Making Waxed Scented Critters

A fun and decorative twist on scented
air fresheners is waxed stuffed animals,
which can hold quite a bit of scented
wax and send scent through a room very
efficiently. There are only a few
tricks to making them, but once you
are aware of what those are, you'll
find this to be a quick and easy project,
providing amazing results.

(This little teddy smells link butter mints.)

Stuffed animals that are a bit shaggy
are the best type to work with, as the
plush type may not acquire the "raggedy"
look as much, which is part of the appeal.

"Beanie Babies" can also be dipped.
Birds, such as the puffin shown below
make decorative little air fresheners.
This type of stuffed critter also works
well with a higher melt point wax
(around 150+ degrees) or hurricane
candle wax, as these waxes tend to
be leave a shiny finish, so the pieces
come out almost "ceramic-looking"
when completed.

Here is one example of a "Beany Baby"
that was done with regular pillar candle
wax,which is the same wax used with
the other projects on this page.

Before Dipping ...

The silver ribbon tied to this

peppermint scented puffin in the
next photo allowed it to be hung.

After Dipping ...

Here is some information on how
these are made ... please note,
the initial guidelines for doing
this are not a "step by step"
instruction guide, but an overall
idea of how to do it, such as
initial preparation, safety, and
a general idea of what you can
expect along the way.

To start, you will need to prepare
your workplace in order to minimize
the mess wax can make, especially
when it's being "splattered around"
such as what can happen when dipping
stuffed animals. So, you may wish
to cover the area you'll be working
on with newspaper. Some safety
preparations for handling and working
with your stuffed object are also
necessary, since you'll be working
with hot wax, such as a pair of
tongs for lifting the wax-drenched
item out of the melting pot, and,
possibly, a pair of heavy gloves
for any additional handling that
may be required. Old pie tins,
or brownie pans, or plates and
an old fork, and, possibly, a
large spoon will also be needed.
I have read that some people like
to use a wire rack over the pan,
which may be useful to you.

Of course, you will require a melting
pot and a spoon for stirring the wax,
as well as the fragrance oil you will
be using for your project.

A note about amber-colored fragrance
oils ... if you are dipping a white
critter, you may wish to make sure
that your scented oil is clear, as
an amber oil will most likely add
color to your wax and your finished
project may turn out with a yellowish
tint in this case. Often, before
purchasing your oil, you may be able
to ask your supplier and some suppliers
have charts that include information
on the color of the oil. As for
flashpoints or polarity issues of
scented oils, for this project, you
needn't concern yourself with these
in the way that they are considered
with candles. However, for safety
reasons, you must ensure that you
only heat your wax to its
recommended temperature and only
add your scented oil after your
wax has been removed from the heat
and is at a temperature below the
flashpoint of your oil.

The size of your melting pot will
depend on the size of the project
you wish to work on, as the object
should fit nicely into the pot so
the entire piece can be dipped
without wax spilling over, but if
you don't have one large enough
to handle the piece you wish to dip,
it can be dipped in sections,
without dipping the entire
object at once.

Another way to do this is to
dip as much of the object as you
can fit into the pot, then, set
the piece in a brownie pan or
an oblong pan with the side that
did not receive any dipping faced
upward. Carefully pour wax onto
this area, either directly by
pouring from the pot, or with
use of a large spoon. This
method was used on some of
the pieces shown here, including
the little dog (shown below),
which measured approx. nine
inches long, 5 inches wide,
and 4 inches tall ... by the
way, when complete, this piece
weighed one and a half pounds.

As for the pie tins, brownie
pans or old plates ... these are
wonderful to use for positioning
the dipped-wax critter ... a
couple may suffice, but sometimes
it's nice to have three available,
which gives you one to use when
removing the piece from your
melting pot, which is also used
for draining; one for positioning
and fluffing, which catches all
the excess wax; and one for the
final positioning and cool down.

On this piece, the underside
was dipped first and here it
is sitting for a few moments
to drain ...

When the object is first removed
from the melting pot, it will not
only be very hot, but it will also
drain a bit of wax that it has
absorbed. This is why it's
necessary to immediately place
the object onto a pan for "landing"
directly after being "lifted" with
tongs from the melting pot.
Wax may begin to pour out from
it right away, so it's best if
you position the pie tin close
to your melting pot when first
moving it from the pot to the pan.

As for using a wire rack over
pan and setting the saturated
critter on top of the rack to
allow the excess wax to drip off
onto the pie tin or plate ...
this is a personal preference.
It seems that perhaps the weight
of the wax-wet object on the
wire rack may create some marks
on the bottom of the piece,
making indentations after the
piece has been sitting on
the rack with the wax cooling.
Perhaps if it is not allowed
to sit for very long this
does not occur. To use
only pans and no rack, allow
the newly-waxed critter to
drain a bit within the first
pan, then, after a few minutes,
transfer it to another pie tin
or plate, turn it over and
fluff it up before setting
it down, all of the excess
wax will have drained out
onto the first plate, with
any additional wax falling
off onto the second plate.

As the wax cools, some
positioning is usually
required. For instance,
for this little puffin,
toothpicks held the wings
up during the cooling process,
so when it was completely
hardened, the wings were
not droopy.

When first learning, it is

highly recommended to start
with smaller pieces ... ones
that fit comfortably in your
melting pot. Larger pieces
are much trickier to work with,
and until you have a good idea
of where you are headed, it's
best to start small.

After removing any tags from
the stuffed animal, it's a good
idea to see if you can tape up
the eyes, and nose, if possible
(the tape does not always
"stay put," but it's worth a try!)
... this will make it easier
to keep the eyes from getting
wax on them. If wax does get
on them, you will need to
remove the wax after your
project is complete, using
dish soap and hot water,
making sure to not scratch
the finish on the eyes.
When dipping is completed,
the tape can be easily
removed and the eyes need
very little cleaning.
This bunny will be shown
below after it was completed.

