DIY Beeswax Candles

23 Oct

I have always loved candles to the max.   Their warm glow can make any space feel cozy and welcoming, needless to say, they are all over our house.  It wasn’t until recently (thanks to my pals at Pinterest) that I learned that some candles actually release toxins into the air.  TOXINS.  I think about it now and it seems like a no-brainer.  Of course they release chemicals into the air… those bath and body works candles that smell like coffee shops and margaritas aren’t necessarily “organic”!  Naturally, I started doing some digging of my own and here is what I found but beware, it may ruin your candle-love:

  • Paraffin (wax used in most candles found on store shelves) is a product of petroleum and when burned, releases carcinogens into the air.  It’s a by-product of the process where crude oil is refined into gasoline.  WTF!
  • Another very scary fact is that some candle wicks contain a metal core which help them stand up straight while the candle burns.  Sometimes, these metal cores can contain lead therefore releasing those toxins into the air.  GASP!
  • Candles can produce levels of acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and acrolein.  As you may have guessed, none of these are good.
  • Here is the EPA document if you want to check it out for yourself
  • Also, please visit Lauren at Empowered Sustenance for more information about how beeswax candles can improve health and the air quality in your home!

Okay, now that you have gone through and removed all the candles in your home… let’s look at the bright side.  There are more organic and clean burning candles available such as beeswax or soy candles, which are great but only if they are 100% soy or 100% beeswax.  Some companies claim to sell soy candles when in reality, the candles are only 20% soy.  Yikes.

If you are in a particularly crafty mood, or (like myself) you are always feeling crafty, you can make your own candles.  Beeswax candles are about as natural and clean-burning as you can get.  In fact, beeswax candles actually purify the air.  I know it sounds crazy but it’s true, just google it!

I found several different tutorials online regarding how to make beeswax candles so it took some research but I finally just bit the bullet and gave it a whirl.  I’m so glad I did!  Here is how it went down:

Ingredients and Tools:

  • 2lbs Filtered Beeswax – I found this on Etsy from CraftyGypsyLifeforMe (LOVE ETSY!) and it was perfect.  I’m pretty sure it even came directly from their farm.  It’s pesticide and insecticide free from Florida!

beeswax

  • Wicks – After learning about the lead wick situation (mentioned above) I was totally freaked out about finding organic, clean, lead-free wicks.  I found information about the type of wicks (size etc) to use here at mommypotamus and decided on a cotton square braided #8 wick.  Phew!  I knew I wanted to use Mason jars so I figured the biggest wick would be best.  I’m still not certain I got it right but there is a first time for everything!
  • Wick Holders – These were really helpful to keep the wicks in place while I poured the wax.  Not totally necessary but really helpful.

wick holders

  • Thermometer – To take the temperature of the wax while it’s melting
  • 1 1/2 cup Coconut Oil - Another helpful hint from mommypotamus!  To help keep the wax at a cooler temperature to avoid the container breaking.

coconut oil

  • Sticks or pens or pencils (to keep wick in place) – I used wooden skewers, halved
  • Double Boiler or Candle Making Pitcher (found at most craft stores)
  • Containers for your candles!  Arguably the most important part!

Blue Mason Jars

The how-to:

First, you want to get your wicks in place.  Attach each wick to a wick holder (seen below) and then tied it gently to a stick which allows the wick to rest neatly in the middle of the container.  Easy peasy.

wicks in place

Now it’s time to melt the wax!  Put the wax in the pitcher or double boiler along with the thermometer on low heat and slowly melt the wax.  Bring a book or catch up on the latest episode of Vampire Diaries… this part takes a minute.

melting beeswax

Once the wax is completely melted (almost melted below), add the coconut oil and mix well.

almost melted

Next step is to set the wick holder or just the wick in the middle of the container.  To do so, pour a little wax into the bottom of the container and hold the wick in the middle for a moment while the wax hardens.  This will help keep the wick centered.  While you are pouring, make sure you cover the wick in as much wax as you can for better burning.

pouring wax

After the wick is in place, pour the rest of the wax into the container, leaving about 1 inch free from the top!

poured candle

Here comes the hardest part of all.  Leave the candle alone for 24-48 hours.  Yep.  Don’t touch it.

wick and wax

After a day or two, cut the wick and enjoy!

finished mason jar top

I found this to be so crazy simple and fun that I decided this is what everyone is getting for Christmas.  Two lbs of beeswax made about three of these Mason jar candles which, to be honest, was not as many as I had anticipated.  It’s all good though, I kept one for myself and am giving two as gifts!

finished mason candle

We have been burning this candle for a week or two now and as crazy as it might sound, it really does smell like honey.  It’s golden glow and neat little Mason jar is so cute.  If you have any tips or tricks, please share!  I’ll be making my next batch soon!

IMG_4028

LL Sig

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  • Marco Santini

    Very nice tutorial Samantha…. I’m a candle maker newbie… I want to share something I found: a free email minicourse about candle making… 10 free email lessons and then they try to sell an ebook with a lot of free bonuses… they also teach you how to make it a profitable business… I found the free stuff very valuable anyways… http://www.leadvision.it/candlemaking4you/op.asp Hope it helps!

  • Samantha Ledford

    Thanks for her info Angela! She really does have some great content. Blossomland looks like they have some great stuff too including the beeswax! Well best of luck with your candles and I hope you have a great week!

  • Angela

    I have been reading about making these candles for a couple of months now on different sites. I finally have everything I need but cannot decide on the wick ;) I cleaned out old candle jars (Yankee) but I bought low mason jars, as I was wondering if the fact that the flame is incased by glass if that will take away the beneficial effects of burning them. That I have not seen addressed anywhere.
    I love your candles but I have to say… it annoys me to see Mommypotamus getting mention for a post she copied word for word practically from another blogger, who actually did the legwork and writing…. and as I understand it was later stated in a thread when the original writer praised Mommypotamus and actually thanked her for copying it…Mommypotamus stated she could not link it. But honestly she could have mentioned her name and gave her some credit.
    Thank you for your post. Your pictures are awesome. I guess I am just going to have to pick a wick and move on… I will order a couple of sizes to have on hand ;)

    • Samantha Ledford

      Honestly, the wick I used was probably a little big but next time I make these, I’m going to use smaller jars and a much smaller wick. Good question about the flame, I will have to look into that! I had no idea that the post I referred to was not the original! Do you happen to know where I could fund the original post? I would love to give credit where it is due. Thank you for your comment & let me know how your candles turn out!

  • Carolina

    What wick did you use? I’ve been trying to find a non-toxic one but don’t know which brand/type to go with.

    • Samantha Ledford

      I went on amazon and found a braided cotton wick through Premium Craft. I hope this helps! Happy Holidays!

  • Mom

    that’s all I want for Christmas!!

  • http://www.sassywifeclassylife.com/ Renee’

    Cute tutorial! Love the lace and mason jars :)

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