How to Make Beeswax Candles
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Beeswax candles are a natural alternative to paraffin wax candles. Not only are they better for the environment, but they also produce a cleaner and more fragrant flame. Beeswax is also a superior candle wax because it burns longer and is less likely to create soot than other types of waxes. In this blog post, we will discuss how to make beeswax candles, including the best way to mix beeswax with other ingredients, how to choose the right wick, and how to choose the right container.
Why Choose Beeswax for Candlemaking?
Beeswax is a natural wax that is produced by bees. It is composed of long-chain fatty acids, which give it its unique properties. Beeswax is a hard wax that melts at a higher temperature than other types of waxes. This makes it ideal for making candles because it will not melt as easily in hot weather and can be used in a variety of different molds.
Beeswax produces less soot than other waxes when burned, and lasts quite a long time. In fact, a beeswax candle can burn for up to six times longer than a paraffin wax candle! Beeswax candles also produce light and a pleasant smell when burned without having to add any scents.
Choosing your Beeswax
When making beeswax candles, it is important to use pure beeswax. You can purchase this at a craft store or online. You can use yellow or white beeswax, but be sure to read the label to avoid any additives or bleach. For the highest quality option, you can look for beeswax that has been filtered and is labeled “cosmetic grade.”
Beeswax comes in bars or pellets. Bars are perfectly fine for almost any use, but they are harder to portion out if you don’t want to use the whole thing. For more flexibility, choose pellets that come in a bag and can be measured out by weight.
Mixing Beeswax with other Ingredients
Why would you add anything to your beeswax candles? Beeswax is a very hard substance with a high melting point. Pure beeswax candles are beautiful, yellow, and hard. They last a long time because the wax burns slowly.
However, I have found that making pure beeswax candles is a little bit harder because the wax is so stiff. It’s difficult to get a smooth, even surface on the candles, and they are more likely to crack.
In addition, beeswax can be fairly expensive. By mixing it with another ingredient, you spread out your beeswax over more candles.
Some recipes will tell you to mix beeswax with palm oil or soy wax to make the candles easier to work with. I prefer not to do this because it’s difficult to find a sustainable source of palm oil, and adding soy wax makes the candle less environmentally friendly (though soy is still better than paraffin). Instead, I use organic coconut oil in my beeswax candles. Coconut oil is a good choice for candles because it has a high melting point and it is solid at room temperature. It’s also easy to find in most grocery stores.
You can actually play with the ratio of beeswax to coconut oil if you have time to experiment. I have made candles using 25% coconut oil and 75% beeswax. This mix retains the yellow color of the beeswax and produces a harder candle that will burn longer. However, it does still crack fairly easily.
A 50-50 ratio of beeswax to coconut oil is whiter in color and a bit softer. It is easier to pour out successfully and doesn’t crack as easily. It still burns nicely and retains the beeswax scent, but is not as “pure” as a candle with higher beeswax content and will not last quite as long.
What Containers can you Use for Candlemaking?
There are many options when it comes to containers for beeswax candles, and you don’t have to buy something special. In fact, I like to use recycle old jars or tins that I find at garage sales or thrift stores. I also love pouring beeswax candles into vintage teacups for a truly unique gift.
If you want to make a bunch of uniform candles, you can use mason jars or metal candle tins purchased online or from container suppliers. When choosing tins, be sure to check that they are appropriate for use in candlemaking.
Another option is to skip the container altogether and make candles in molds. Molds are available in sizes ranging from votive candle molds to large pillar candles and all sorts of unique shapes. If you are making candles for the first time, I highly recommend sticking with something simple like a votive mold. More complicated molds can be great fun once you get the hang of the process.
Supplies for Candlemaking
For ease of preparation, we have created a shopping list for beeswax candlemaking in our Amazon Storefront. You may not need everything on this list, so be sure to read about each product below so that you can choose accordingly.
