Today, I uncovered my dusty beeswax blocks and old candle drippings and we made candles for our Garden of Lights party–coming up in early February. The kids and I had a fantastic time. Not only does the beeswax smell heavenly when it melts, but we listened to Grampa’s stories of making candles on his farm when he was a boy. He talked about life without electricity, and how candles were so important if you wanted light in the evening.
Why beeswax instead of paraffin? Beeswax candles are free from dangerous chemicals, so we can burn them worry-free. Though there are many blogs discussing candle-dipping (this one has great pictures), our method seemed a little simpler to me.
• Beeswax drippings and/or purchased blocks of beeswax.
• 100% cotton thread.
• Pot 10 inches in diameter, at least 10 inches tall. (This pot will collect some beeswax, so if you have an older pot that you don’t use as much
for cooking, I’d use it.)
• Thick glass or can at least 8 inches tall, relatively narrow (2 inches diameter worked well for us) that can be “sacrificed” to the cause.
• Newspaper for splatters.
1. My daughter Jasmine and friends Maia and Lola broke beeswax drippings into small chunks with their fingers and heels of their shoes (not recommended inside the house).
2. Meanwhile, I heated water in a pot with a 10 inch diameter. We dropped our wax bits in a tall glass (roughly 8 inches tall, 2 inch diameter) in the pot.
3. As the wax melted, we tied about 10 inches of 100% cotton string to sticks.
4. The children enjoyed taking turns stirring the wax until it was melted (it took about 15 minutes), I found that moving it around seemed to help it melt faster.
5. We surrounded the dipping area with newspaper and once the wax was melted, we began dipping. (While we did the entire project on the stove, I have since learned that the wax hardens slowly enough in the hot water that we could have pulled the hot pot onto the table and dipped from there. Much easier clean-up, but cannot re-fill your beeswax with extra chunks easily while working. We refilled twice and it helped that we could just drop our wax bits right in rather than move back to the stove.)
6. To start, I took each child’s wick and dipped it into the wax, pulling it out along the side of the glass so it would drop straight. After this point, each child took control of her stick, though I steadied the sticks each time they came out of the wax to control spattering.
7. We found that the kids wanted to dip faster than the wax would cool, so we began to dip each candle in ice water after dipping in the hot wax. It sped the time between dips and allowed us to build up nice fat candles faster.
8. When the candles were acceptably thick, we trimmed each off the stick and behold! Fat little 5-6 inch candles! Everyone was very pleased with their candles and couldn’t wait for nightfall to burn them!
NOTE: You could make a pillar candle with the remaining wax in your melting glass by suspending a wick from a stick over the glass. To get the wick to the bottom, you can weight it with a rock or ceramic bead.