Here it is prior to dipping,
with the eyes taped ...

(Before dipping ...)

(This protective tape remained
on the eyes throughout the
dipping process.)

After dipping ...

This is another piece with the eyes
taped prior to dipping ...

The tape remained on the eyes
throughout the dipping process -
this is how it looked after the dipping ...

And, after the tape was removed ...

After you have prepared both
your work space and critter,
you're ready to melt your wax.
The amount of wax you will
use can vary, but normally you
can start with the weight of
the wax being three times
that of the object to be
dipped. Usually, the finished
product will weigh about
three times more than before
it was dipped, so this is
how this guideline was
arrived at. Since larger
objects may be dipped in
sections, you will know if
you need more wax as you
move along with your project.

Smaller items are usually
dipped by submerging the entire
stuffed animal into the
melting pot and turning it
with tongs so wax soaks into
all parts of the project at once.

Note ... if you are dipping
in sections, you just want
to try to not get any wax
on any sections that you
are not working on ...
in other words, if you are
doing the under sides, try
to not get any wax on
the ears, for instance.
The process needs to be
done with one covering
(dipping) to look the best
and "over waxing" or
getting wax on areas more
than once (where wax
has already been applied)
can ruin the look and make
for lots of waxy patches.

Here is an area of the
underside of a larger
critter that has been
dipped and is in the
process of being "fluffed"
with a fork (it is still
rather matted at this point) ...
the bits of hardened wax
are removed by hand
when completely cooled ...

The above piece (which is
the little dog previously
shown with its eyes taped)
was done by first dipping
the underside, fluffing the
wax and allowing it to cool
somewhat, then dipping the
front legs, head, and backside,
making sure to not get any
additional wax on the underside
that already had fluffed wax on it.
Once completely covered with wax,
the ears were positioned as the
wax cooled in order to avoid
any drooping from the weight
of the wax. You will find that
with some objects, a little
bending may be necessary as
the wax is cooling to assist
in the "setting" of certain
features, such as legs,
ears, wings, etc.

As it cooled, the front legs
were positioned ... the hind
legs were already set into
place directly after dipping
the underside. Since this was
a larger piece and the bottom
was done first, positioning
of the hind quarters was done
directly after dipping the
under parts to get a good feel
of how the finished critter
would sit. This also ensured
that the part of the critter
that was dipped first was
attended to before it cooled
too much ... in other words,
"worked with" before dipping
any other areas.

Since these are made to scent
the air and are not candles,
you can add as much scent as
the wax will hold. Every wax
may have a different threshold
as to how much scented oil will
bind to the wax, but for the
most part, approx. an ounce
and a half to two ounces per
pound can be added without
over-saturation of the wax.

As for color ... normally,
no color is necessary, but
in some cases, a light addition
of color may be useful. For
instance, if you are dipping
a dark-colored object, a
wax that has a bit of the
same color blends much better
and gives a richer look.
If it is a brown teddy bear,
adding a hint of brown to
the wax may work better.
But, you need to be careful
in your decision, as if it
is a brown teddy bear with
ivory fur on the ears,
then you would not wish
to use the dark wax on that
particular area.

Another thing to think about
when preparing to dip ...
NO interruptions!!
Anything that you can foresee
as being an interruption to
your work should be attended
to beforehand. The wax will
start to harden very quickly
and before it does, you need
to get to it with your fork
to fluff it up ... otherwise it
will become a sloppy, matted
mess that you will not be
able to fix. If you do not
do this quickly, it will
begin to harden, making
clumps on your critter and
the fur will look matted,
so this is very important.

After your critter has been
saturated with wax, set your
pie tin next to the melting pot;
reach in with tongs and grasp
the object firmly ... you do
not want to drop this and
possibly splash hot wax,
so make sure you have a good
hold on it before transferring
it to the pan.

Since there will be hot wax
pouring from the object when
it is first removed from the
melting pot, and it will be
too hot to handle at first,
it's important to transfer
it to a pan that can hold
the excess wax, rather than
a flat plate, which could
spill over. After it has
been moved, there is no
need to try to position it
at first ... just let it sit
a few moments so it can
cool down a bit.

This is the time to start
fluffing up the upper parts,
back, and head areas with
your fork. Simply take your
fork and lightly "brush"
through the fur to separate
the fibers and "fluff" it
up by running your fork
"against the grain" of
the fur so it forces the
fibers to stand up rather
than lie flat. Handling
will become easier after a
few minutes, so you can work
on the underside. Then, you
may wish to move it to a
clean plate and position it
in preparation for the cool
down process.

This is when some toothpicks
may be helpful in tilting the
head, holding up a ear, a wing,
a tail, etc. ... simply prop
up the part you wish to position.
Continue to work over the entire
object with your fork, including
under chin, under ears, etc.,
repositioning until you achieve
the pose you are looking for
and allow it to cool.

Once it has completely cooled,
your item may be wrapped.

Here is an example of the

text for a tag, which
is recommended ...

"Enjoy your scented critter!
This air freshener should never
be placed directly on furniture,
as the scented oils can damage
finishes ... use with a plate or
tray, which you may wish to
cover with a paper napkin or
other protective barrier.
Flammable ... never set
near burning candles or
fireplace. Keep out of reach
of pets and children."

Although you need to be careful
while working with these projects,
the process goes fairly quickly
once it gets underway, and it
results in a fun rejuvenation
of old stuffed animals in a
very interesting way!

Happy dipping !!

© 2011