I tried my hand at candle making a couple of years ago but the hobby didn’t stick. I started with paraffin wax, because it was inexpensive. Back then I had little to no knowledge about different wax types and the benefits or disadvantages of them.
Paraffin wax is actually a petroleum byproduct, and when melted it releases carcinogens into air. A study conducted at South Carolina State University in 2009 exposed how harmful paraffin is when melted. I linked it here so you can check it out yourself!
Beeswax candles on the other hand, actually improve air quality. When burned they emit negative ions into the atmosphere. They are useful for people with allergies and asthma, as they clean the air. Many have sworn by this, although I could not find any legitimate studies on this subject.
Some of my favorite bloggers have written about this subject also. Wellness Mama talks about how Beeswax candles clean the air naturally: here and Empowered Sustenance discusses beeswax candles as being an effective solution for allergies: here. Feel free to give them a visit and see what they have to say!
I was inspired by both of these articles, however I didn’t think about making candles again until I purchased a small amount of beeswax from a farm two summers ago.
I bought the beeswax with plans to do something with it. During that time I was reading a lot about making my own cosmetics and just starting to transition to all natural products. I had the intentions of a DIY’er but wasn’t there yet.
So, the beeswax sat there until the fall of 2014, when I started trying out some of the cosmetic recipes I had collected.
Then I came across this post on Beeswax Coconut Oil Candles by Little House Living and she made it seem so easy!
Coconut oil is a pantry staple in my house, I had some beeswax left over from other projects, I needed a candle because it was starting to get cold out, just some of the reasons I decided to try this project. I think it was a right place, right time kinda thing.
Besides, coconut oil is equally as miraculous as beeswax. I use it to cook and bake with, on my hair, to shave with, on my face. When I heard I could also inhale it, I was in!
This is a super easy tutorial for a beginner (and I am still a beginner myself!) wanting to learn how to make candles-but be warned, once you start you may not be able to stop!! I am already thinking about creative ways decorate them for holiday decor and gifts.
Beeswax and Coconut Oil Candles
2 pint size glass container
- you want to use something that will tolerate high heat, such as a jar used for canning
- to measure the width of your candle
- this correlates with wick size
2 wicks with tabs
- choose ones that are made for the size container you are using!
- cotton works best for beeswax
1 lbs of beeswax
- this equals about 2 cups of wax
1/2 cup of coconut oil
- I buy mine at Trader Joe’s or Costco for the best retail value
A double boiler
- or 2 pots that fit inside each to use as a double boiler
- or a crock pot and a bowl that fits inside
- something with a spout is helpful but not necessary especially if you are just starting out
Old news paper to cover your work surface
- or some old rags
2-4 Chop sticks
- you can also use dowels or pencils
- these will be used to keep your wicks straight when the wax is melting
- beeswax melts at 145 – 149 degree f
- the ideal temp to pour is 150 – 160 degrees f
A small scraping razor
- optional, but makes clean up a little easier
A microfiber cloth
- also optional, but helpful for clean up
- a bit of soap and warm water with a microfiber cloth works a lot better than a scrubby sponge
- Measure the widest part of your candle jar
- Choose a wick that correlates with the size of your jar, this is really important! If you use the wrong wick your candle will burn inefficiently
- Start heating the water in your double boiler
- Add the wax to your double boiler and heat at the lowest setting possible (it could take a couple of hours to melt)
- bees-wax is flammable but only when heated to very high temperatures
- When the wax is almost completed melted add the coconut oil
- the coconut oil should melt pretty quickly
- When the wax is liquid start measuring the temperature with your thermometer, you will need to heat it to about 155 degrees f
- Take your containers and pour about an inch of wax in each and put the rest of the wax back on the double boiler
- Watch the temp of your wax/coconut oil mix being sure it doesn’t go over 160 degree, if it does turn the heat off and wait for it to go back down again
- When your first pour of wax is half set place the wick tab down in the middle of the container, you can use a chop stick to poke it down
- Wait for that wax to be about 90% dry
- Pour the rest of the wax into the container
- Prop the wick up between two chop sticks to keep it straight
- You can remove the chop stick when the wax looks totally dry
- Wait 24 hours to burn your candle
- you want to give the wax time to cure and become as dry as possible
- Scrape up as much as you can from uncovered surfaces with a scraping razor
- Using a little soap and hot water a microfiber cloth and some elbow grease should get the rest of the was off anything else
- Try not to pour any wax down your drains, as it could clog them. I find the easiest way to avoid this it to wash any thing used in a large container and then toss the used water outside
The video below really helped me to understand how wick sizes work. I did the project he described and although it uses a lot of wax (about 4-5 lbs) to make it is really helpful!
I hope to continue exploring candle making further, so stay tuned for future posts on this subject!