They had used fresh fruit seeds and all and in the three months it took for the mead to brew, it was extremely spicey but tasty. After a year of sitting the spice had eaten itself to be quite mild but the taste had exploded to something amazing. I had about a shot glass of it, and it was so amazing only a quarter of it made it into the marinade.

I made 5 gallons of it but within the year the price of honey had shot through the roof and availability of a volume needed almost non existent so I did not go there again. So as jalapeno mead is not the first thing folks think about when a stash of honey is available I am highly recommending it. The extreme spiciness mellows with age and in the last of that 5 gal was undetectable , but the flavor continued to grow.


She was a good sport about it. :slightly_smiling_face: She appreciated the honey.

She was also the one who brought the nucs home from the post office. I had Buckfast bees and they’re only raised in Texas (& England where they originated) so I had to mail order them. They came via USPS but our local post office wouldn’t deliver them - no one was willing to put them in their truck. My wife had to go pick them up (I was at work). When she went in they took her to the back and pointed to one of those big 4ftx3ftx3ft bins way off in a corner of the loading dock. No one would get close even :grinning:


@rbtdanforth, I’ve never tried making meade from it. Don’t particularly care for the taste. But then again, I’ve never tried jalapeno meade. I still have about 20 pint jars of honey left from 2020 and had quit selling it because I didn’t want to run out. Which was a good thing, because we went for 2 years without any bees and no honey at all. And what we had left we’ve been using sparingly.

@jamesdhatch, I’m not surprised the Post Office didn’t want to deliver them. Although the way they’re packaged, it’s not like they can get out, but I understand their concern.

I had noticed we had zero activity at one of our hives today so I asked Marc if we could check them. Turns out that hive is totally destroyed by wax moths, so we’re just going to burn all the frames. When we checked the other hive, it’s going very well and we extracted just two frames of honey from it. They had three other frames of honey, but too much of the honey wasn’t capped, so we left the frames in the hive. And they were mad today! Whoo boy! We got the two frames into a plastic tote and brought them in the shop. Two frames doesn’t sound like much, but they’re approximately 13" x 16" each, and I expect we’ll get some good honey from them. One of the bees got in the shop and stung me on the jaw. I got the stinger out (it didn’t want to scrape off) and put some great bee sting salve we have on it and the pain went away immediately and no swelling. Later on I was sitting on the deck and I had another bee after me and it got caught underneath my ponytail. I quickly went into the kitchen and Marc got it out and squished it. Not a good day with our bees. We’ll extract the honey tomorrow as we’re busy the rest of today. Plus I’m melting more wax today.


Beeee safe there!


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