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December 04, 2006

Candle Making

I bought about 10 pounds of beeswax earlier this fall, but haven't had time to make anything with it until now. Last night, the kids and I made some votive candles for the teachers of their various activities, and I decided to melt some extra and make myself a pillar candle while we were at it.

This candle is roughly 4 X 5 inches. To buy a candle this size could easily set me back more than $30, but I only used about $5 worth of wax to make this one. The wax is a rich chocolate brown colour, which is due to the buckwheat nectar that the bees feasted on while making their honey.

I melted the wax in an old coffee can set in a pot of boiling water, which prevents the wax from overheating and catching on fire.

This particular mold makes the candles upside down. I threaded a piece of wick up through the top, plugged the hole with a bit of putty to keep the wax from running out, and poured it full of wax. Wrapping the wick around a skewer keeps it centered until the wax sets up. Once it has hardened (after a few hours), the candle can be tapped out of the mold, but it shouldn't be burned for a day or so.
Making this candle only took a few minutes of actual work (most of the time involved was spent waiting for the wax to melt, which was a pleasure because of the delicious smell), and it will provide us with between 600 and 800 hours of burn time. I've got a lot more wax left (including some more typical yellow beeswax), and lots of different sizes of molds, so I see more candle making in my future.
I look forward to turning off the lights and enjoying some cozy, candlelit evenings!


8 comments:

Phelan said...

What fun! Can I ask where you purchased the bes wax? Was it local or online? I have been meaning to buy some, but can't find any locally.

Cheryl said...

Phelan - I bought it online from an Ebay store, I think the company is in Washington state. It ended up being cheaper to buy it from him than it was to get it from my local honey lady, even with shipping (plus, he had a bunch of really nice colours). He was great to deal with.
I also got my molds used on Ebay.
Here's the link to the wax store:
http://stores.ebay.com/The-Wax-Works-and-Things

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

O.K Cheryl
now I know where to get the nice dark wax from and I have my own local supply of "regular" color. BUT---I had problems getting my candle out of the mold when I tried it with the beeswax. Do you have a trick? Maybe it was just a fluke but I have not tried again (procrastination you know). It was a metal taper mold and it was horrible to clean the wax off of it.

Lu said...

Cheryl, I've never made candles. Buying them is so expensive and we love to have them in our home. Can you share with me what I should look for in a mold if I want to make pillar candles as you have? A certain variety or style (wick hole or not??) I definitely want to try this. I've noted the eBay store, thanks for sharing.

Cheryl said...

Monica - I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you, I just crossed my fingers that they would come out and they did (not sure that's a reliable method).
With the votive and pillar molds, the wax shrunk just enough that I was able to tap them out (pulling gently on the wick). There are a few marks on the candles where they must have stuck a bit, but they came out relatively easily. Maybe tapers are just more difficult. I've seen silicone molds around, they'd probably be a lot easier to release.

Lu - I don't really know what to look for, as I've only just started myself. Using the pre-tabbed wicks like I did for the votives was very easy, but they're more expensive (and you have to make sure you get lead-free wicks). The molds with holes for the wick worked just fine. I like the mold that makes them upside down, as it gives a nice contoured top to the candle, but that doesn't really matter once you've burned it a bit.
Sorry I'm not more help!

Carla said...

Your candles look lovely and I love the smell of bees wax. I'm back online, but still sporadically...I'm on a traveling adventure. Chat with you soon.

Cheryl said...

I just wanted to mention that I've done a little research, and there is a silicone spray that you can get for your molds that is supposed to help the candles release easier. You're supposed to use it every six pours or so.
I guess I better go looking for some!

thicket dweller said...

Absolutely cool. I really love burning candles, so I guess I need to find a source for these supplies and get to work. Any idea how to make natural reds?

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