Saturday, January 19, 2013

Making Beeswax Candles

Here's a quick tutorial on how to make beeswax candles. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be far easier than I imagined and I'm really excited to make them again with the kids.

 Get your hands on a pound (or two or three...) of pure beeswax.  Don't get cheap here.  Get the real stuff.  Buy local if you can - it won't cost you anymore!  Pure beeswax smells heavenly, burns clean, and even purifies your air.  Great stuff.

I was only making five tealight candles and two floating candles - this was plenty of beeswax for that.  Each block was about 2.5" square and roughly half an inch thick.  Cut or break the wax into pieces small enough to fit into your double broiler.

Ok, so I don't have a double broiler, so this is what I used (and I'm saving the can to make it my official candlemaking can).  I only cut the pieces enough to get them in the can.  I knew from grading beeswax when making lotion that it can be a pain to get off of things - use a knife you don't mind getting it stuck on and a can or pot that you won't mind using only for this purpose.  In fact, I even stirred the wax with a small wooden dowel to completely avoid having to clean it off of things.

Wax in the can, water in the pot.  Turn onto medium to medium low heat.  Stir occasionally - not sure you even need to do that, but I can't resist. 

 While the wax is melting, get your wicks ready.  I'm cheap (or ghetto or thrifty or smart - call it what you like), I reused the metal holders from the tealights that I already used.  Twelve of those little suckers costs $3.  That could add up quickly!  Thread the wick through the clip and clamp with needlenose pliers to secure it.

Like this.  I forgot to get a picture of this part, but once some of the wax has melted, dip the wick in the wax to make it stiffer, allowing you to make it stand up straight.  Also, dip the bottom of the clip in the wax and secure it to the bottom of your mold.  Probably should have taken a picture of that step also, sorry.

Once your wax has melted, pour it into the mold.  Silicone molds/baking pans work great for creating candles.  Once the candles cooled, they popped right out.  I did have to prop up the wicks right after I poured the wax in - the hot wax melted the wax already on the wick, but after 2-3 minutes they were good to go on their own.

Finished tealight candles!  I didn't have the same problem with the wicks dropping over in these.  I think it was because they were so small and cooled so quickly.

Next time, we're going to refill old votive holders!  I've also seen where people used various sizes of canning jars.  I think I'll try that to create larger candles that will last longer.  The tealight candles only lasted through dinner, breakfast, and half of lunch today. 

You can also make dipped taper candles using beeswax, but that's an experiment for another day!