Now that it's a dreary winter scene outside my window, I've been really craving the faint glow and flicker of a warm candle. As I started to be more intentional about having more natural-based products in my home so I thought I'd try making some beeswax candles which are actually really easy to make yourself. Non-toxic, easy to make, and have a delicious honey smell—yay!
Beeswax Candles, makes 2 4oz containers
Process adapted from Wellness Mama's Beeswax Candles
-1/2 lb beeswax pellets (filtered beeswax is best)
-1/4 cup coconut oil
–cotton candle wicks
–4 oz glass or ceramic jars for the candles (I used a small ceramic container and glass jar from a used candle I had bought.)
-large glass jar
-bamboo skewers (or something else to stir the wax with)
Fill a large pot with enough water that will cover the height of the beeswax but won't spill out when the water starts to boil. Place your jar into the pot and heat the water until it reaches a low and gentle boil. Allow the heat from the water to melt the beeswax, giving it a stir with a wooden skewer every few minutes. Beeswax is potentially flammable, so keep an eye on it while it's melting and make sure no wax pellets have scattered onto your hot stovetop (one sign the wax is getting too hot in the jar is that it will start to smoke, so watch for that too).
While your wax is melting, prepare your candle jars by adding a wick sticker to the bottom of your wick and placing it in the center of the bottom of your jar. Wrap the wick around a skewer that's laid across the top of your jar to keep the wick in an upright position (you can tape the skewer in place as well if needed while it sets).
Once the wax is melted, turn off the heat and add in your coconut oil, stirring to combine. Adding some coconut oil to your beeswax should help the candle burn more consistently and avoid tunneling, but technically you can also make a 100% beeswax candle as well.
For a single wick candle, the general candle rule of thumb is to burn it for 1 hour per inch width (so 3 hours for a 3" wide candle) so that the entire top melts on that first burn. Basically, your candle will never burn further out from the center than it does on your first burn. So if you want to avoid it tunneling just down the middle, make sure the entire top melts that first time.
Yay!! They work! Depending on the beeswax you use, the size of the wick, and the size of the jar, you may have to do some troubleshooting the first few times you make a candle. If you have a candle that tunnels down the middle and never reaches the sides, try a larger/thicker wick to get more heat to melt the wax more evenly. Depending on how bad your candle is tunneling (especially if it's only doing it a little bit), you may decide to leave your recipe as is and just scoop out and reuse the leftover wax around the edges each time—that's pretty easy to do as well. If your candle is melting too fast and your flame won't stay lit because the wax is drowning out the flame, try a smaller wick instead.
Some people report cracking problems at the top of their beeswax candles or the candle might fall a bit in the center as it cools, so in case that happens, you can reserve a bit of the wax/oil to remelt later and pour another thin layer once it has cooled for a smooth looking top.
While the beeswax does have a light and pleasant honey smell when burning, it's rather faint. So you can experiment with adding essential oils to your candles if you want a more noticeable scent. Try 1/2-1 oz of a stronger essential oil (like lavender or vetiver) per 8 oz of melted wax, or even more for a lighter scented essential oil. I left my candles unscented, but I love the warm glow they put off and the faint honey smell as well. Hope you have fun making your own! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.