Candles have been a staple of human culture and tradition for centuries. In that time, they have served various purposes ranging from religious ceremonies to home decor. In recent times though, there has been an increasing demand for natural and sustainable products. This has led to the current popularity of beeswax candles. Being of natural ingredients, beeswax candles are known for their long burn times and pleasant aromas. This makes them a favorite among many people. If you are a beekeeper, you can create your natural beeswax candles using wax from your hive. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the intricacies of making beeswax candles, hopefully guiding you from start to finish.
A. The Benefits of Beeswax Candles
The advantages of beeswax candles are numerous when compared to conventional candles made from paraffin wax. The following benefits are associated with using beeswax candles:
• 100% natural – Beeswax is a natural and sustainable material. This sets it apart from paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum.
• Long burn time – These candles have a more prolonged burn time when compared to regular candles. This makes them more durable.
• Clean burning – Beeswax candles emit negative ions when burned. This can help to purify the air by removing pollutants.
• Aromatherapy – The candles have a natural honey scent that is both soothing and calming to the senses.
• Non-toxic – These candles are non-toxic, which is unlike paraffin wax candles that can release harmful chemicals when burned.
B. The Importance of Using Natural Beeswax
It is vital to use natural beeswax when making candles. Many candles on the market purport to be made from beeswax, but they may contain other ingredients such as paraffin wax, soy wax, or palm wax. These additional components can reduce the quality of the candle, causing it to burn faster and impacting the scent. By utilizing the natural beeswax from your hive, you will ensure that you are getting a premium, pure product.
C. Obtaining Beeswax from Your Hive
To make the candles, you obviously need to have beeswax. Here are the steps to take to acquire beeswax from your hive:
• Collecting honey – The first step is to harvest honey from the hive, which is the primary source of beeswax. When you extract honey from the combs, you will also remove beeswax.
• Filtering the wax – After you’ve collected the honey, filter the beeswax to remove any impurities. You can use a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer to filter the wax.
• Melting the wax – The filtered beeswax will need to be melted down before you can use it to make the candles. Do this by using a double boiler, an oven, or even a slow cooker.
Before making the candles, it is important to prepare the workspace and gather all the necessary equipment. Here is a list of what you’ll need:
• Beeswax – The amount of beeswax required will depend on the size of candles you want to make.
• Wick – Choose a wick that you think will be suitable for the size of the candle you plan to create. These can be obtained from craft stores or a multitude of places online.
• Candle molds – You can use any heat-resistant mold. Metal and silicone molds are two examples.
• Double boiler – You will need a double boiler to melt the beeswax; alternatively, a slow cooker or oven will work as well.
• Essential oils – If you want to add a scent to the candles, select essential oils that are safe to use.
• Colorants – Natural colorants such as various herbs or spices can be added to the beeswax for coloring.
B. Safety Precautions
It is vital to be safe when working with beeswax to avoid burns and the potential for fire. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
• Use heat-resistant gloves to protect your hands from hot wax.
• Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling wax fumes.
• Never leave the melting wax unattended.
• Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case of an emergency.
• Don’t pour hot wax down the sink or drain. Doing so could cause blockages.
III. Melting the Beeswax
After setting up your equipment and taking the safety precautions into account, it is time to start melting the beeswax. Below are three methods of doing this:
A. Double Boiler Method
The double boiler method is the safest and most common way of melting beeswax. Here’s how it is done:
• Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
• Place a smaller pot or bowl on top of the larger pot.
• Add the beeswax to the smaller pot or bowl and stir occasionally until it melts.
B. Oven Method
The oven method is useful when it comes to melting a lot of beeswax. The best way to do it is:
• Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Place the beeswax in a heat-resistant container and place it in the oven.
• Stir occasionally until the beeswax melts.
C. Slow Cooker Method
The slow cooker method is the most convenient of all three methods, but it does take the longest to melt the beeswax. Do it by:
• Filling the slow cooker with water and setting it to a low heat.
