Beeswax candles are a lovely project with meditative results. While you may not have materials ready on hand, they can be inexpensively purchased and ordered online. This simple tutorial can be spruced up by adding essential oils to your candle, placing dried flowers in the wax, and choosing between simple glass containers or more elaborate silicone molds.
½ pound (full cup) of beeswax pellets
¼ cup of coconut oil (optional)
Container for candle (glass/ceramic jars or silicone molds)
Essential oils (optional)
Preparing your candles
Before you begin melting your beeswax, you’ll want to prepare the making of the candles. You can easily find and repurpose containers from items in your house - clean used glass jars, old used candle jars, ceramic mugs or jars, etc. Keep in mind that this recipe will provide 10 oz of candle wax, so you can choose to make one large candle, or play around with other sizes.
You’ll first want to place and secure your wicks in the vessel. Place directly in the center of your candle if you want to make a single-wick candle, and secure with a wick sticker. If you don’t have a wick sticker on hand, you can also dab a small amount of melted wax on the bottom to act as a “glue”. Securing the wick is important to ensure the wick doesn’t begin to float around as the candle melts in the future.
When you pour your wax in, you’ll want to make sure the wick is kept straight. The easiest way to do this is to take a wooden skewer, popsicle stick, or anything that’s longer than the width of the container’s mouth, and place it on top of the jar. Then, simply wrap the wick around the skewer to keep it steady. If you have trouble finding a skewer, you can also simply hold the wick steady as you pour, just be careful as melted beeswax can burn.
Melting the Wax
To melt the wax, begin by preparing a bain-marie. This means simply placing a pot of water to boil with a heat-proof glass bowl on top. Using a bain-marie gives you better control of the temperature of the wax and helps to prevent burning.
Place the wax pellets in the glass bowl along with the coconut oil after the water begins boiling, and slowly stir with a wooden skewer to evenly distribute the heat. If you don’t have coconut oil, you can make a pure beeswax candle, however coconut oil will help to prevent tunneling (see Lighting Your Candle for info).
If you’d like to add essential oils to make your candle fragrant, add now and stir in. Begin with a few drops and build up until your desired scent is reached. Tom’s Natural Food Store in Clinton sells many varieties of essential oils that will nicely accompany your candle. We recommend eucalyptus, lavender, rose, tea tree, or sandalwood.
Begin to slowly pour your wax into the candles and leave enough space at the top so wax won’t spill when the candle begins burning. Allow to set at room temperature. Depending on the size of your candle, you’ll want to wait around 2 or 3 days to allow it to fully set. Do not place candles in the fridge or freezer as this can lead to cracking and migration of essential oils - be patient, the result will be worth it.
Lighting your Candle
After giving enough time for the candle to set, you’re ready to light!
On your first light, you’ll want to burn the candle for 1 hour for every inch in diameter of the container, so if you have a smaller candle that’s 2” in diameter, light it steadily for 2 hours. This technique helps to prevent what is known as “tunneling”, when the middle section of a candle melts farther down than the sides, leaving the sides solid. Tunneling means that you get less life out of your candle as not all the wax is used up.
If you have issues with tunneling despite using this trick, try changing the size of your wick - a thicker wick means slower burning, which is better for larger candles and allows for better distribution of heat.
Ways to spruce up your candle
If you have pressed flowers on hand, you can create a beautiful design by placing them on the side of a glass jar and securing it with a small amount of wax. As you pour, the flowers will still be visible.
You can also sprinkle dried lavender, crushed rose petals, or even dandelion petals through the wax to add to the scent and visual texture.
If you like making candles, you can invest in some silicone molds of different shapes and sizes. Many are available on etsy and help support artists.
Finally, if you’re patient you can try hand dipping candles. This involves the use of a long wick and dipping it into beeswax, allowing to harden, and repeating this process until the thickness of the candle is built up.