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Hot Glue bottle wax experiment

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conpewter

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I've been wanting to try waxing the caps of wine as well as beer for some long term aging, and for the looks factor. I tried to find a good price on sealing wax online but what I found was all about $30/lb. I had hoped to find a replacement that was cheaper.

I did find that they sold colored glue sticks that were used as sealing wax (for envelopes), so I thought I'd give it a try making my own.

I bought all-purpose glue sticks, cut the top off a can and got a hose clamp to use for the bottom in my double boiler setup. (20 hot glue sticks $2.99)
Setup.jpg

Here are the boxes of crayons I bought for coloring the wax. Back to school sale, 30 cents each.
Crayons.jpg

The two colors I'll use, note it can be hard to peel the paper off of crayons, they seem to glue them on now, not like when I was a kid. If you peel it off and there is some glue you can just rub the glue off with a little effort.
Crayons2.jpg

Double boiler setup. THIS DID NOT WORK! I left it there for probably 2-3 hours while I was doing some other stuff, canning strawberry preserves (helping out my wife) and though the glue sticks melted... it was very very slow and way too thick to use.
DoubleBoil.jpg


Instead I just set the can right on the burner, I used some channel lock pliers to grab the edge when I needed to stir. This picture is after the addition of a few crayons, they mix with the plastic very easily.
MeltedInCan.jpg
 
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conpewter

conpewter

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Dipped bottles. Some were dipped deeper than others, trying to get the technique down.

2 crayons in 20 sticks of melted all-purpose hot glue
2.jpg

4 crayons
4.jpg

6 crayons
6.jpg

8 crayons
8.jpg

No more red crayons :(
 
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conpewter

conpewter

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After they had cooled down I tried peeling off the "wax"

2 - very hard to peel off, actually opened the cap and let out CO2, not good
2Peeled.jpg


8 - Easier to peel, not as easy as the Dark Lord bottle I pulled the wax off of. (The only bottle wax I have experience with). Didn't leave residue on the bottle, also could have opened the bottle with an opener and peeled the wax later.
8Peeled.jpg

In conclusion, for 20 sticks of hot glue, I think it will need 12 crayons to give it the right consistency. The color depth is fine with 8, but it needs to be thinner and easier to pull apart. You may be able to put in regular wax or beeswax instead of crayons as long as it doesn't dilute the color any, just needs to be thinner and peel off a little easier.

I do not know if 20 sticks will be enough for a whole batch. I think it would do a half batch, or if you bottled in 22 oz bottles.
 

brrman

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wow - great test and write up, conpewter! Very interesting. I have been thinking about trying this myself.
 

Arkador

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that looks quite similar to the waz that Maker's Mark uses. What di you think this method would cost to wax a 12pack of beer?

I had not concidered mixing hotglue and crayons
 

DRoyLenz

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Wow Conpewter, this is great! Thanks so much for doing the testing so I don't have to! I think this turned out VERY well.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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KingBrianI

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I think paraffin wax would be too crumbly on its own, but if mixed with hot glue sticks, you might be able to get to a ratio that is the right consistency.
 
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conpewter

conpewter

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that looks quite similar to the waz that Maker's Mark uses. What di you think this method would cost to wax a 12pack of beer?

I had not concidered mixing hotglue and crayons
For a 12 pack I'm sure you'd get by with the amount I made, so with the prices I got stuff at, you'd be looking at $4.50 or so. Less if you can find cheaper glue sticks.

As for the canning, we didn't use any paraffin, the recipe didn't call for covering the preserves with wax, just putting in the jar with the lid, 1/4" of headspace and boiling for 15 minutes. Apparently there is enough acidity and sugar in the recipe to not need pressure canning.

The crayons were not the big expense, plus I can make so many different colors of wax now. Each box had 4 bluish crayons so I could have made perfect blue wax. Same with an Orange wax.

You could some crayons to get good color then add in paraffin if you have it, or just candle wax. Just need to add enough to get the right consistency.
 

clemson55

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Maybe I'm confused but why don't you just buy this? Bottle Wax :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies
I have used it and it works great melted in a double boiler in about 10-15 minutes, obviously the consistency is right, and it comes in a ton of colors. I melted about 1/4 to 1/3 of the bag did 24 wine bottles and still have about 1/2 of that wax left for the next time. I would say you will get more than the 65 bottles they say depending how thick you go of course.
 

FailureDrill

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Were you able to let it cool and then heat it up again to do more bottles?
 

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I am going to experiment with this tonight while I try and wax some bottles. The first ones I used just straight crayons... although it was very thin it worked. After seeing this post with the glue sticks I think this might be the perfect thing to thicken up the wax a little for bottling. I used white wax to bottle a red wine... looks kinda cool
 

camiller

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So according to conpewter it would take 12 crayons to 20 glue sticks to get the right consistancy. According to the internet a single crayon is 5 grams of mostly paraffin wax with a small amount of colorant. So 60 grams of paraffin. Since glue sticks come in various lengths/diameters 4"-10"L x .25"-.625"D we are close to a universal formula. Conpewter (or anyone else experimenting), any chance you could weigh one of the glue sticks you used? I'm leaning towards just buying the paraffin wax used in canning jellies and colorant used in candle making if it is cheaper overall, got to price the colorant...

