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Simple Beeswax Candles to Make With Kids

Simple Beeswax Candles to Make With Kids

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.

MATERIALS
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.

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19 comments

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5:51AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

Only just started konteyner reading "the long tail" book after hearing it mentioned in a BBC documentary, but kabin pretty much covers alot of factors relating to how things have shifted over past prefabrik villa decade. when I started out was alot harder to do stuff, but now can be done in half the time which film indir allows for the development creativity aspects...

5:50AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

Only just started konteyner reading "the long tail" book after hearing it mentioned in a BBC documentary, but kabin pretty much covers alot of factors relating to how things have shifted over past prefabrik villa decade. when I started out was alot harder to do stuff, but now can be done in half the time which film indir allows for the development creativity aspects...

7:25PM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

I have made these before, they are so much fun.

1:16AM PST on Jan 5, 2010

Soy candles are more envirnmentally and animal friendly. The bees are over-exploited for their honey and wax....its my thought to leave them alone so they can pollinate our crops.

11:44PM PDT on Jun 18, 2009

thanks...
Kabin
Konteyner,Prefabrik
mega kabin
Konteyner

10:26PM PST on Feb 4, 2009

Thanx a ton for explaining, Beth! :) I can see what you mean.

6:25AM PST on Feb 4, 2009

Hi Marwa,

You tie the cotton thread to the stick and use it to hold the wick (sort of like a fishing rod). Only the cotton goes into the wax, not the stick, see if you can see what I mean in the photo of the activity. When the candle is done (whenever it's the right size for you) you trim the wick, and the stick to which it is attached is thereby separated from the candle--it never touched the wax.

9:49AM PST on Feb 3, 2009

Just a question for clarification... you end up with a candle in which there is string AND a stick? Did I understand that right, or am I missing something here? If the stick remains in the candle, wouldn't you be burning wood along with the thread when you light the candle?

8:10PM PST on Jan 30, 2009

Thank you for all your encouragement and also great suggestions! I cannot wait to do this project again with all the new ideas.

7:40AM PST on Jan 29, 2009

Two words: Interesting and charming. I'm thinking of making beeswax candles myself. Mow if I could find enough materials for the said candle...

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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