In this DIY tutorial I will show you how to make natural candles with either beeswax or rapeseed wax.
Nothing feels cozier during wintertime than some blazing flames when it‘s dark outside. Be it from a crackling fire in a fireplace or a couple of lit candles creating a warm glow of candlelight. Making your own all natural candles is very simple and satisfying.
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What kind of wax can be used for making candles?
Candles can be made with numerous kinds of waxes. Since I prefer natural options in general, I have made candles with both beeswax and rapeseed (canola) wax so far. Soy wax is also popular for candlemaking.
Standard, store-bought candles are usually made with paraffin wax which is derived from petroleum, coal or shale oil. Reusing old, half-burned candles to create new ones is a great sustainable option. Regardless whether these candles are made from natural of paraffin wax.
Since the beginning of the year, my husband has been a beekeeper and he has two colonies of bees at the moment. This year the colonies were still rather small and we didn’t get any honey or other products from them. But we are really looking forward to next year when we will be able to harvest some honey. Hopefully we will also get some beeswax from our bees in the future. This would obviously be the most sustainable option fo sourcing beeswax. Until then I am purchasing beeswax in the form of pastilles.
Beeswax is a fragrant solid at room temperature. It has a yellow colour and melts between of 62 to 64 °C (144 to 147 °F). Making candles with beeswax has a long tradition, it burns readily and cleanly.
Rapeseed wax is a sustainable option if you live in a region where rapeseed is a common crop. This is the case here in Germany (and Europe in general). If you live in a region where soy is more readily available, like the U.S., this might be a better option for you.
If you are vegan, rapeseed wax is a great alternative to beeswax. It is also a lot less expensive. Rapessed wax melts between 57 to 61 °C (135 to 142 °F). The ivory colour is very appealing and makes rapeseed wax a great option if you want to create coloured candles.
Soy wax is made from soybean oil. It has a longer burning time than paraffin which makes is a great choice for candle making. If you live in a region where soy is cultivated, it is a sustainable wax to use. Since soy wax has a lower melting point than other waxes, the candles should be poured in a container. Making pillar candles solely out of soy wax is not possible since the wax is too soft to keep it’s shape. The industry average melt point for soy is about 51 °C (124 °F).
Recycling old candles
If you have some half-burned candles or even just some leftover wax it is totally possible to use them to pour new candles.
In Germany, having an advent wreath with four candles is very common. Each Sunday of Advent one more candle is lit. This usually means that you are left with four rather large candles that are only half-burned after Christmas. I used to keep these candles and simply reuse them for our Advent wreath next year. But harvesting the leftover wax and pouring new candles with it is also a sustainable option. All you need is a new wick.
How to Make Natural Candles Tutorial
List of ingredients:
250g Wax (either beeswax, rapeseed wax or soy wax)
2 tsp. Coconut Oil
Wick – I use wicks made from cotton
Jar or Mold – these are similar tin jars to the ones I used which unfortunately are no longer available
Optional (for scenting):
20 drops of Essential Oil
This amount of wax will fill two small jars of approximately 180 ml (6 oz) capacity each. The coconut oil is added to make the candles burn slower and more evenly.
- Prep the jars or molds by placing a wick inside.
The wick can be stabilized by gluing it down to the bottom of the container with a hot-melt gun. On the top, you can add a clothespin or wrap any excess wick around a pencil to keep the wick straight and in the middle of the container.
- Place the wax in a glass jar or bowl and slowly heat it over a water bath while stirring from time to time.
- If the wax is completely melted, get it out of the water bath and let it cool slightly. You will notice after a couple of minutes the wax will get lighter on the border of the jar. This is the perfect temperature to pour the candles. If you want to scent your candles, you can add your essential oils now.
- Pour the wax into the container evenly and at a steady pace.
- Let the wax cool completely before moving the candles.
If you would like to see the process in form of a video, I can recommend this tutorial by Bramble Berry.
Which wick to use for candle making?
You can use a waxed candle wick with a metal base. From my experience, this is the easiest option. I have also tried braided cotton wicks that come on a spool. These are the wicks you can see in the pictures. But I find that they don’t burn as evenly as the waxed wicks. Wood wicks are another interesting option that I would like to try in the future.
It is important that you pay attention to the diameter of the jar you are pouring the candles into. Wicks come with a recommended range of diameter that you should stick to. If the jar is too big for the wick, the wax will not melt all the way to the border. If the jar is too small, the container might get too hot.
What kind of jars to use for candles?
Containers for candles should be heat-proof – glass or metal are suitable options. The jars shouldn’t be too tall, otherwise it will be difficult to light the candle once it has burned down a bit. The mouth should be wide enough to allow for easy lighting, but not too wide or you will have difficulties finding a suitable wick.
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Besides candles, blankets are an absolute essential for me if I want to feel cozy. If you are looking for inspiration on some beginner friendly yet absolutely beautiful crochet blanket patterns, check out this post:
What do you do to create a cozy home? Come share in the comments!
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