Making Beeswax Candles


| 3/4/2014 12:11:00 PM


Tags: beeswax, beekeeping, candle making, New York, Jennifer Ford,

LCandle Typesong before I even thought about becoming a beekeeper, my mom taught me how to make beeswax candles.  In fact, making beeswax candles is what first got me interested in keeping bees! Here is a brief overview of how I produce my own candles for use and sale.

Cleaning Beeswax

If you are using wax from your own hives, or have purchased wax that has not been cleaned, you will need to clean it before beginning. I first give the wax a pre-cleaning. I put it in a large bucket, then add warm water and swish it around for a bit. The wax floats while honey residue sinks to the bottom. I skim off the wax, and set it on paper towels to dry. When the wax is mostly dry I am ready to clean and filter it. I was lucky enough to be given two large pots to use as a double boiler. I simply take the rinsed raw wax, and melt it down in the double boiler. Be sure to never leave melting wax unattended! If it spills on a hot surface, it can catch on fire. When it is completely melted I pour it through a strainer that has been lined with a paper towel to trap any of the remaining debris. I like to strain the wax into a cleaned cardboard-type milk or orange juice container. A benefit to the cardboard-type containers is that when the wax has cooled and hardened it is easy to peel away from the wax. You will be left with nice blocks of clean beeswax! If there was any honey left in the wax it will sink to the bottom of the container. I save this “cooked” honey to feed back to my bees.

Another method for cleaning is to place the beeswax into a pot of water and bring the water to a simmer so the beeswax melts. Then, allow it to cool. The beeswax will float and clump up on the top of the water, while the debris/honey separates and sinks. The beeswax can be lifted out of the water and the water can be thrown away.

Melting Beeswax

Once you have clean beeswax you can get ready to make some candles! I melt my beeswax in a metal “pouring container” set inside another pot with some water in it to make a double boiler. Again, be sure to never leave melting wax unattended! I like to keep the water at a simmer so the wax melts, but does not overheat.

Preparing Candle Molds

While the wax is melting I get to work preparing the candle molds. There are many types of candle molds to choose from. There are tapers, pillars, and many shapes such as beehives and bears. Pictured here are polyurethane taper molds, metal taper molds, and polyurethane shaped molds. I prefer the polyurethane molds as they allow the finished candle to be removed more easily. 

You will need to “wick” the candle molds before pouring the wax. Most taper candles and shaped candles use 2/10 wicking, while candles with a larger diameter such as pillar candles will need larger wicking to burn properly. When purchasing candles molds they usually come with instructions to tell you what size wicking to purchase. I also recommend purchasing a “wicking needle”. This is exactly what it sounds like - it looks like a very long, thick needle. The wick goes through the eye on one end and the pointed end can be pushed though the mold to pull the wick up through the middle of the mold. If using metal molds, you should also purchase candle mold sealer. This looks like play-dough, and can be pushed around the outside of the mold to prevent hot, liquid wax from leaking out.




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