Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Hand-Dipped Beeswax Candle Tutorial {Sustainable Lighting}



It's a cool day in November and the smell of warm honey fills my home because we're in the kitchen hand dipping beeswax candles!

This has become a seasonal tradition for me and children. I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we have making these candles! Well, I take that back, I probably could but that's not why you're reading this tutorial (wink).

I first started making beeswax candles a couple of years ago when I read these two instructional blog posts:
My method for making candles has evolved over time and I am now experimenting with several different elements. But, I want to share with you my tried and true way for creating these lovely little things.

The Benefits of Making and Burning Beeswax Candles
  1. They are simple to make! Don't be afraid. Just be sure to lay down enough newspaper around your work area, follow this tutorial, and trust me you'll figure it out (smile).
  2. Beeswax candles actually work to purify the air. They cause all the nastiness, i.e. pollen, dust, odors, and toxins to literally fall from the air onto the floor. This happens via static electricity. Read more here...
  3. We are supporting our local bee/honey farmer by purchasing from him. Check this site out to find a local source for honey and wax. 
  4. At $3 a pound for bulk, raw, unfiltered beeswax I consider this a pretty frugal craft.
  5. Teaching my children, and myself for that matter, a sustainable skill is invaluable!
  6. Giving hand-dipped beeswax candles as gifts is always appreciated and cherished by family and friends alike.
Easy to Follow Instructions

Chop your beeswax into small pieces to aid with the melting time.


With a double-boiler type set up, melt the wax. I like to reuse a large tin can. It needs to be something tall enough in order for your tapers to be the height you want them.


Cut pieces of hemp cord according to the desired height of your candles. Yes, I prefer to use hemp cord (purchased from any craft store) simply because beeswax has such a high melting point if you use a regular cotton wick they won't burn correctly.


Soak the hemp cord in the beeswax. Some people tie a washer or some sort of metal weight to the ends of the wick, but that's just to much trouble for me! I simply transfer the soaked wick to a piece of newspaper and roll it straight. Allow it to dry and you're good to go.


Start dipping! This is a tedious and sometimes a long process (depending on how many tapers you are working with). For us, I don't mind the time! It just means more time that I can spend talking with the children about the science, math, and history that's behind it all.


I rig up a drying rack by using a dowel rod between two door handles. But, do what works for you. Just be sure to place newspaper underneath to catch the random drippings.


Once completely dry. Store in a cool, dry place until ready for use.


I also like to reuse old glass containers by filling them with wax and 2-3 wicks for a beautiful hand-poured beeswax candle!

Tips

-Mix beeswax with tallow (beef fat) for a softer candle. Mixing with tallow will also extend the life of your beeswax. Tallow is another older form of sustainable lighting used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tallow was often used in Betty Lamps to provide light in the evening hours.

-There are individuals who are much more knowledgeable than me when it comes to candle-making! Check out Sweet Bee Candles to learn more.

Few things more beautiful than the flicker of light coming from our own homemade candles on a cold evening with the light turned off.  I'd love it if you would leave a comment and share with us your candle making journey.

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23 Comments:

At November 9, 2011 at 1:28 PM , Blogger Allison at Novice Life said...

Wow how neat! I'd like to give this a try!

 
At November 9, 2011 at 8:11 PM , Anonymous Abbi said...

We want to do this soon! We have made candles before but never beeswax candles, this year however we raised bees and we have a bunch of wax from the cappings. I am a little uncertian about getting it from cappings to candles but I am going to give it a try someday soon.
Thanks for the tip on using Hemp cord.

 
At November 10, 2011 at 6:16 AM , Anonymous Arlynn said...

We have our kids decorate the candles with Stockmar beeswax colored sheets, cut into shapes with little tiny "cookie" cutters that I got at a craftstore, meant to use on clay. I have had the beeswax sheets for over 5 yrs and probably will not use them up for another 10 yrs with monthly use, so it was a really good investment, although pricey initially. We do our seatwork each day after lighting up a candle in the wintertime, which makes it so much more cozy. I will def look for hemp wicks. We've used cotton wicks and they burn fast ime with a lot of drips. I guess the high heat is why! Thanks for a great post!

 
At November 10, 2011 at 7:00 AM , OpenID aseedinspired.com said...

This is rocking my world... We are getting bees on our farm in the spring...so this is getting bookmarked...
Not to mention i have leftover beeswax from dipping leaves last week.
So excited I found this post.
T

 
At November 10, 2011 at 7:45 AM , OpenID aseedinspired.com said...

This is rocking my world.
We have bees coming in the spring to our farm...
Not to mention the left over beeswax I have from last week from dipping leaves with the kids.
Thank you...totally bookmarking this.
T

 
At November 10, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Blogger Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Hi, Andrea! I wanted to let you know that you won my Teaching Good Things Giveaway from last week because you linked up to my Weekend Bloggy Reading party. You can check out the announcement on my early morning post from today! Please get back to me by Friday to claim your prize. :)

 
At November 11, 2011 at 7:50 AM , Anonymous Jen said...

