How to Make Beeswax Candles at Home

How to Make Beeswax Candles at Home

What a crazy last couple of months! I have been trying for a month to carve out some time to write about how to make beeswax candles at home. But good luck having any kind of time to yourself when you are the primary caretaker of a two-and-a-half year old. I thought I was busy before I became a mother but now I just laugh at that. You don’t truly know BUSY until you’ve got a child. 

It’s amazing how much time they absorb! Changing and washing diapers (we use cloth); preparing meals, snacks, and getting them to eat them; taking them out to parks, play dates, and other activities; and the all-encompassing diligent eye to make sure they don’t kill themselves. Have I mention I caught my daughter pulling the outlet covers off and trying to stick a charger cord into the socket? And that doesn’t include all the research and reading to find out why what used to work before doesn’t seem to work anymore.

And now there’s the new milestones to contend with that I have been putting off for far too long such as transitioning to a toddler bed and let’s not forget the dreaded toilet training. Ugh. Self-sufficiency can’t come fast enough as far as I am concerned. It will be a magical day when my kid can wipe her own butt I’m telling you!

But enough venting (thanks for indulging me)…so let’s take about how to make beeswax candles!

These bad boys are pretty easy to make and will save you a ton of money. It’s a relatively straight-forward operation but you will need to a few supplies ahead of time and a little practice. What I’m going to show you in this post is how to make beeswax candles in a container.


Beeswax Vs. Soy and Paraffin Wax

Image by Zichrini from Pixabay

Beeswax candles are the best candles on this planet in my humble yet fervent opinion. Now, I’m sure there are those would disagree on principle. However, if you take care to investigate and source your beeswax from small beekeepers instead of the large factory bee farms, I see nothing wrong with it. 

In fact, I find it is better for the environment than either paraffin and soy wax. Paraffin wax is a by-product of petroleum and fossil fuels.

Enough said…

On the other hand there is soy which is becoming a favorite among certain circles. Soy wax comes from, as the name suggests, soybeans. It is simply hydrogenated soybean oil. Seems pretty harmless, right? 

Well no. 

Soybean crops are one of the leading causes of deforestation next to loggers and ranchers. In fact, the Amazon fires that raged for a month were caused by soybean producers to clear more precious rainforest for soybean production. Former governor of Mato Grosso, Blairo Maggi, is the world’s largest producer of soybean (there are soy airports, waterways, and highways by the way) and received the Golden Chainsaw Award in 2006 from Greenpeace for being the Brazilian who contributed the most destruction to the Amazon. I hope that will give you some pause before you reach for that plastic container of tofu next time.

If I were to tier these by which is the most environmentally-friendly, I’d say beeswax by far is the first. Second, soy. Closely trailing behind soy is paraffin. 


How to Make Beeswax Candles at Home

Now that I got my quick spiel about the sustainability of waxes out of the way, let’s move on to the fun part (and the reason you are here most likely)! It is really easy to make beeswax candles at home. At the most basic level, you simply need:

I recommend using a bamboo skewer, wick bar, wick tab, a mason jar, beeswax, glue gun, and square braided wick. to make a candle.
  • a container (I use a 4 oz. glass mason jar)
  • beeswax
  • a candle wick (I suggest square or cored wicks)
  • double boiler (or glass bowl in a pan of water)
  • some kind of a wick holder (i.e. a wick bar, pencil, chopstick, or skewer)
  • wick tabs
  • glue gun or wick stickers
  • silicone mold or ice cube tray (optional)

I heavily recommend getting wick tabs and a glue gun (or wick stickers) but these are not necessary. I would also suggest that you have something like a silicone mat or newspaper for spills and messes as well as a container for any of your leftover wax such as a silicone candy mold or ice cube tray.

A Quick Note on Candle Wicks

If you haven’t bought candle wicks before, there is a little info you should know before you start. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about this but there is a ton of choices out there in regards to wicks surprisingly enough.

When making beeswax candles at home (or any candle really), the type of candle, type of wax, any added scents, and size will dictate what kind of wick to use. Since these are beeswax candles, I suggest using either a squared or cored wick.

Squared or Cored Wicks

Square braid wicks are the sturdiest wicks. They are a great choice for beeswax because they form a carbon cap on the top of the wick. The carbon cap radiates heat outward from the flame which is needed to burn wax far from the center. The wick also bends slightly as it burns and that minimizes carbon build-up to make for a cleaner burning candle. These work best for beeswax because beeswax typically has a higher melting point than other types of wax so a sturdier and more robust wick is needed to burn properly.

Cored wicks are just braided or knitted wicks. These wicks do not bend when burning. Since we are making a small container candle these will work for your needs but they might not burn as well.