In addition to beeswax, coconut oil (if desired) and a container, you’ll need:
- Candle Wicks: You can purchase these at a craft store or online. Be sure to get wicks that are appropriate for the size of your candle (as measured by candle diameter). You can use traditional cotton wicks, or for a more unique candle consider wooden wicks. Wooden wicks crackle just a little bit when burned so they are good for wider candles.
- Candle Wick Tabs (optional if your wicks don’t come with them): These are little metal or plastic disks that you can use to attach the wick at the bottom. They help to keep the wick in place as you pour. For wooden wicks, use metal clips made for this purpose. Wicks also come in pre-sized lengths with tabs attached, which is an easy option if you are making a lot of candles the same size.
- Candle Wick Stickers are also a cook option as they allow you to stick the wick to the bottom of your container and help it stay in place.
- A double boiler: This is just a pot that fits inside another pot with water in it. The boiling water creates heat that melts the beeswax in the bowl above. You can also use a heat safe bowl on top of a double boiler, or you can use a specially-designed candle pouring pot.
- A glass measuring cup with a spout can be useful for pouring the wax instead of pouring directly from your double boiler.
- NOTE: If you are going to be melting wax frequently I also highly recommend a wax melting pot with a pouring spout. This is kind of like a crockpot for candlemaking, and makes it easy to pour the wax into molds. You can also use a glass measuring cup to make pouring easier.
- Measuring cups to measure out your ingredients, or a scale to weigh them.
- A stirring spoon: You will need this to stir the wax and make sure it is evenly melted. You can also use a wooden stick (like a kabob stick or chopstick).
- Scissors: To cut your wicks to the right length.
- A pencil or chopstick: To hold the wicks in place while you pour.
- A pot holder or oven mitt: You will need this to protect your hands from the hot wax, especially if you are transferring from one container to another or need to hold the vessel into which you are pouring.
How to make Beeswax Candles
Prepare your wicks by cutting them to the desired length. The wicks should be about two inches taller than your container. If you are using wick tabs, attach them now.
If you’ll be using a glass measuring cup, put some hot water into your glass measuring cup to warm it while your wax is melting. This will ensure that your wax stays melted when transferred for pouring.
Measure out your wax according to the volume of your candle holder, either using 100% wax or a combination of wax and coconut oil. I usually approximate how much I will need total, then do a 50-50 split of wax and coconut oil.
Place the wax into whatever container you will be using to melt – remember you can use a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan, a double boiler, or a candle pouring pot. Or, you can use your wax melting pot if you have one.
Start by melting the beeswax. Once the beeswax is melted, remove it from the heat and add the coconut oil (if using), and stir to combine. This is also when you can add a few drops of fragrance if you want your candle to have a scent other than natural beeswax.
If using a glass measuring cup, pour the warm water out of your glass measuring cup and dry it, then transfer your melted wax to this container for pouring. Otherwise, pour right from your melting container.
Begin by pouring enough hot wax to just cover the bottom of your mold or candle container. Then, place the wick into the container and center the wick tab. Use a pencil or chopstick to hold the wick in place while you let it cool for a minute. Then pour the rest of the hot wax into your container, moving the wick into place as necessary to ensure it stays centered.
You can also hold the wick in place using two kabob sticks or chopsticks held together with an elastic. Stretch the wick gently so that it is straight from bottom to top and centered while the wax cools.
Allow the candle to cool until completely hardened (I usually let it sit overnight just to be sure, but it can cool in a few hours). Trim to wick to about 1/4 inch above the top of the wax.
And that’s it! You’ve made your own beeswax candles. Enjoy!
How to Store Beeswax Candles
Beeswax candles should be stored in a cool, dry place. If they are mixed with other ingredients they will melt more easily, much like any candle in a hot climate. Store out of the sunlight and preferably in a colder part of your house when not in use.
You can also wrap beeswax candles in newspaper or tissue paper to protect them from dust and dirt.
Be sure to allow your candle to fully cool down and become solid again before storing or covering.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU MAKE WITH BEESWAX?
There are so many wonderful things you can make with beeswax. Personal care products take advantage of the health benefits of beeswax for your skin. Home products use the protective benefits of beeswax for leather and wood.
Try some of these products yourself!