MAKING BEESWAX CANDLES

"It's that time of year when the world falls in love..." 

It is also that time of year when the sun goes down early, your power may go out, or you want to enjoy the warm glow of a candle. We have been making a handful of things around here for just that reason.

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These are pretty self explanatory, but I will dive into the basics.

  • Get sheets of beeswax, wick, and scissors. We used Toadily Handmade.
  • Place ideal size of sheet for candle, place wick on the end closest to you and press firmly. Make sure there is enough wick sticking out. Maybe 1/4 inch.
  • Begin rolling until you have yourself a little candle!
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We mixed and matched colors on the inside. The kids enjoyed cutting the wax into smaller pieces and then pressing them into the already made candles. While doing this, we were also making another kind of candle.

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The other kind of candles we made were the hand dipped kind. This technique takes patience and a level of awareness on hot wax safety. I made my first hand dipped candles as a child visiting Michigan at the Greenfield Village, The Henry Ford Museum. It's a special place that shows what life was like before modern technologies. You might find yourself going through the exhibitions thinking "But where are the outlets?"  I remember being outdoors, dipping my wick in what I am recalling was a large cast iron cauldron filled with warm beeswax sitting over some hot coals, or something similarly effective and not dangerously glowing with flames. I had to dip my candle, walk in a large circle, come back, dip again, repeat again and again and again then you might have something resembling a candle, a small candle. The trick is to not let the warm smelling beeswax seduce you into leaving your wick in the cauldron. It will literally melt your work away.

Since I am not in a situation to have a large pot over natural fire outdoors in the element with unlimited amounts of beeswax, I did something different.

Supplies include: beeswax, old red candles and other candle stumps, wick, and an old crock pot just waiting to live the rest of it's life as your hot wax friend. I place mine on the floor over an old jelly roll pan for safety and helpful clean up.

  • Cut string long enough for you to dip two of your candles, but not your hand into the wax.
  • Find a safe place to hang them while you wait until you can do it again. We used the back of the chair we don't mind getting wax drips on.
  • Dip, Hang, and go do something else (like make a beeswax sheet candle). Come back and repeat until you have the desired shape of your candle. Dipping should be coating the coat of wax before and nothing more. Otherwise you are going to make slow going candles go eve slower.
  • TIP: Wax takes a while to heat up, so this is something that is best suited for a planned project and not a spontaneous craft adventure, unless spontaneous for you means 1-2 hours later your ready to begin.
  • WARNING: Wax can become dangerously hot very quickly. If you don't see anything weird, but you smell burning, or hear popping noises best to remove from heat or unplug. I use somewhere between warm and hot setting and toggle back and forth based on how much wax is inside. NEVER leave unattended.
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We don't have a very deep crock pot, so these were never going to fulfill a life as long, elegant tapers. They are wide enough to fit into a regular, taper, candle holder.

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Here is a finished candle in my Opa's (German for Grandfather) candle holder. When I use this candle holder, it's hard not to wear my night cap and my old time-y robe lurking around the house to investigate odd noises.