Wick Size

Wicks come in a large variety of sizes. The size of your container or mold will dictate which one you will need. Since I highly recommend squared wicks, I will give you a breakdown of their size chart. These sizes range from #6/0 to #10 with 6/0 being the smallest and 10 being the largest. These numbers represent how far out the flame burns. For example, a #3 square wick will burn properly in a candle up to 3″ in diameter.

Now this isn’t an exact science. Many times testing will need to be done to see what size will work best for you. The balance you are looking for is a wick that will burn most of the wax in your container without burning too fast.

When a wick is too small, it doesn't burn all the wax from the sides of the container.
This wick was slightly too small but burned well regardless.

When a wick is too small for your candle it will not burn all the wax from the sides and might put itself out. A wick that is too big will give off a ton of soot and burn through the wax too quickly. What you are looking for is the pool of wax around the candle to be approximately 1/2″ deep.

If you would like to know more about how to choose the correct size wick, I found a great video at Pro Candle Supply.

Now let’s make that beeswax candle!


Step 1. Preparing Your Area

  • Since beeswax takes a little bit of time to melt, I tend to start this first. Either a double-boiler or crockpot will do the job just fine. While my beeswax melts, I set up everything else close by. Warning: do not melt beeswax in the microwave! If you want to see what will happen, go here.
  • I have found it is best to work somewhere that is clean and (more importantly) free of any clutter. There’s nothing worse than having a hot container of beeswax in your hands and clutter in your way while trying to pour. Speaking from experience on that one.
  • I also suggest putting down a towel or moving pad (or something similar) to protect your floor in case of spills, especially if you do this on carpet or rent. Beeswax can be scraped off a hard surface (but it’s a pain and might leave damage or a stain) but there’s no getting it out of carpet. 
  • Lay down some newspaper or better yet a reusable cloth or silicone mat to catch spills (and oh yes there will be spills). I have found the silicone mat is best as once the beeswax dries, it just flakes off and can be used again. If you choose cloth, make sure you plan on dedicating it to only this exact use. If you use newspaper, you can put it in compost when done.
  • Prep your area ahead of time. Put all your components out and have them within easy reach. Trust me again on it, this will avoid unlimited amounts of cursing and frustration. 

To save time, I typically start melting my wax before I gather up all my necessities to save time but you can do this in any order you prefer. 

Step 2. Preparing the Candle Container

While the wax is melting, you can start preparing the candle container.

Prepare the wick.

Cut your candle wick the height of your container plus an extra 2-3 inches. Now, you need to prime the wick by dipping the candle in hot wax to coat it. The reason to do this is it both helps the wick hold it’s shape while you are pouring the beeswax and it gets all the air out from between the fibers to facilitate better burning. I simply take the wick and dip it in the wax and hold it there for a few seconds until the air bubbles stop coming out. Pull it out and let the remaining wax drip off for about 15-30 seconds.

You can repeat that and do a second dipping if you think it’s necessary. After the excess wax has dripped off, then it should be cool enough to touch but still warm (or when in doubt use tweezers) and hold the two ends taut for about another full minute while the beeswax completely cools.

**You can skip this step if you buy pre-cut, waxed, and tabbed wicks.

Place the wick inside the container.

Since we are doing a container candle, you’ll need to find a way to prop the wick to the bottom center of the jar or other vessel. You can try to do this without the tab and glue by simply holding the wick in place and pouring a little wax in the bottom (about an ½ inch up) to completely submerge the bottom tip of the wick. You then have to hold it there until the wax hardens enough that the wick will stand on its own. 

However, I found that this process wasn’t very good for a couple of reasons.

  1. The wick always inevitably moved despite my best efforts.
  2. Once the candle burns to the last inch or so, the wick loses its shape and falls into the wax.
  3. I find it a big pain the butt to sit there and hold the wick while I’m waiting for the wax to set.

When I was learning to make my candles, I found the whole process went much smoother when I used a wick tab and glue gun or wick stickers to stick it in place.

To attach the tab yourself:
You can prime the wick before adding the tab or vice versa. In this photo I did the tab before priming the wick.
  1. Stick the primed wick into the center hole with the wick tail on the raise end, not the flat end.
  2. Take some needlenose pliers and crimp. Done! 

**You can skip this step if you buy pre-cut, waxed, and tabbed wicks.

I’m using a wick bar instead of a skewer. This is ready to pour!

Then, you take your adhesive and place it on the flat side of the tab (you can either use wick stickers or a hot glue gun). Press the tab with the adhesive firmly in the bottom center of the jar.

Take your wick bar or bamboo skewer (or pencil or other stick-like device) and insert or wrap the other end of the wick around it until the wick is straight with no slack but not tight. Note: try to keep the entire line of wick as centered as possible. 

Step 3. Pouring Beeswax

After you’ve got the candle set up and ready, all that’s left is pouring the hot beeswax into the container.

