How to Make Beeswax Candles

Learning how to make beeswax candles is something I always wanted to do. They smell amazing and look beautiful just hanging in your home. With ample beeswax on hand I finally am making beautiful candles at home.

What is Beeswax?

This is pretty much a repeat of what I talk about in my how to clean beeswax post.

Bees make the interior portion of their hives out of wax. The comb is made in the shape of hexagons because somehow they figured out that shape will hold the most amount of honey and require the least amount of wax to build them.

Young worker bees have wax secretion glands that produce the wax in thin sheets called scales.

Bees will all line up, then pass these wax secretions along the line, everyone shaping and chewing it as it goes, until it gets added to the comb by the last bees.

When beekeepers collect honey from frames, the leftover comb can be collected and filtered into the beeswax we are more familiar with.

This is a very rudimentary explanation of the process and you can learn more about it here.

yellow beeswax rough and tumble farmhouse

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Where do I buy bulk beeswax?

Reach out to local beekeepers to see if they have any available. If you happen to live in Minnesota, check out Minnesota Grown for a resource of beekeepers.

Check with your local beekeepers association, local county fair, or folks at the farmers market.

Typically the backyard beekeeper won’t have oodles of wax available so you will need to find someone that has quite a few hives.

Wax that you purchase online will likely already be filtered so no need to worry about cleaning it if that is where you are buying it.

A benefit to getting local wax is that it will be fresh and smell incredible. Plus the color will be a vibrant yellow. Makes me feel cozy just thinking about it.

Are there different kinds of beeswax?

Yes! The wax is the same but the level of processing is different. There are white, yellow, and beeswax absolute.

Yellow beeswax comes straight from the comb and may or may not be filtered.

White beeswax has been thoroughly filtered or bleached so it is mostly free from the yellow hues you get from honey remnants.

Beeswax absolute has been combined with alcohol to make it safe for food grade things like waxing cheese.

Filtered yellow beeswax makes for excellent candles as it smells amazing and will burn clean in your home.

clean beeswax rough and tumble farmhouse

Supplies for making Beeswax Candles

There aren’t too many things you need to make beeswax candles. The only trick is that anything you use in candlemaking will pretty much be for candlemaking from then on. Beeswax is hard to clean of things so it’s good to have dedicated items. Someday when I’m wealthy as the queen I’ll have a dedicated wax kitchen.

  • Mason Jar or Large Metal Tin. I use an old olive oil can and it works perfectly because it is tall and wide enough to dip two candles at a time. Mason jars would work too but you could only fit a single candle in. Remember, your candle can only be as tall as the container you are dipping it in.
  • Pot to set your jar/tin in. This will act as a double boiler. So long as it fits around your wax melting container you are good to go.
  • Wicks. Wicks come in different thicknesses. For tapered candles like these or pillar candles, go with 2 mm. For skinny birthday candles or wee little votives I’d go with a 1.0 mm.
  • Weights. Most people use metal nuts for weighing down their wicks. I didn’t have any on hand so I used extra jewelry clasps I had lying around. Whatever works, so long as it is small and heavy to keep your wick anchored downwards when dipping in the wax.
  • Scissors. To cut wicks.
  • Knife. I use this to trim the excess of the bottom of candles.
  • Cardboard or similar. I use this to keep candles separate when I hang them, but depending on where you hang your candles it isn’t totally necessary.
  • Place to hang the candles while making them. I have found my fold up laundry rack works well.
  • 5 Pounds Minimum of yellow beeswax.
  • Measuring Tape. If you want a very specific length you can measure the wicks.
  • Candlestick Holder. I determined my candles were done when they fit well in my candleholder. You can also measure or just call it good when you want.
candle wicks rough and tumble farmhouse

How to Make Beeswax Candles

Gather Supplies

Gather up all the supplies listed above and organize your candlemaking area. If you have a way to heat the wax outside this is a great option to keep your kitchen from getting all waxy.

Start Melting Wax

Place the beeswax in your mason jar or metal tin. Place that in the larger pot and fill the pot with water. Heat it on the stove. It took my tin about 45 minutes to melt around five pounds of wax.

melted beeswax rough and tumble farmhouse

Prep the Wicks

Lay out the wick for whatever length you want it to be, plus 2-3 inches extra on top. Press the top of the wick into the cardboard divider and wrap it across the top, then press it into the other side. Snip the wick so it is level with the other. You should have two hanging wicks.

Tie whatever weight you are using to the bottom of the wicks. You are ready to make candles!

prepared wicks for making candles rough and tumble farmhouse

Dip and Dip and Dip Again

This is the part of candlemaking that takes the longest but can be quite meditative. I put on a yoga lecture and enjoy the quiet and satisfying repetitiveness of dip, hang, repeat.

Dip a wick, hang it, then dip the next one. Work all the way down your line of candles and then start over at the beginning. Do this until the candles reach the desired thickness.

making beeswax candles rough and tumble farmhouse

Trimming and Shaping

Once the candles have a few layers on them, I like to snip off the weight. This allows me to dip the candles deeper for longer.

trimming candles rough and tumble farmhouse

As the candles start to get bigger you’ll see they look a little knobby.

knobby beeswax candles rough and tumble farmhouse
Look at these crooked little creatures.

At this point, place a warm candle on a clean area of countertop. Don’t use a candle that you just dipped as it will be too soft yet. Roll the candle back and forth with your hand, like you are making a playdough snake. Press gently. This should give your candle a nice smooth finish.

rolling candles rough and tumble farmhouse

I typically will shape the candles every few dips.

As you continue to dip you might need to trim the bottom “drip” to keep them from being too tall for your wax. Each time you dip a little point will start to develop. Slice it off as needed.

rough and tumble farmhouse beeswax candles

Even still, you might need to add wax as you keep making candles. Remember to make sure ALL the wax is melted before dipping any more candles.

Leave the candles to hang until they are cooled.

beeswax candles rough and tumble farmhouse

Cleaning up After Candlemaking

I let my pot and melting tin cool on the stove. Then I remove the tin with the wax inside. I cover it to keep dust from settling on the wax and store it as is. No need to clean the wax out of the tin.

As for the water in the double boiler pot, please dump it outside. Hey you. Are you listening? I’m going to say that again. DUMP IT OUTSIDE. There will no doubt be bits of wax in your melting water and you do not want to dump that down you drain. If you do, don’t come crying to me when the plumber has to come blast our your pipes.

Other Styles of Beeswax Candles

You can make pillar candles, votives, spiraled taper candles, cute little candles in fun shaped molds. The sky is the limit! Depending on what style you decide to try next you may need additional supplies, so keep that in mind.

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