Beeswax in kilt making

Great Kilt or Belted plaid

Great Kilt or Belted plaid

Beeswax has a phenomenal number of uses. We list some interesting beeswax uses here. Sometimes, however, we are still surprised by the inquiries that come our way!

Earlier this year, we had a call from Todd of R&I MacDonald Kiltmakers, who were looking to purchase some beeswax. It turns out beeswax is used in traditional kilt making and this was an application we had not come across before! Todd explained that this was a traditional method whereby the beeswax was heated and applied to secure the ends of the plaids. In other words, to stop the fabric from unraveling.

At this point I realised I knew very little about kilts so I did a quick bit of research. I discovered that the word "plaid" comes from the Gaelic "plaide" (pronounced "pladjer"), which means blanket. The early Highland "Great Kilt" was a blanket like garment, wrapped around the torso, over the shoulder and secured with a belt. The skirt-like garment which we tend to refer to as a kilt these days has probably only been common for two to three hundred years.

There's lots of interesting stuff about the history of Highland dress here. And now we know that beeswax is used in traditional kilt making!