• Adding the beeswax to a heat-resistant container and placing it into the slow cooker.
• Stirring occasionally until the beeswax melts.
IV. Enhancing Your Candles with Scents and Colors
After melting the beeswax, you can add scents and colors to it to make the end candles more appealing. Here is how you can do this:
A. Choosing Natural Scents
To ensure that the candles are safe for use, it is recommended to use only natural essential oils for scents. Some popular natural scent choices to consider are:
• Lavender – Soothing and calming
• Peppermint – Energizing and refreshing
• Lemon – Clean and fresh
• Vanilla – Comforting and warm
B. Adding the Essential Oils
Add the oils to the beeswax candles and mix them in before pouring it into the molds. Here is what to do:
• Add 10-20 drops of essential oil per pound of beeswax.
• Thoroughly stir the essential oil into the melted beeswax.
C. Adding Natural Colors
If you want to add some color to the candles, use natural colorants like herbs or spices. The below are just some of the options to consider:
• Turmeric – Yellow
• Beetroot powder – Pink or red
• Spirulina – Green
To add color to the beeswax, mix the colorant into the melted wax before pouring into the molds. Start with a small amount and adjust as needed to achieve the desired color.
V. Preparing the Wicks
Before pouring the beeswax into the molds though, you will need to prepare the wicks:
A. Selecting the Right Wick
Choosing an appropriate wick size is crucial as this will affect the eventual candle’s burn rate. You will need to:
• use a thin wick for small candles
• use a thicker wick for large candles
B. Preparing Wicks for Use
After choosing the appropriate wick size, you will need to prepare it for use. Follow these steps:
• Cut the wick to the length of your candle mold, adding a few extra inches.
• Dip the wick into the melted beeswax and remove it.
• Allow the wick to cool and harden by placing it on a flat surface.
C. Securing Wicks in the Mold
To hold the wick in place in the mold, use a wick holder or a pencil. Here’s how:
• Thread the wick through the wick holder or tie it to a pencil.
• Place the wick holder or pencil on top of the mold.
• Center the wick in the mold and hold it in place using the wick holder or pencil.
VI. How to Pour Beeswax for Candle Making
Once you have prepared the wicks, the next thing to do is pour the melted beeswax into the molds. We explain how in the below paragraphs:
A. Choosing the Right Mold
As mentioned above, you can use any mold that can withstand heat to make your beeswax candles. The most common options are metal and silicone molds. To that end, here are some popular types of molds that you can use:
• Pillar molds – great for making tall candles
• Tea light molds – better for smaller candles
• Votive molds – probably the best for medium-sized candles
B. Pouring the Beeswax
To pour the beeswax into the molds, follow these steps:
• Place the molds on a flat surface.
• Gently pour the melted beeswax into the molds, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top.
• Let the beeswax cool and harden for a few hours.
C. Adding Multiple Layers
If you want to add multiple layers of beeswax to the candles, wait until the first layer has hardened before pouring the next layer. Repeat the process until you’ve achieved the desired height.
VII. Finishing and Storing
Once the beeswax candles have hardened, you can trim the wick and clean the molds. Here’s the procedure:
A. Trimming the Wick
To trim the wick, follow these steps:
• Use sharp scissors or a wick trimmer to cut the wick to 1/4 inch.
• Discard the trimmed wick.
B. Cleaning the Mold
To clean the mold, follow these steps:
• Remove any leftover beeswax from the mold.
• Wash the mold with warm, soapy water, and then dry it.
C. Storing the Finished Candles
Store the finished beeswax candles in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. To prevent the candles from sticking together, wrap them in tissue paper or store them in individual containers.
Making your own beeswax candles is a fulfilling and enjoyable activity that lets you create high-quality, natural candles using materials from your own beehive. By following the steps that have been outlined in this article, you can make candles that are safe, eco-friendly, and free from harmful chemicals. So why not give it a try? You might just discover a new hobby that you’ll love!