Recently, I have had an epiphany . . . soy candles are BAD. I know soy is bad to ingest (for me especially) but have NO IDEA why I never made the leap to my candles. YIKES. Your post is yet another PERFECTLY timely post to address an issue I need to deal with. BTW - I want to be like you when I GROW UP. :)

 
At November 11, 2011 at 11:28 AM , Blogger Phroggy said...

Love your site ! I have been trying to get back to the basics . I was raised , in Oregon by a Naturopathic Dr. We ate "Farm Fresh" & made many of the things we needed. We've moved to Michigan to be near our Son & Granddaughter. Boy , WHOLE NEW BALLGAME ! We're learning . First snow fell last night , but we're lucky, our Son found us a little rental cabin to get through the winter , until we start looking to buy a place in the spring . It's well insulated & has a great wood stove . Wish us luck , but i think it has been a great adventure so far ! PS: We moved from Seaside , Or to the Upper Peninsula of MI. (COLD !)

 
At November 11, 2011 at 12:16 PM , Blogger Gayle Page-Robak said...

I absolutely love working with beeswax, the aroma is wonderful and beeswax is addicting (smile). Love, love your candle and your tutorial is great. TFS. I have joined your followers list, as well as Pinterest, and invite you to join my followers list; as well,I hope you will grab a blog button. Hugs, Gayle
http://atastefultouch.blogspot.com

 
At November 11, 2011 at 12:24 PM , Blogger Fiona said...

I love this post.
Dipping beeswax candles is a tradition here (Switzerland) and we always do a few at home as well as in one of the 'official' candle making tents that visit every village at some point in December.
we are off to the candle dipping tents tomorrow and the kids can't wait. Such a soothing and social event.

 
At November 11, 2011 at 6:03 PM , Blogger Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma said...

After hosting a link party for close to a year, I've read a LOT of posts. But yours stands out. Informative. Well-written. I've been a bit curious about beeswax candlemaking lately, and this was perfectly timed!

I've be featuring your candles next week at Creative Juice. Thanks for sharing...

 
At November 12, 2011 at 8:30 AM , Blogger Theophanie said...

I am going to do it! I wanted to do this a few years ago, but never felt like I knew enough. With this tutorial, I feel a littel more secure. :)

I came over from Friday Favorites. I think you may like my Thieves Oil Recipe (http://ourjubilantnest.blogspot.com/2011/07/thieves-oil.html).

I am happy I found you and happy to follow. :) I will be around here a lot!

 
At November 12, 2011 at 10:44 PM , Anonymous Carrie said...

My grandfather used to make candles all the time, but never bees wax. Thanks for the tutorial, perhaps now I can dabble in my grandfathers hobby. ;)

 
At November 13, 2011 at 9:31 AM , Blogger JacLynn said...

Thanks for the great instructional on hand dipped beeswax candles. Do you have your own bees? Where could you get beeswax if you don't? I would love to make these with my kids. We are working on more survival and self-sustaining skills! This would be a great addition!
http://www.zombieapocalypsesurvivalists.com/

 
At November 14, 2011 at 5:08 AM , Blogger Jacinda @ Growing Home said...

I'm feeling really inspired! Your tutorials are the best!

 
At November 14, 2011 at 10:43 AM , Blogger debbie said...

fantastic!!!
thanks
debbie

 
At November 14, 2011 at 6:37 PM , Blogger Sarah Smith said...

I've been musing on trying to make my own beeswax or tallow candles for months. Thanks for more inspiration!

 
At November 15, 2011 at 4:16 PM , Anonymous Jill @RealFoodForager.com said...

Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

http://realfoodforager.com/2011/11/fat-tuesday-november-15-2011/

 
At November 26, 2011 at 6:27 AM , Blogger Its So Very Cheri said...

I Love Beeswax candles so much better for us.

Thanks so much for the great tutorial.

Cheri

 
At November 26, 2011 at 7:57 PM , Anonymous Jen said...

I think I may try my hand at these. We made beeswax "honey pots" last year, which are so beautiful, after watching how on a library-borrowed dvd, "Homestead Blessings. The art of candle making with the West ladies." I'm interested in the hemp cord. And I love the idea of putting little beeswax cutouts on them.

 
At November 30, 2011 at 5:42 PM , Anonymous Mindy @ The Purposed Heart said...

This is awesome! I have a huge chunk of beeswax in my pantry right now, and I can't wait to try this. What a great gift idea too!

 
At December 15, 2011 at 1:13 AM , Anonymous Zenifer Dsouza said...

Wow! Really very innovative.
Thanks for sharing.
Keep sharing more and more.

 
At December 20, 2011 at 11:24 PM , Blogger michelle said...

Thank you for a great, easy to understand tutorial. I googled hand-dipped beeswax tutorials and it led me to you. Nothing beats the scent of a beeswax candle and they can be so expensive to buy. I hope to make some soon.

 

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