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Beeswax Candles

{As featured at The Crafty Crow}

Beeswax: we bought at Common Ground Fair this fall

When I set out to do this project my simple goal was to make our advent celebration candles and do a meaningful activity with the kids. It was so thoroughly enjoyable and yielded such lovely results it may become a new holiday tradition.

Basic Instructions

I found the instructions on this sweet crafty blog. Because I didn't have a large can we used a large mason jar and switched to a narrower jar near the end of the process to keep the wax level high enough. I also started with looped candles, as you can see in the photos, but ended up cutting the ends and switching to single dips.

We cooled our candles laying down (not hanging) with no adverse effects. I started with 2 lbs of beeswax (I got it for a steal at the fair for $8.00) and had 6 oz or so left when we were done. We made 18 candles, 4.5 - 5 inches tall.

We also made a huge mess. I suggest using lots of newspaper (we didn't) and budgeting ample time for scrubbing pots.

The first dipping: we started on an evening and finished the next morning

Beeswax is the Best

Ok, so here's the really cool thing about making beeswax candles, actually there's many so I'll list them:

  • Anyone can do this, you do not have to be "crafty". Can you heat water on the stove? You can do this.
  • Burning beeswax candles cleans the air.
  • Homemade beeswax candles are gorgeous. The freshly dipped and still warm candles "are divine to the touch" (Celine's phrase) and are intoxicating to smell. Seriously, you will feel happier, healthier and calmer just sniffing these babies.
  • This is a child-friendly craft that yields a beautiful result. It requires no hot glue, plastic do-dads, sparkles or any other fossil fuel derived craft supply. (I can't verify that no bees were harmed in the procurement of the wax so these aren't certifiably animal friendly).
  • Should the power ever go out or you choose to turn off the electricity for a day, you've made something that is useful, not just pretty and decorative. Candle making is a practical art, like soapmaking, and produces something that will not clutter your home.
  • Little fingers can hold and dip quite well and the wax, though warm and melted, does not burn (the boiling water though - watch out), making this an all family activity.
  • Beeswax, at least where I live, is locally produced. These candles are truly Made in Maine.
  • The candles take several hours to make. I see this as a bonus, lots to time to talk with my children and learn together.
  • It's amazing how much science, math, poetry, history comes up while you are dipping.
  • These would be a wonderful gift to give or receive.
  • A few hours of "work", a small financial investment and some major clean up (it's wax after all) produces a lot of candles. How well they burn remains to be seen. 

I could go on and on about how much I loved doing this but you'd get bored. The short of it is these were lovely to make and they will be lovely to use in our advent wreath, for lighting up the winter evenings or maybe to give a few as gifts.

dipping demonstrated: I took the pan off the stove for this shot since the light was better by the window
I took the pan off the stove for this shot since the light was better by the window

almost done

 

Update

I'm disappointed to report that these beautiful to look at candles don't burn very well. Let me correct that, they burn too well.

The wax closest to the wick burns faster than the outer wax which creates a crater that snuffs out the burning wick unless you tip the candle and drain it down the side (making a huge big drippy mess). I think I needed to use a thicker and slower burning wick. Any other ideas?? They still look beautiful when they burn, in a messy, drippy sort of way. I'm don't even want to show you what these candles have done to our advent wreath holder.

Resources: 

27 November 08

Comments

thanks so much for posting

thanks so much for posting these great pictures on beeswax candle making. I'm doing this project with a bunch of children this week, and this was helpful. I haven't made these in over 20 years, so you forget a lot in that time!! ;)

Did you ever find a solution

Did you ever find a solution to the uneven burning problem? This project looks so fun, and since it's an all-family activity, something I can do even with my little girls. And I love the fact that yes, it's actually something you can use and want to have around, rather than some tacky spangly thing that you don't want to keep but hate to throw away because your kid made it.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm trying to go hardcore, but I have SO FAR to go, and I'm taking it in baby steps (even though it feels like I'm barreling into green). There will always be someone, many someones, crunchier than I am. And for that I'm grateful, that they're able to do things I might not be able to do. It isn't a contest. We're all doing our part.

I think your blog is wonderful. I'm giving serious thought to evaluating my temperament for homeschooling my little kids, none of whom has reached school age yet. I admire anyone who is able to teach, and that's what I have to evaluate for myself - whether I can do that effectively. I love how much I'm learning from your blog and other crunchy blogs about things to do with my family, new ideas for greening ourselves better, things I thought I'd never do or be able to do that suddenly are things I'm either doing or considering doing... and I'm adoring your photographs, which are so warm and lovely.

Hi there, I just watched a

Hi there,
I just watched a show on dipping bees wax candles. They were using something called 24 ply wicking. I purchased separately for a dipping project (haven't done it yet, of course) wick called SB1C-B Bulk Wicking #1/0 square braid from Pourette.com when I asked them what to use for dipping at the time. I was just getting re-interested in trying dipping again. I could try the wick and let you know how it burns if you are interested. I love your site! :)
Denise

I have about 20 pounds of

I have about 20 pounds of beeswax. I'd like to use it to make a rolled candle instead of a dipped candle. Does anyone know of a way to maybe pour some of the melted beeswax onto a cookie sheet to a certain thickness, then use it as the sheet beeswax?

Thank you.

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Freezing candles can help

Freezing candles can help them burn slower and more evenly. Adding a bit of soy-based wax will also help. However, I still wouldn't use them on an Advent wreath.

You might not want to follow

You might not want to follow this last suggestion: It would work if you were using any other type of wax except beeswax, which doesn't react well to freezing.

Regarding how a candle burns,

Regarding how a candle burns, I found these pieces of information when researching just what is the best size for wicks when making tapers:
Wicks that are too small for the candle will leave a lot of unburned wax around the outside of the candle or just drown in the pool of wax that gathers at its base.
Wicks that are too large for the candle will cause excessive smoke, burn too fast, or even cause the wax to overflow down the sides of the candle or container.
Beeswax candles require a thicker, sturdier wick than paraffin candles of the same diameter.
Beeswax candles burn and melt more slowly than paraffin candles, which is why a sturdier and larger wick (with a larger flame) is the best choice.
Hope that helps. Trial and error may be your best guide.

I added some coconut oil to

I added some coconut oil to my homemade beeswax candles and it helps cool them down and "cooler oil" helps I also used hemp cord instead of cotton because it burns at a slower pace with the beeswax. I haven't tried dipped yet just jarred up candles, I'm going to dip today! great tutorial thanks!

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