Edit: One of the sealing wax write-ups used RIT dye as a colorant... Should be pretty cheap.
 
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conpewter

conpewter

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I don't seem to have any more of the glue sticks to weigh, they were the normal size gluesticks from Meyer though. Good to know about the dyes and paraffin, I'll see how the cost breakdown is when I do a whole batch sometime.
 

PassionBeer

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I don't seem to have any more of the glue sticks to weigh, they were the normal size gluesticks from Meyer though. Good to know about the dyes and paraffin, I'll see how the cost breakdown is when I do a whole batch sometime.
Hey, sorry for digging up an old thread but I had a question, conpewter, on your method. I see you used a soda can. So, you just added the glue sticks to the can and put the can directly over a propane/gas burner? Then add the crayons, mix, etc.?

Sounds simple expect putting that can over an open flame. Let me know, thanks!
 

ArtVandelay

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I don't mean to keep an old thread alive but this piqued my interest since I work as an adhesive chemist for a hotmelt adhesive company. No joke.

The whole issue with this is the relatively high melting point/softening point of the adhesive which is probably >200F to get to a desireable viscosity to mix with crayons and pour over the bottle. Using adhesive is also going increase adhesion to the bottle and cap making it a pain to get off vs. just wax. It also won't be brittle enough to just crack off

I would just buy the premade bottling wax and be done with it. http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/bottle-wax-holiday-red-1-lb.html
 
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conpewter

conpewter

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I used a water bath to melt the hot glue sticks and crayons. Once the hot glue was melted the wax from the crayons mixed in quite easily. Overall though I'd try it with parafin next time or just buy the bottle wax. You could always buy the bottle wax and modify the color with crayons.
 

PassionBeer

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I used a water bath to melt the hot glue sticks and crayons. Once the hot glue was melted the wax from the crayons mixed in quite easily. Overall though I'd try it with parafin next time or just buy the bottle wax. You could always buy the bottle wax and modify the color with crayons.
I just wanted to say I used this method last night and it turned out beautifully! Thanks again :)
 

hibbleton

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I tried this method today and it worked beautifully! I put 5 hot glue sticks into a soup can and put that directly on my propane burner. I added 2 black Crayola crayons and the whole mixture melted within a couple minutes and didn't require any stirring. However, it did catch fire at one point and blowing on it just made the flames grow, so watch out for that. Also, I would recommend doing this over some newspaper or something b/c when I would flip it rightside up after dipping some wax got on the ground and is hard to get up.

Next time I'll use 10 glue sticks just so it's deeper. I'll probably also skip the floss, which was to make them easier to open but I think it's unnecessary and takes away from the presentation. I would also recommend only dipping each once; the double-dip doesn't look as good. The wax comes out smooth and feels similar to Maker's Mark wax. Here's some pictures (they are a deeper black in person, the pics make them look lighter):


 

Cheeto

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+ 1 on the dental floss, I prefer the wider stuff a drip of crazy glue to fasten the end on the cap and than one wide wrap. makes for a very easy removal
 

rickfrothingham

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I tried out this method today and it worked great! I'm a little concerned with how well stuck on the bottles were... we'll see how it goes when they're all solidified.

I used 12 crayons (from my 64-crayon custom box i ordered through the online build-a-box tool - 32 red, 16 blue, 16 brown for variation later) and 20 of the standard size glue sticks (4" by .44" size).

It seems like everyone here has access to gas stoves, in which case there's no reason why you can't just use low heat and put the can directly on the flame. I only have electric elements, so to avoid hot spots I tried the double boiler method first (which took an hour and it was only halfway melted and very thick). Since that wasn't working well, i swapped the water for vegetable oil (the smoke point of which is ~330 or higher) so i could get a hotter double boil going. It worked like a charm; I had the mixture hot and ready in a few minutes. Just be careful when using this method, the oil can get MUCH hotter than boiling water without seeming particularly hot, and if you drip any water in it, it will snap explosively.

Anyway, I'm very pleased with the results; the wax dripped perfectly and they really resemble the Makers Mark style seals. If you want the wax to be more precise and contained to just the top inch or so, hold the bottle upside down at an angle over the can and continue to spin while the excess wax flows off until there is very little left, then turn upright. If you want more drips, dunk then give it one or two spins to even it out, then turn upright while there is still a lot of extra hot wax left to slowly run down the sides. After the first couple bottles I was getting 1.5" or so of full coverage with several 1-2 inch drips coming down the neck... Beautiful!

