Candles add fragrance, ambiance, warmth and light to any room. Who doesn’t enjoy a conversation, drink or meal by candlelight? What if you could easily make the candles yourself and choose only the best, cleanest ingredients? Beeswax is your best option for avoiding the potentially harmful toxins that can be found in many different types of candles.Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this amazing natural wax, and to discover how to make your own beautiful candles. Decorate your home, give them as gifts or create a unique centrepiece. Start getting creative!
What is beeswax?
Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honeybees. When producing honey, bees also produce wax. In this process, they separate the honey from the wax, and then discard the latter in the hive, using it for the combs structural stability. When the honey is harvested, so is the wax.
The natural colour of beeswax ranges from yellowy white to brown, depending on which flowers the bees are getting the pollen from. The wax has a strong and delicious honey fragrance.
Aside from candles, it has a variety of applications, especially for cosmetics purposes, such as moisturiser, hand cream, eyeshadow and lipstick. It is an excellent natural and flexible binder; it helps seal in moisture and keeps the skin conditioned. Other uses include furniture polish and lubricants.
Why choose beeswax?
Beeswax has a range of benefits other waxes don’t have, making it the healthier option when it comes to burning wax. It is natural and safe, because it has no dangerous chemicals whatsoever, coming directly from the hive.
Paraffin candles (made from petroleum) release carcinogens (like toluene) into the air every time they burn, so you’re actually polluting the environment around you when you use them. In contrast, beeswax candles may actually purify the air, drawing the toxins out. Each time they burn, they release negative ions. In order to be suspended in the air, dust, dirt and pollutants carry positive ions. So by coming into contact with the negative charge emitted by the beeswax, they are neutralised and fall to the ground. This is in fact how many air purifiers and water filter systems work.
Making the candles
Now that you know everything about your new favourite type of wax, let’s get down to business. To make the candles, you’ll need:
- Beads beeswax (really easy to measure and they melt faster)
- Cotton square wicks
- Essential oils
- Coconut oil
- Wax pouring pot
- Jars or metal tins
- Pen or stick
Before we start the process, there are a few things to consider:
- Keep children and pets away from your working area
- Beeswax is highly flammable, so make sure you never place it in direct contact with heat
- To melt it, you can use the bain-marie method, also known as double boiling. To achieve that, you can use a double boiler or simply place a pan on top of a big pot, which is filled with boiling water.
- Beeswax is very hard, which makes it hard to melt and then burn properly as a candle. That is why it’s important to mix it with coconut oil and essential oils, so it softens and lasts longer. It also provides a nice aroma.
- For every 150 g of wax, you can add 10 to 40 drops of essential oil, preferably when the wax is as cool as possible but is still soft.
- Wicks come in different sizes. To find which size is the best for the candle you are making, you’ll need to take into consideration the diameter of the container that will hold the candle, and then compare to this chart:
Size 1 = Candle diameter of 2.5 – 4cm
Size 2 = Candle diameter of 4 – 5cm
Size 3 = Candle diameter of 5 – 6cm
Size 4 = Candle diameter of 6 – 7cm
Size 6 = Candle diameter of 7 – 8cm
Size 7 = Candle diameter of 8 – 9cm
Now, let’s get to work!
Step one: Melt
Once you’ve selected the amount of wax you want to use (according to how many candles you want to make), you can start melting it. Keep in mind any pot or metal container you use to melt the wax in will be really hard to clean afterwards, so ideally it’s best if you allocate a pot for the single purpose of wax melting. You can use an aluminium container if you don’t have any pots to spare.
To get the best results, we will use 50/50 beeswax and coconut oil mixture. Once the wax has completely melted, it’s time to add the coconut oil. It will dissolve quite quickly, so stir for a few seconds until it blends with the beeswax.
Step two: Prepare the containers
While you’re waiting for the wax to melt, you can start preparing the container that will hold the candle. If you decide to choose jars or glassware, make sure that they are heat resistant. Place them on a glass surface or a chopping board so that you don’t damage the kitchen counter or table when you pour in the hot wax.
You will also need one wick per candle. Keep it long and hold it upright over your candle by wrapping the extra length around a pen or stick.
Step three: Pour
Once the beeswax and coconut oil blend is completely melted, carefully pour the mixture into the container. Go slow, don’t overflow the container, and make sure you leave room for the wick. Keep in mind the wax shrinks a bit when it cools down, so keeping a spare bit of warm wax could be helpful to top up the candle as needed.
This is also the time when you should add the essential oils, either to the whole mixture, or individually in each container. It’s up to you – you may want different candles to have different scents.
Step four: Wait
At this stage, you just need to wait overnight for your candles to cool down and solidify. Next, you can trim the wicks leaving them about 1-1.5 cm long.
Now you’ve got perfect homemade, healthy and beautiful candles. You can decorate the jars with ribbons if you like. Then light them up, and enjoy!