All candles add beauty to their environment. The golden glow from a lit beeswax candle creates a contemplative and peaceful feeling. Making your own beeswax candles will give you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that will add depth to your enjoyment of lighting a beeswax candle.
The best way to make beeswax candles is gather all your materials before you begin your creations. You need wax, wicks, and containers as your essential ingredients. To process the wax, you will need a means to melt the wax. Understanding beeswax will aid in your artistic process.
Get ready for a messy but rewarding endeavor as you make your own beeswax candles. You can decide if you want all natural candles or a blend. The choice of shapes for your candles is all up to you as well. Continue reading for ideas and information on making beeswax candles.
What is Beeswax?
Honeybees produce beeswax. Worker bees collect pollen and nectar; these sugars combine to produce wax in their wax glands. This wax is released in pieces called wax scales or flakes. Numerous scales are needed to construct parts of the comb.
Hexagonal honeycomb cells are created to build a home for the colony for the bees. Bees form the comb in hexagon because they can fit the maximum number of cells in the smallest space. The honeycomb is made for the queen bee to lay eggs; it is also a storage of honey and pollen.
Initially, the wax of the honeycomb is bright white. As the bees add more pollen from a variety of plants and flowers, the wax transitions from white to yellow then brown. Production of wax is an arduous task for the worker bees. They devour eight pounds of honey in to fabricate one pound of wax, which is why beeswax is costly.
Using Raw Beeswax
Usually candle makers purchase beeswax that is prepared for candle making. But you can buy raw beeswax that has not been processed. Beeswax, in its natural state, has impurities that should be removed before use. If you do find raw beeswax, there are a few steps that you need to follow before you make your candles.
Rendering or cleaning the raw wax will clean any impurities from the wax. Remember working with bees, honey, and beeswax is a very sticky business. The equipment used in this process should not be used for anything else. If you are buying equipment, go to yard or garage sales since they will become sticky.
Melt the Beeswax
There are a couple of options on how to melt the impure beeswax. One is to take the pieces of wax and put them in a large glass measuring cup. The glass vessel needs to be microwavable. Put the container in the microwave. Heat for one-minute intervals and mix at the end of each one-minute session. Repeat until the wax is melted. If your microwave heats at a hot temperature, experiment with partial power.
Another option is to use a double boiler. Bring the water in the bottom pot to boiling. Then add the pieces of wax to the top pot. Continually stir until all the wax is melted.
For this step, you will need a material like cheesecloth that has a loose weave. You also need a plastic container and strong clips. Clips can be like those used to bind papers together.
Add cold water to the plastic container. Run the water until about one-third of the container is filled. Then put your cheesecloth-like material over the top of the plastic container. Take your binder clips and clamp the strainer material to the sides of the plastic container.
Carefully pour the melted beeswax into the plastic container. The clean wax will flow through the strainer material into the cold water. When the hot wax meets the cold water, it will begin to form.
You may need to repeat this step depending upon the condition of the wax. If so, use a new cloth each time.
Hardening of the Wax
You can remove the cheesecloth-like filter from the top of the plastic container. This will be holding all the impurities that have been removed from the melted wax.
Let the wax remain in the plastic container until it is completely solidified. Once it is hardened, you can take it out of the container. Leave it out on cooling racks until the wax no longer emits heat.
If you are not going to use the wax right away, the cooled wax can be stored in plastic containers or plastic resealable bags. Keep the wax in a cool location away from light.
Steps in Beeswax Candle Making
Before making your candles, you should gather all the materials you need.
If you have beehives, you can supply your own beeswax. Otherwise, purchase your wax from a supplier that labels all the ingredients. If your goal is to make beeswax candles, then be sure that you are starting with 100% beeswax. It is easiest to manage blocks of beeswax. You can cut these into smaller pieces of a matching size that will melt evenly.
Frequently used to melt chocolate, a double-boiler is a terrific way to melt your wax. It is easier to control the heat on a double-boiler than a microwave oven.
Taking the temperature of your wax as it is melting is essential to avoid burning your wax. A candy thermometer works best for this application due to the temperature ranges.
Wicks and Wick Stickers
Wick stickers stick the end of the wick to the base of the container or candle mold. With the heat at which beeswax candles burn, cotton wicks are the best complement.
There are a variety of containers that you can use to make beautiful candles. For a novice, clean glass jars offer the most flexibility in size and lowest in cost. Mason jars are a great option since they are made to withstand heat and can be reused.
Stirrers and Skewers
You need to be able to stir the wax. Using a wood spoon to move the wax around while it is melting will ensure an even melt. Remember the wax will stick to whatever you use.
If you have access to plastic coffee stirrers or bamboo skewers, either will work well to assist with keeping the wicks in place.
Steps of Production
Prepare the Candle Containers
At the bottom of the containers you are using, put your wick stickers. The wicks need to be cut longer than needed. Take the top part of the wick, the end you will burn, and tie it to a skewer or stirrer. Then place the stirrer or skewer across the top of the container. This will hold the wick in place.
Using a Double-Boiler
In the bottom pot, add a few inches of water. Bring that to a boil. Put the top pot on; this pot should only be used to melt wax.
Adding in the Wax
When the water in the bottom pot is boiling gently, add the pieces of wax to the top pot. Stir the wax as it is melting. Do not let the wax get too hot. Use your thermometer to be sure you do not let the wax heat above 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour the Candles
After all the wax has melted, carefully pour it into your containers. Let the candles sit in a cool area until they are completely hardened. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes Beeswax Candles to Crack?
Beeswax candles can shrink in size as they cool, which can create slight cracks. This is part of the beauty of using natural beeswax. However, if you try to rush the cooling process, larger cracks can result. Do not try to speed the formation time of your candles with refrigeration.
What is Candle Tunneling?
Candle tunneling is when the wax around the wick does not melt evenly. Small sections of wax melt near the wick instead of a circle of wax around the wick softening when the wick is lit. You will notice the flame creating a channel or tunnel in the candle.
What causes candle tunneling?
Candle tunneling is caused by an incorrect first burn and/or an incorrectly sized wick was used to make the candle. For a correct first burn, you need to let the candle remain lit for one to two hours to create an even burn. Wicks that are not large enough for the size of the candle cannot produce enough heat to melt to the rim of the candle.
What fillers are used in beeswax?
Paraffin is frequently added to beeswax to reduce cost. You can make candles with a beeswax and paraffin blend; however, it changes the properties of your wax. Making and burning candles will process differently because each wax has its own melting point.
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Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Candle Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online candle business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a candle business owner at a craft fair, farmers market, retail location or anywhere else I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive. That’s why I created Candle Business Boss: I want to help candle business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.