What motivated me to venture into candle making: candles make great gifts. It costs less to make than buying a designer candle. You can control what’s in it. Last night, my husband and I made our first attempt at candle making together. We’re keeping one for ourselves, and gifting the rest to friends and family for Christmas. We’re pretty happy with the results, so I’m sharing how we did it.
Here’s the recipe I used and some of the supplies I purchased on Amazon that you’ll see in the photos:
- 16 oz beeswax pellets (white, one pound)
- Wicks + adhesive stickers
- Small glass jars
- Fragrance oil or very fragrant essential oil like mint, eucalyptus, lavender, or citrus
Here’s what I used in the process:
- A small pot filled with about a cup of boiling water to melt beeswax
- A double boiler for the beeswax
- A cookie sheet layered with wax paper
- Paper towels to protect countertop from wax spillage
- Dawn liquid dish soap to clean glass jars
- Oven mitts
Step One. Melt beeswax over boiling water. I tried melting at a simmer the way I usually do with my bath and body products that also have carrier oils, but it took a looooong time with beeswax alone. As soon as I turned up the heat to a boil, the beeswax started melting relatively quickly. You’ll still need to be patient. It’s not a lightening fast project. But I think it’s worth the time. The beeswax will slowly turn to liquid. If anything goes wrong, you can always re-heat the wax. We had to do this, you’ll see what I mean in a bit…
Step Two. While beeswax is melting, press the bottom of the wick onto the adhesive sticker. Press sticker with attached wick into the middle of your jar (or whatever you’re using. Old mugs and used glass or clay yogurt jars also make nice candle holders).
Step Three. Slide a clothespin down the wick to keep it steady and centered so it doesn’t go wonky once the hot wax is poured in.
Step Four. Add your choice of fragrance oil. I used 2 tablespoons Bramble Berry’s Macintosh Apple scent to match the country style of the jars. I mixed the fragrance in with a whisk designated for my heath and body creations.
Step Five. Slowly add melted beeswax into the jar. If your jar has a lip, do not fill above the shoulder. You’ll soon understand why! We used an oven mitt, the handle of the double boiler was hot, and so were the jars after filled.
Step Six. Place filled jars onto cookie sheet and let cool at least 5 hours. I decided to leave them undisturbed overnight.
Uh-oh. A sinkhole! We tried re-heating the wax by submerging the candle partly in boiling water, pouring it back into the double boiler, cleaning the jar with Dawn soap again to remove all wax residue and re-pouring. And it did it again! Noooo! After an internet search, we learned the reason for our sinkhole was we filled the wax above the shoulder of the jar. Whoops! Sinkholes can also happen if temperatures aren’t quite right. It’s wintertime and we set the heat at 70 degrees, turns out to be a perfect temp for candle making.
Step Seven. Trim the wick. The next day, our candles were hardened and smelling like a basket of fresh apples mixed with a hint of honey from the beeswax. Last thing to do is trim the wick, then secure the lid. Our gifts are ready! I was debating whether to buy caution labels for the bottom, but decided since we’re gifting these to friends and family and not the public, it’s okay to let it slide. Candle makers suggest keeping wick trimmed to 1/8 inch at all times.
Here’s the final product! We hope our peeps will enjoy hours of light from these mini mason candles. Though the process took us 2 hours total to make 12 small candles (partly because I didn’t boil the water right way and beeswax melts slow as a turtle on a hot day), I thought the time and effort was worth it in the end. Each candle was about $2 to make. For every day purposes or special occasions, I’d just make one candle to save time. I imagine it would take about 20-30 minutes. I love the idea of wanting a particular scent and being able to whip up my own designer candle and have it ready to burn within hours.
I read a lot of stressed blogs about cleaning up beeswax. Some people saying it took them hours. It took a few minutes for me. Here’s how: I re-melted any residue of wax in the double boiler then quickly wiped the surface (while still over heated water) with a paper towel. Then I poured in Dawn soap, hot water and let it soak. After soaking a while, I used a sponge (a fresh one, not the kitchen one!) and cleaned off any remaining wax. If you let hard wax sit on surfaces without cleaning up right away, I imagine it will be a real pain in the rear to remove. I re-heated the wax residue as soon as candles were on the cookie sheet. A Dawn soak effectively removes it from there.
If you try it, let me know how it goes in the comments below. Happy crafting!
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