Lighting a homely candle each day can be wonderful for creating ambience and a beautiful smell in your home. Although making beeswax candles at home can be fun, it is also a challenge to get them right. Here are 10 top tips to make the best homemade beeswax candles to enjoy.
Why would you make beeswax candles at home?
There is a great feeling that is created when you light your homemade candle and experiencing the fruits of your labour. But why would you go to the trouble of making your own beeswax candles?
Homemade candles mean you have control over the ingredients that are in it, including the quality of the beeswax, colour and scent. Beeswax is naturally honey scented however, you may want something a little different. Essential oils are a great way to add a scent to the candle and are easily available, and natural.
Making your own candle provides assurance that it is naturally and ethically made. You’re also learning a new skill and can have a lot of fun making beeswax candles at home.
Additionally, beeswax is an excellent alternative to paraffin candles because of the potential health benefits they have. This includes cleaner burning compared to man-made candles and an ability to clean the air.
10 tips for making beeswax candles at home
1. Blend the beeswax with other oils
Blending beeswax with oils such as coconut oil is common practice in the making of beeswax candles. This is because beeswax may not hold onto added scents very well and 100% beeswax candles have been known to tunnel and burn unevenly.
Coconut or sustainably sourced palm shortening are some of the best options because they are semi-solid at room temperature. An oil that is liquid at room temperature will result in a softer candle that can burn unevenly. Adding the oil can also help the candle have a stronger scent as the oil sometimes holds the essential oils better than the beeswax.
2. Use beeswax pellets or grate a block
You can purchase beeswax in many forms but the most typical is either pellets or in a solid block. A block can be difficult to melt and potentially overheat the wax that melts first. To avoid this, it is recommended that you grate the beeswax block to enable more even and quicker melting.
3. Melt the wax using a double boiler
The best method for melting the beeswax is using a double boiler. Place the beeswax into a bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl as this can cause overheating. The heat created from the steam warms the bottom of the bowl, creating the optimal temperate to evenly melt the wax and control the heat.
This is extremely important as overheating the wax can cause it to discolour and become much darker, as well as affecting the texture and smell of the natural beeswax.
4. Wick type and size
This might be an overlooked art of handmade candles however; it is also one of the most important parts. The wick size is important to ensure the candle burns evenly and reaches the edges of the container. A larger wick allows more wax to be burned so that it doesn’t drown or self-extinguish. If your candle burns too quickly, you may need a smaller wick. There are wick size charts available online that can help you decide on the size to use for the size of your jar.
Additionally, cotton braided wicks are recommended by candle makers for your homemade candles. Purchasing wicks with wick tabs on the bottom is also desirable so that it can be more stable during pouring.
5. Use wick stickers
Wick stickers are a great tool to use when making candles. Place the sticker on the wick tab and fix it to the bottom of the jar in the centre. This helps to fix the wick in place, avoiding any movement when making the candle.
6. Fix the wick after pouring
The wick also needs to be fixed in the centre after the candle is poured. This is essential to ensure even burning of the candle and to avoid any soot residue on the side of the jar.
You can secure the wick using a pencil on the top of the jar. Stick the wick to the pencil and rest it on the jar or stick the jar to avoid any movement. Leave it there during the cooling period to fix the wick in place.
7. Place the candle somewhere warm to cool
If the beeswax cools too quickly it can lead to cracking of the candle. However, this can be avoided by placing it in a warm oven (where it has been heated and then turned off) or in a hot water bath. This allows the beeswax to cool more slowly and hold its shape.
8. Allow the beeswax to cure for a few days
You don’t want to burn your candle straight away as this can lead to uneven burning of the candle and quicker consumption of fuel. Instead, you must allow your candles to cure for around 2 days. Curing ensures the wax is solid and will burn evenly.
9. Burn for at least a few hours
The first burn of homemade beeswax candles is the most important. Burning for a short amount of time can lead to tunneling of the candle. This where a crater forms in the middle of the candle, leaving much of the wax behind on the sides of the jar.
Tunneling can also affect the burn of the candle including its brightness and if a severe tunnel is created, it can suffocate the flame. You need to avoid this by burning your candle for at least 2 to 3 hours for the first burn. This will help to ensure that the entire surface of the candle is melted so that it will cool flat as well.
10. Be open for trial and error
One thing to remember when hand making beeswax candles is that it can come down to trial and error. Include trials of the types of jars you use, the wicks and wick sizes, the wax recipe, and the type of oils you might add. This is a process to help you find the perfect candle to suit your preferences. If you are not open to trial and error, you may find it more frustrating than fun, so keep an open mind!