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Learn How to Make Candles from Beeswax

Beeswax candles are simple to make and are very popular among candle makers, especially the eco-conscious. The beeswax material is a little more costly than other wax, but once you learn how to make candles from beeswax, you'll be a big fan.

The clean flame leaves little smoke behind, and the slow burn helps preserve the candle for several weeks. The natural scent and color is also a plus - no need to add fragrance and dyes to these candles. You may prefer to add color, and that's ok too. Most craft shops that sell beeswax will offer the sheets in various colors, including bleached white, as well as the natural honey tone. You may also add a scent if you like.

Beeswax can be purchased in sheets, pellets, or solid blocks. The sheets usually come in 8" x 16" pieces which work well with a pillar candle design. Each sheet can easily be trimmed to make any sized candle simply by rolling the wax tightly around a square-braided wick. No need to melt the wax for this type of candle. The solid blocks and pellet beeswax requires melting similar to other types of wax. Most soap-making websites offer beeswax pellets if you can't find them locally.

Working with melted beeswax requires a zinc-core wick rather than the braided type. The zinc wire provides support and helps the wick to stand straight while pouring the melted wax into the mold or container.

For beginners, I recommend starting with the sheets of beeswax to make pillar candles, and later experiment with containers and molds. The sheets are very pliable and easy to bend and cut.

First decide how tall you want your pillar candle to be. The height you choose will be the width of the strip of wax you will cut from the sheet. For example, if you want to make a candle that is 3" tall, use a sharp knife (I recommend a craft knife) to cut a strip of wax that is 3" wide X 16" long. Then cut your square-braided wick so that it is 1/2" longer than the height of the in this case it would be 3-1/2". Place the wick along the edge of the 3" side of the sheet and gently press it into the wax. Roll the sheet around the wick very slowly and as tightly as possible. The candle will burn more slowly if the roll is tight and free of air pockets. When this roll is complete, you can stop there or add another strip of the same dimensions to add diameter to your candle. When the last strip is added, press the wax edge into the candle to make a smooth seam. The wick should be trimmed to 1/4" above the top of the candle. Place the candle on a dish or pedestal and you're ready to go! To make candles of different heights, simply cut the wax at different widths and follow the procedure above.

Taper candles are a bit more time consuming to make, but the beeswax gives tapers a distinctive and elegant look. Using pellets or the solid block, melt one pound of wax in a double boiler. Cut a piece of wick (use flat wicks for tapers) that is twice the desired length of your taper + 4 inches. For a 10" taper, you will need a 24" piece of wick. Hold the wick at the center point, leaving equal lengths hanging down, and dip both ends of the wick into the melted wax, leaving it for 10-15 seconds. Then lift the wick out of the wax and let cool for 15 seconds. Repeat this up/down process until the wax builds up on the wicks to form two taper candles that are 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter. Place a 2" wide board across two chair arms. Hang the candles over the board so that the bare part of the wick is covering the board and the candles are hanging on each side of the board. Allow to cool for 4 hours. When cool to the touch and solidified, cut the wick at the center point. You will then have two tapers ready to enjoy!

There are many design options when working with beeswax, each with its own flare. After practicing with this beautiful wax, you'll be a beeswax candle fan for life!

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