Please note: I am working on a vegan version of this – keep an eye out for a new recipe!
Beeswax candles are a great natural and sustainable alternative to paraffin, and are remarkably easy to make. They let off a beautiful warm glow, and a light honey scent. They also last longer than transitional candles, as they burn more slowly – plus they’re much cheaper to make yourself than to buy, and make a great gift.
You’ll also need some coconut oil. If you don’t already home some at home, check to see if a fair trade shop near you sells some.
Also, bear in mind that beeswax can be hard to get off – so it’s best to have a ‘kit’ that you can dedicate to your candles. It’s also very flammable, and you should never melt it in a pan on direct heat – always use a double boiler.
Timing can also be tricky, so if you can get everything ready to go beforehand, this will help. It also helps to have another person helping, as it can be fiddly getting the wick to stay in the right place.
You will also want your wax to cool slowly, so turn your oven on to about 65°C, turning it off just before you pour your candles, and let them cool in there.
Heat oven to about 65°C. Boil a pan of water to use for your double boiler. Add your beeswax to the can and place inside your pan of water, using your bamboo skewers to stir. Keep it at a gentle boil until your beeswax has melted.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to prepare your wicks. Depending on the size of your jars, you’ll need 3-4 pieces, around 5 inches long. Dip the bottom 3/4 of your wicks into the melted beeswax, leaving the end exposed, as this is the end you’ll light. This helps the wicks to stay straight .
Once your beeswax is melted, take it off the heat and stir in your coconut oil. Use a bamboo skewer or a spoon you don’t mind getting wax on. Hold your wick in the center of your jar, using a skewer to keep it in place. Pour a small amount of your beeswax through the funnel, until it’s about 1/2 an inch from the bottom of the jar, and put your tin back in the hot water to make sure it stays melted.
Let the wax in the jar cool, so it can hold it wick in place. You can wrap your wick around a bamboo skewer, and lay across the top of your jar, making sure the wick is straight and tight. Use some tape to hold it in place if you need to. Turn off your oven now, and leave the door open.
Funnel the rest of your wax into the jar, leaving around an inch at the top. If you need to, reposition the skewer so the wick is still in the middle. Pop them in the oven so that the cool slowly and don’t crack. Once they’re cool, leave them in a warm place for about 24 hours. Once cooled and solid, you can trim the wick down to about 1/2 inch.
The first time you burn your candle, you’ll want to burn for a least a few hours, with the general rule being around 1 hour per inch width of your candle. This is so that the entire surface of your candle melts, meaning it will be less likely to tunnel straight down the middle. If it does do this, you can always reuse your leftover wax from around the edges the next time you make your candles.
If your candle is melting too fast, your flame won’t stay lit, and will get drowned out by the wax. If it does do this, you may need to use a smaller wick, or use a different sized jar. It can be a bit of a trial and error process, but once you get your recipe, jar and wick sizes perfect, they should work every time.