On your first pour, I suggest leaving about 1-inch of space from the top. Beeswax, like all waxes, contracts and clings to the sides of the containers and wick as it cools and creates sink holes. The ones you can see aren’t so much a problem but sometimes there is one you can’t see. These create air pockets that will affect how well your candle will burn. 

Sink holes occur when the wax cools and contracts. It creates a crater in the wax and this can affect the burning quality of your candle.
This is a sink hole after the first pour.

To prevent or minimize sink holes, you can either heat the container prior to pouring or puncture the wax several times with a skewer or other similar device to create relief holes.

If you choose to warm the container, just keep in mind it will slow down your cool time. If you choose to poke holes in the wax, you want to do it while the wax is soft but not solid which will be somewhere between 30 mins to 2 hours. Depending on how large your container is will change how much time this takes.

To puncture the wax, simply push the stick several times vertically down the wax until you are about an inch from the bottom. Make the holes close to the wick without disturbing it.

Once the candle has cooled and the wax isn’t soft, top off the candle with more hot wax to the desired height and let it cool completely.

Finish the candle by trimming the wick to about 1/4″ tall. You can start using them as soon as they are completely cool but I try to let my candles sit for at least a full day before I burn them. That’s it!


Looking for other zero/low waste DIY projects? You might want to check out my oats and epsom salt scrub (v), easy lip balm (uses beeswax), or whipped body butter (v)!

*v – vegan

If you give this candle a try, I’d love to see your awesome creation! Leave a comment and don’t forget to hashtag a photo on Instagram #latesummermama!

Or if you have any questions or feedback, you are always welcome to leave me a comment below. I’d really love to hear from you!


How to Make a Beeswax Candle

This post contains affiliate links. When you click on one of these links we receive a small commission on any product(s) you buy at no extra cost to you. This helps to support our families and work on Sustainable Sauceresses and is greatly appreciated. For full details please see our affiliate disclosure.

You’ll need:

Instructions

  1. In a double boiler, melt about 1 cup of beeswax pellets or a 1/2 lb. of beeswax blocks
  2. Place a towel or cloth on the floor where you will be working.
  3. On a clean surface, place some newspaper or reusable mat to catch spills.
  4. Cut the wick to 4 inches.
  5. Dip the wick in the melted wax and hold it there until the air bubbles stop coming out. Pull it out and let the remaining wax drip off for about 15-30 seconds. Repeat if needed.
  6. After the excess wax has dripped off, then it should be cool enough to touch but still warm (or when in doubt use tweezers). Hold the two ends taut for about another full minute while the beeswax completely cools. Now the wick is primed.
  7. Stick the primed wick into the center hole of a wick tab. Insert the wick tail on the raise end, not the flat end.
  8. Take some needle nose pliers and crimp.
  9. Skip steps 5 through 8 if using pre-tabbed and waxed wicks.
  10. With your glue gun or wick sticker, place the adhesive on the flat side of the tab. If using a glue gun, the glue dot only needs to be about the size of a small bead. Press the tab with the adhesive firmly in the bottom center of the jar. Let it set for a minute.
  11. Take your wick bar or bamboo skewer (or pencil or other stick-like device) and insert or wrap the other end of the wick around it. The wick should be straight with no slack but not tight. Note: try to keep the entire line of wick as centered as possible.
  12. Pour the hot wax carefully into the container. Leave about 1 to 1/2 inch of space at the top. Be very careful when pouring to avoid burning yourself!
  13. After the wax has harden but is still very soft to the touch (about 30 mins), poke relief holes close to the wick. Let it cool completely for about 2 hours.
  14. Top off the candle with more hot wax to the desired height and let it finish cooling.
  15. Trim the wick to about 1/4″ tall before burning. It is recommended to wait a full day before burning.

Notes

This tutorial uses a 4 oz. mason jelly jar but you can use any size container you wish. Keep in mind you will need to melt more beeswax. Just make sure your container can handle hot liquids well. I would test it first by pouring boiling water into it.

Be careful because some glass will shock from the temperature change and may break. I would recommend only using container that have been sitting at room temperature.


Where to Buy?

This post contains affiliate links. When you click on one of these links we receive a small commission on any product(s) you buy at no extra cost to you. This helps to support our families and work on Sustainable Sauceresses and is greatly appreciated. For full details please see our affiliate disclosure.

Whenever possible, it is always a good practice to buy from a local store near you. Just please try to buy products packaged in glass instead of plastic. It’s even better to find it in bulk to reduce waste.

However, who you source from is just as important. So if you have to buy online, here are some companies I suggest. These companies have been chosen because they are small businesses (it is always good to help these guys out) or larger companies that are committed to fair trade, ethical practices, and/or committed to sustainability.

I will also list the State or Country this businesses reside in so that you have the option to locate a shop close to you.

For Beeswax:

For Candlemaking Supplies:



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