Monday, March 4, 2013
DIY Beeswax Candles
To get started, you will need at least a pound of beeswax, some regular cotton string, and a tall jar or can that you can throw away when you're done. (If you don't have beeswax, you can get some from Mountain Rose Herbs.)
The beeswax takes a while to melt, so start with that. If it's in one big block, use a large knife to hack it into more manageable pieces. Put some water in a large pot, and start heating it on low. Put the jar or can in the pot, and fill it with as many beeswax chunks as you can. (The double-boiler setup is to keep the wax temperature down, so it won't catch on fire.)
While that's melting, get your wicks ready. Your candles can be almost as tall as your jar or can, as long as you have enough wax. Add several inches to that height, then cut strings twice that long. So, for example, if you want to make six inch candles, cut lengths of string about eighteen inches long. That's because there will be two candles on each string.
Next, get your dipping area ready. Put down some newspaper if you don't want to be scraping wax off your floor. Set up something to hang the candes on to dry. A laundry rack works well, or two chairs with a few yardsticks or other long things balanced between their backs.
When the wax is melted, drop your wicks all the way in. Fish them out one at a time with a fork or chopstick, and hang each one over your rack, trying to even it out so that the ends are about equal in length. Be careful, though – the wax is hot!
Once you have all your wicks drying, the first one you dipped should be dry enough to dip again. This time you won't put it all the way into the wax. Hold it by the folded part and dip into the jar again. You don't have to rush too much, but you don't want the dry wax to remelt, either, so just dip the candles in all the way to the bottom of the jar, then take them out and hang them back up. Repeat with all the wicks.
Repeat again and again, adding more wax as necessary. If the candles are a bit crooked, you may be able to gently reshape them while warm. Repeat until you run out of wax, or the candles are as big as you want. Let them cool completely.
The loops are convenient for hanging your finished candles up, but once you cut them apart and trim the wicks, they're ready to burn.
(creative commons image by Rebecca W)