If the idea of being more self-sufficient is appealing, you obviously enjoy making your own products. This is the approach of many beekeepers and crafters who use beeswax for candling making. The best news is that you can all about dipping candles made with beeswax and you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment.
Dipping Candles Made with Raw Beeswax
Not only is this a fun crafty thing to do, beeswax candles are great to use at home or give as gift. A handmade item shares the gift of the object but also your time and thoughtfulness – that’s a precious thing.
Once finished these candles are more than just a work of art. You can really use them if you wish – what a great thing to have on hand – just in case.
Handmade Candles are a Traditional Skill
The wax is used to create the honeycombs that make up the structure of the hive. This work requires a lot of effort by the colony.
While we often associate hand dipped candles with “the good old days”, most pioneers would not be using them for every day. These bright, clean burning candles would be used for special occasions.
Dipping candles is a fun and educational activity. Once you have finished the project, you will have a better understanding of the time required to keep a homestead going.
To begin making hand-dipped beeswax candles you only need 3 things.
- dipping container
- proper wick
Use Clean Beeswax
There are many options for getting wax for your project. Raw beeswax can be purchased from local beekeepers and of course you can always order wax online.
Commercial wax is clean and ready to use, raw beeswax may not be clean. If the wax is not clean, your candles will not burn well.
If in doubt, clean your beeswax one more time. It is easy to do and is worth the effort. How much beeswax do you need? Well, that depends on the size of your candle dipping vat. This is because we must create a large amount of melted wax to dip our wick into – not all of it will be candles.
Purchase or Make a Candle Dipping Vat
When making beeswax candles with molds, you only need the amount wax needed to fill the mold and the proper sized wick.
However, dipped beeswax candles require a larger supply of wax than other types. For your dipping vat, you can use any metal container to hold the hot wax.
Candle pouring pots or vats (these can be used for years) are available for purchase and are well worth the cost. If buying a vat is not possible, a tall clean can will work (ex: a slim tall green bean can).
The larger dipping vat you choose – the more beeswax you will need. Try to select something that is tall and not very large in diameter.
But, while choosing the desired diameter of the container – keep in mind that you need to be able to dip and lift without bumping the sides.
Hand dipped candles require a vat of hot beeswax. Most of the wax can be used later for other types of wax projects. However, you must have a larger quantity initially for dipping.
Choose a Wick
There are many types of candle wicking available. The reliable standard for beeswax candles is square braided cotton wick. It is not very expensive, purchase a bit more than you think you will need.
Beeswax burns hotter than some other candle types. This means that a larger size wick is usually needed. For standard tapers – a size 2/0 cotton wick works well.
Other types and sizes of wicks may work but you have a higher chance of improper burning when using the wrong size.
Many people enjoy the natural scent of beeswax. However, you certainly can add fragrance with essential oils or purchased candle fragrance. Just keep in mind that you will be added scent to that whole vat of melted wax.
Making hand dipped candles is an art. Do not fret if your candles do not look perfect. I am sure pioneer candle makers did not have perfect machine smooth tapers.
The beauty of handmade products is the individuality of each one. But, it is natural for tapers made by dipping to be a bit bumpy – especially if this if your first time.
Be sure to experience other types of beeswax candles. You can even make quick and simple beeswax candles in a container or jars – with a simple melt and pour process.
While the wax is hot, why not preserve some leaves with a beeswax dip. It’s a great way to make the Fall color last for months.
Enjoy the process of creating with beeswax and making a useful product for your home. There are many benefits of using beeswax candles. Another interesting way to enjoy the warm light of beeswax is by making DIY wax lanterns.
There are a lot of inexpensive handmade gifts you can make with beeswax too. What a nice idea for someone special.
Dipping Beeswax Candles Tutorial
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- Melt beeswax safely: When melting beeswax for handmade dipped beeswax candles, it is always safest to use the double boiler method.This is a pot of water that has a smaller container holding wax inside. It is safer because it allows an even distribution of heat.Beeswax is flammable. Use proper safety techniques to avoid over heating the beeswax. Use pot holders when handling hot wax containers. Be safe.Keep in mind that the depth of the melting vat determines the length of candle you can make.In this project I am using a candle making pitcher sitting inside a pot of water.
- Prepare the wick: I like to use a regular 2/0 cotton braided wick for beeswax tapers. It is easiest to make two candles at a time. The wicks can be draped across a few fingers during dipping to keep the wicks apart. Or, you can use a popsicle/craft stick with 2 holes to hold the wicks apart.
- Attach weights to keep wick straight:A metal nut tied to the end of each wick will aid in keeping the wick straight as you make your candles. Don’t worry, you will cut these off later!
- A candy thermometer is your friend when making dipping candles. Over heating beeswax can cause it to darken.If the wax is not hot enough, your candles will be lumpy and bumpy. A thermometer helps you keep the wax in the proper temperature zone.Heat the beeswax in your dipping vat to 160° F. As wax accumulates on your wick, the level of wax in the vat will drop.It is good to have extra hot wax in another container. This will allows you to add warm wax to the dipping vat as needed.This small pot shown here is my very favorite wax pot for small projects. You need one or maybe even 2 – I have several. LOL
- Dipping: Once your wick is prepared and the wax is at the correct temperature, you are ready to proceed.Dip the wicks into the hot wax 3 times. A quick dip – remove, dip – remove, dip- remove. Then, set it aside to cool for a couple of minutes.Repeat the process until your candles are as thick as you want them to be. This takes time and patience.Unless you have special powers, your candles will not look completely smooth (as if they came out of a machine). They are handmade.
- Finishing the base:Once the candle dipping process is done, use scissors to cut off the base of each candle. The excess beeswax encasing the nut can be reused.For a smoother base, you may dip the candles once more after cutting off the excess wick/wax/nut.
- Take all precautions to avoid fire or burns – candle making is easy but you must respect the hot wax