As for its efficacy in reducing oxidation, I really doubt it does much. The primary source of oxygen is during racking/bottling, and normal caps when attached correctly provide a great seal already, not to mention your beer is under positive pressure anyway so no outside air is getting in. For beers that I'm going to age more than 3-6 months I'll use the oxygen absorbing caps to try and grab up any oxygen left in the head space from bottling (I don't know if they really work either, but its $1 extra per 250 at my LHBS so why not). That said, the wax certainly is beautiful and really goes a long way towards presentation value if you're giving it as a gift. I just used it on a Pecan Barleywine I bottled 3 months ago (2 pounds roasted pecans in the mash) which will definitely be sent out as gifts this Christmas.
 

rickfrothingham

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Very tasty winter sipping beer! It got 2nd place in Category 21-A last weekend in a competition here in Philadelphia. PM me for the recipe if you like, I don't want to get off topic on this thread.
 

camiller

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Very tasty winter sipping beer! It got 2nd place in Category 21-A last weekend in a competition here in Philadelphia. PM me for the recipe if you like, I don't want to get off topic on this thread.
I'm sure BSBrewer isn't the only one who think that sounds awesome! ;) Why not post it up in the recipes section? Or if you don't want to do that PM it to me as well. Please!
 

rickfrothingham

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So, as an update - I cracked one of them open the other day and it was pretty hard to get the wax off. I would highly suggest using dental floss under the seal to facilitate this process; I had to use a knife to go around a couple times. I don't mind doing this myself, but for the ones I'm giving as gifts I'd rather it be easy.

I put dental floss on a few of my bottles, and those were much easier. Just tie a slipknot in the floss with as little of a tail as possible, pull tight around the neck leaving at least 8 inches of extra. Wrap a couple times around the neck under the cap, then when you seal it leave a few inches coming out from underneath to pull on.

This isn't the most elegant solution, but it beats having to hack away at the wax.
 

brrman

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I think I will attach some sort of mini label to the floss to make it aesthetically acceptable. At least on the ones I give away as gifts.
 

rickfrothingham

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brrman

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Anyone know where to buy something like these tags? Ideally I'm looking for some dark ones, cardboard with an eyehole for the floss

Any craft store should have "favor tags". Little tags for party favors. For something that you really want to be impressive, get some leather and make leather tags.
 

julie0723

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Thank you for this recipe. I wanted something to use on some small craft projects without investing in $20+ per pound and this worked great and was economical.

What size of hot glue gun sticks are used in your recipe? I have a mini glue gun but the glue sticks range in size, length and diameter(according to gun size): 20 hot glue sticks:12 crayons.

Thank you
 

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rickfrothingham

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To both of you;

Thank you for this recipe. I wanted something to use on some small craft projects without investing in $20+ per pound and this worked great and was economical.

What size of hot glue gun sticks are used in your recipe? I have a mini glue gun but the glue sticks range in size, length and diameter(according to gun size): 20 hot glue sticks:12 crayons.

Thank you
How close does this color match a Maker's Mark bottle? I am really curious for doing this for various purposes. And which sized glue sticks did you use?
@Knowitman - the first thing everyone says when they see it is, "Wow, that looks like what Maker's Mark does!" I haven't done a side by side comparison, but it definitely resembles it closely.

From my earlier post - I used 12 standard crayola crayons and 20 of the standard size glue sticks (4" long by .44" diameter size)

[(0.44in/2)^2]*pi*4in = 0.608 cubic inches of glue per 4 inch long standard glue stick.

There appear to be a large number of other sizes around the world, but the only other common one in America is the "mini size", being 0.28 inches diameter and 4 inches long;

[(0.28in/2)^2]*pi*4in = 0.246 cubic inches of glue per 4 inch long mini glue stick.

This means, among these two sizes of 4 inch long sticks, the ratio is just about 2.5 standard per 1 mini stick. Thus, the recipe would be 12 crayons, 50 4" long mini glue sticks. These appear to be the two standard diameter sizes, though stick length vary, so you would obviously need to adjust accordingly if it does.

The other thing - there is a lot of focus on the ratio of glue stick/crayon here, but it's just as important that you hit the right wax temperature when dipping. If it's too hot it will run down the sides a lot and dry thin; if it's too cold it will just glob on around the top. You have to experiment a bit to get it right.
 

Encinoman

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I am interested in doing this but is it possible to use glue sticks and regular candle wax and get the same effect?
 

Encinoman

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Thats what I'm doing this year for Christmas..i'll post pics to show the end result
 
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conpewter

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Hey all! Glad this is working so well for everyone, it can be a bit hard to take off, I think it depends on how much wax there is compared to glue. When I opened mine I'd just slice it down one side with a knife and then peel off from the bottle edge.

Anyone compared this method to just bottle wax you can buy? I haven't brewed much lately so haven't done it, but I do plan on bottling a mead sometime soon.
 

Encinoman

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https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&...&th=12ce77a2a7f9fd7b&attid=0.1&disp=inline&zw

Pretty rookie job but It turned out okay, I didnt use Crayola crayons I used the generic store brand Jumbo Crayons. I used 7 jumbos instead of 12 little ones and used 22 sticks of hot glue. Giving away as gifts at Christmas. Unfortunately the Wax is starting to crack on some of the bottles. But it should make them easier to open. I was pretty happy with the end result overall.
 
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