Candlesmas is coming up on February 2nd (we Americans call it Groundhog’s Day) and is always a good time to stock up on candles for the year. Pure beeswax candles are expensive though and other candles often have scents and dyes that give me horrid allergies. To save on the cost of pure beeswax candles, I prefer to make my own. It is really easy to make candles and most of the supplies can be used for many years.
In regards to supplies, I buy all my supplies from Etsy stores (affiliate link). Kline Honey Bee Farm has good beeswax and A Place for Candles has a nice selection of supplies. To make beeswax pillar candles you need:
- Candle putty
- Wick bars
- Pouring pot
- Pillar candle mold
- Cooking pot
To make the candles:
- Cover your work surface with newspaper to protect it (I always forget this step and have spent way too much time cleaning up beeswax from my kitchen counter as a result).
- The first thing you want to do is prepare your candle mold. An important thing to note about pillar candle molds is that the bottom of the mold will actually be the top of your candle.
- Cut a piece of wick that is several inches longer than your mold. Thread the wick through the hole in the bottom of the mold (I find it easier to thread the wick from the bottom of the mold and pull it through to the top, but some people thread the wick from the top and use a skewer to poke it through the hole from the inside of the candle mold.)
- Leave 1-2″ of wick sticking out from the mold on the bottom of the mold, as I did in the photo above.
- Cover the hole in the mold with the wick still sticking out using candle putty.
- I then do an extra step and duct tape the opening closed, just to be careful. If you don’t cover the opening adequately, the beeswax will pour of it (learn from my mistakes and cover that hole really well!
- Turn the mold upright and pull the wick taught and straight using a wick bar (note how the wick just hooks into the notched grove on the bar).
- Now that your mold is ready, you can start melting your wax. Ideally you should grate your wax or cut it into to small pieces before trying to melt it, but I usually just drop a pound bar into my pouring pot and it works fine for me. Regardless of whether you chop up your wax or not, put the wax in your pouring pot.
- Start a pot of water on boiling on your stove on med-high (you’re not trying for a roiling boil, just a low boil). Put the pouring pot into the pot of water so that it makes a sort of double boiler. Make sure that the pouring pot can’t tip over or that the water won’t boil into the pouring pot. Boil the water until your wax melts, keeping an eye on it all the time. Beeswax melts at 144-147° F, but you don’t want to let it reach over 185° F, because it will discolor. (A thermometer might be helpful at this stage.)
- Slowly pour your melted wax into your candle mold until it is about 1/2″ from the top of the mold.
- Once the candles has cooled enough to form a bit of a surface, use your skewer to poke holes in the candle around the wick. The holes should go down until they are about 1″ from the bottom of the mold. These holes are called relief holes and are needed to allow the wax to cool properly. As the candle cools, make sure that the holes don’t fill up. If they start to fill up, poke them again.
- Once the candle has cooled completely, pour more melted wax into the mold to fill the holes and finish the candle.
- Once the candle cools completely again, you can remove it from the mold (it should slide right out, but if it doesn’t, you can try putting it in the freezer for about 15 minutes). Trim off the wick that is coming from the bottom of the candle (the part of the wick that is attached to the wick bar). You can trim the the wick at the top of the candle to your desired length.
And that’s it! It might sound a bit complicated, but it is really easy. I made these candles while making cooking dinner and had no trouble multi-tasking (multi-tasking is not my strong point these days and usually results in a ruined dinner, so this shows you how easy it is to make candles). The beeswax smells heavenly too! Have you ever made candles? If so, what type did you make?