So many people have asked about this!
I invented my own way of making models, explained here.

  Scroll down the page to find examples of my models

Im told by people who make cake decorations out of sugar that my methods are very similar to theirs, but I have no experience with sugar and invented my own method for making models from sheets of beeswax.

The basis is first to make thin sheets of wax and then to cut, bend and weld them together to build the desired shapes. There are many other ways to make a model in wax but this one works fine for me and those I have taught seem to get good results fairly quickly and easily.

 The first time I entered a model in a competition was at The National Honey Show on the last occasion it was held in the RHS halls in Vincent Square. I arrived with my model of a beekeeper opening a WBC beehive, set on a wooden board, and was horrified to see that all the other models were made as solid castings, like fancy candles with no wicks. I felt sure I had made a big mistake but was much encouraged when I won the class! Unfortunately there was a weight limit in those days and the judges prised my man off his board to weigh him but could not fit him back as he had a wire frame that fitted into holes in the board. He leaned drunkenly on the beehive for the duration of the show.

 Pouring your sheets of wax.

You need:- 

  1. molten clean wax in a pan (I always have some rainwater at the bottom under the wax as it collects debris and also stops the wax from getting too hot take care never to boil the water!!)
  2. a bowl of cold water to wet your board, with a dipper for pouring water to cool your wax sheet.
  3. another dipper for pouring the wax ( I recommend an old tin can with a wooden handle nailed on . You can pour it well if you bend a good lip in the cut edge of the tin, using pliers)
  4. A wet piece of waterproof plywood. I use a tray made for producing wax foundation because it has a rim and a gap at one corner for the excess wax to run back into the melting pot, but any wet ply would do to get you started.
  5. a pocket knife to cut the wax sheet up.

Here I am pouring molten wax onto the wet tray.
And cooling the wax sheet by pouring water across it before peeling it off the tray.
In these pictures you can also see moulds for 1oz blocks of wax, little pots of powdered dye for colouring wax, the useful pourers made from empty tin cans, and the 2-ring electric stove I use for wax working. There is water in the aluminium saucepans. It sinks under the molten wax and traps the rubbish.

(Thanks to Libby who took these pictures at a North Bucks Beekeepers meeting)

Hold the board sloping gently down over the melting pot, dip out a good scoop of wax and pour it all over the board, starting at the top and spreading wax in one smooth movement. The excess wax runs off, you wait a few seconds then move to the water bowl and pour cold water over the wax to make it set firmly. The wax sheet will lift off the wet board and you can repeat the process to build up a stock of sheets. All offcuts go back in the melting pot.

 Next the hard bit Deciding What To Make.

A little preliminary practice is now required, and a couple more tools. You need

  • a decent sharp knife (Swiss Army a good choice)
  • A low power electrical soldering iron (40W is a common size. Pick one with a cylindrical bit its hard to fit an extension on a pointed bit)
  • A piece of aluminium sheet bent so that it forms a knife shaped extension to the soldering iron. It has a near end bent into a tube so it is a push fit onto the soldering iron. The reason for the extension is twofold. It is not as hot as the bare end of the soldering iron and it allows you to cut and smooth wax easily.

The practice consists of trying to join bits of wax sheet together by using the soldering iron as a welder. Press the bits of wax gently together in the position you have chosen, then drip a little melted wax from the hot aluminium bit into the join. It will set almost immediately. You should try to produce a long complete seam where the two sheets of wax meet.

There are three basic shapes to practice making: boxes, cylinders and rods.

From various shapes and sizes of box, cylinder and rod you can make a wide range of things from houses and railway engines to flowers and people. The really difficult shapes are the curves and rounded shapes of animals and the detailed fine structure of trees and plants. If you stick to modelling man-made objects at first you will have more success.

 

Wires inside the stalks but all the rest is beeswax
The Flying Scotsman. Nothing but natural beeswax in this one, made for Shrewsbury Flower Show. About 40cm long in all, the tender is separate.
A Kentish Wagon.
Part of a set of three carts made for The National Honey Show craft classes.
These Harebells were made as realistic as possible.
They were disqualified at Shrewsbury show for not being "in a suitable container"  as it says in the schedule.
Another of the farm carts
The violin also had a wax bow.  Nothing but beeswax - no wires or colours.
Southern Railway loco 1500 made using a copy of the real plans.
These water lilies were floating in a nice bowl but were disqualified because they are six separate pieces not joined together and therefore not "a model flower" but six models !