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Handmade Waxed Paper

Waxed paper samples
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What you will make:

Make your own custom waxed papers! Learn the technique of waxing paper, and in no time you'll be making waxed papers in any colors or designs you like. Waxing paper not only makes the paper water- and oil-resistant, but also adds a degree of translucence, darkens the paper, and changes its feel.

After you wax the paper, it will be thicker, stronger, and less absorbent. You can use waxed paper in place of vellum in many crafts. It can be used to make bags, paper flowers, delightful charms for gift wrapping, windows clings and stained glass effects. Its translucent nature makes it a natural for luminaries!

Waxing paper is for adults or teens only!! Caution: Hot wax and hot iron can burn.

Here's what you need:
  • Papers to wax: computer paper, origami paper, craft paper (printed or plain)
  • Parchment paper
  • Wax: pieces of white candle or tea lights
  • Scissors
  • Plastic sandwich bag
  • Hammer, mallet or large spoon
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Old towel
  • Paper towels or plain white paper
  • Optional: Paraffin, wax chips or melts, paring knife, temporary or repositionable glue

This project is rated EASY to do.

How to Make Waxed Paper

Read all of the steps before starting.
Step 1: Prepare Paper and Wax Break-up the wax with a hammer

Select papers to wax. Thin papers work best: computer paper, origami paper, or scrapbooking/craft paper. Plain or patterned paper can be used. Apply wax to papers that have been printed on an inkjet or laser printer, and the possibilities for designs are endless! It is particularly fun to upcycle scraps of paper left over from other craft projects by giving them the wax treatment!

For waxing paper you will need small bits of easy melting wax. White candles or tea lights are perfect. It only takes a small amount of wax to get started—a stub of a candle or two tea lights. Place the wax in a plastic sandwich bag and seal it closed. Use a hammer or mallet to break the wax into small bits. The wax crumbles easily and only requires a few hits. Open the bag and discard the wicks. Tip: Paraffin can be used in place of candle wax and is preferable for food use. Paraffin doesn't crumble easily, so use a paring knife to shave small curls of paraffin onto the parchment paper.

Cut a sheet of parchment paper three to four times the size of the paper you are waxing. Fold the parchment paper in half. Tip: Your paper needs to fit inside the folded parchment with plenty of room to spare.

Step 2: Melt Wax Sprinkle wax on parchment paper

Set your iron to the low setting with no steam. Layout the old towel on top of your ironing board and place the opened parchment paper on top of the towel. Sprinkle a small amount of wax crumbles on the right side of the parchment paper.

Melt wax by ironing parchment paper Fold the parchment paper and run the iron over the back of the parchment to melt the wax. It will only take seconds to melt the wax!

Tip: The wax will spread quickly and can easily run out of the parchment paper. This is why you need a large sheet of parchment and an old towel!

Check melted waxOpen the parchment to see if the wax is melted in an area large enough for your paper size. If not, add more wax crumbles and iron again.

Step 3: Apply Wax to Paper Apply wax to paper

Place your paper on the melted wax. Fold the parchment paper over the paper and iron for a few seconds. If needed, use the side of the iron to push wax toward the paper.

Add more wax bits if neededOpen the parchment and check the waxed paper for even and complete waxing. If more wax is needed, add a few crumbles of wax and iron again.

Step 4: Complete Waxing Blot excess wax

Place the waxed paper between two sheets of white paper or paper towels. Iron to remove any excess wax or wax clumps. Feel the paper's surface to see if it is smooth. If not, iron it more to remove excess wax.

See the sidebar for ideas on using your waxed paper.

That's it! Your paper is waxed!
Waxed paper samples

Charms punched from waxed paper are unique embellishments!
Waxed paper charms

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Waxed paper window clings

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Tip: Make window clings by waxing printed designs and applying temporary or repositionable adhesive to the back. Simple, bordered shapes with high-contrast designs work best!

Bonus Patterns

Charm and gift tag download

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Download and print Aunt Annie's patterns for Paper Charms and Gift Tags (colored and black&white). Apply wax, then use the shapes as window clings, gift wrap charms or fancy gift tags.

ePaper Extra

Green Tranquil Circles

Tip: Use the Green Tranquil Circles ePapers to make translucent waxed paper for crafts. You might punch circles or cut shapes from the paper to make a beaded curtain or to use in your crafts. See more ideas below.

Beaded curtain made from waxed paper circles

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Waxed paper charms

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Tip: Punch or cut custom waxed paper in small shapes to make charms for greeting cards, gift tags, or as gift wrap additions. Use a needle and thread to string several charms together.

Waxed paper flowers

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Tip: Make Paper Flowers with handmade waxed paper. Compare the translucent look of the flower made with waxed paper on the right to the plain paper flower on the left.

Waxed paper luminary

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Tip: Make a luminary with your homemade waxed paper. Print a silhouette scene on white paper and form it into a tube to use as a luminary shade. (This image comes from Flickr.)

Let Bob show you how to make a Luminaria with a wood base or by using an electric candle.

Waxed paper cookie bags

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Tip: Make cookie bags from homemade waxed paper. When making waxed paper for food, use paraffin in place of candle wax. Tip: Shave the paraffin in small curls with a paring knife.

These bags are made by printing Aunt Annie's Orange gingham digital paper on a sheet of white paper and waxing it. The paper is then cut in half lengthwise, folded in half, and stitched on the sides using a long stitch on the sewing machine.

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