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Making Beeswax Candles with Molds

| 12/27/2013 4:05:00 PM

finished candlesWinter is the time for craft-type projects in our home because summer is too full of garden, orchard and animal projects to have extra energy for crafts. After several yearsof bee-keeping and accumulating beeswax, I wanted to make beeswax candles, and I wanted to make them in time for Christmas gifts.

I already had a sputtering start with candle-making last winter when I thought I could just pour wax into jelly jars and have instant candles. I bought the correct sized wicks and the metal tabs to hold the wicks to the bottom of the jars. Unfortunately, the candles burned for only a short time before the flames smothered in the melted wax. It was then too close to springtime projects to investigate further, so I put candle-making aside until this winter.

Choosing Candle-Making Equipment

This time I was better prepared; I had spoken to a couple vendors who sell beeswax candles at the local Farmers Market. There seemed to be a consensus to use candle-making equipment from Mann Lake including their candle molds and wicks. I was surprised that the molds cost about $25 each, but I really wanted Christmas presents that worked, so I splurged.

Mann Lake has many molds to choose from, and importantly, they tell which size wick to order for which mold. As a "best-buy" mold, I ordered one that included three small skep-style votive candles. I also bought one 10" taper, a 7.5" spiral taper and a 3"cylinder mold along with their respective wicks and a can of "mold release." Beeswax requires all-cotton, braided wick and that's what's offered at this company whose products are for bee-keepers. The mold-release was my assurance that I could get the candle out of the mold once the wax had cooled, though the vendors had told me that vegetable oil works well too. The over-all investment seemed expensive, but the consolation prize for the large bill was free shipping.

Melting the Wax

I had started to gather wax-melting equipment last year, but improved on it this year by getting a one-quart Pyrex measuring cup. It allowed me to both melt wax and easily pour into the molds. The Pyrex cup became the top part of a "double boiler" by setting it on a cookie-cutter in an old pan that contained

The wax had already been washed and filtered. I read that wax that isn't cleaned well could prevent a candle from burning brightly, and You-Tube vieeos show many different ways of cleaning wax. The simplest cleaning method is to melt wax directly from the hive and just take the wax off the top as both the water and debris settle below. I wasn't taking any chances this year though, and so I re-melted and strained my stored wax through precious butter muslin that I use for cheese making. Then I was ready to begin.

12/29/2013 4:03:49 AM

Try putting a little coconut oil in your beeswax candles, it works for me.

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