None of your Beeswax

Beeswax Candles As summer is nearing its end and I am enjoying a garden harvest of sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and sugar peas, I’ve been thinking about the bees that help make it all possible. Bees are wonderful, fascinating little beings. Not only do they produce sweat honey, but also a wax.

The wax is what forms the honey combs that the bees make to hold the honey. It is harvested when the honey is harvested and once they are stripped of the honey they can be melted and rendered to use for many purposes. Some use it as a furniture polish or a lubricant for sticky windows or drawers.

The most obvious use is for candles. You can get beeswax in two different forms in which to make candles from. One is a block and the other is sheets.

Making candles from beeswax sheets is a relatively simple process. All you need are wicks and some sheets of beeswax. Beeswax sheets come in their natural color, which can vary from cloudy white to a dark ruddy brown. This all depends on what type of flowers the bees have been frequenting around their hive. The sheets also can be dyed and come in a variety of colors. They are available at your big box craft store, online at candle supple shops or from your local bee keeper.

To make the candle, cut the wick to the length of the sheet of beeswax, leaving 1/4 – 1/2 inch so the candle can be lit. Fold over about an 1/8 of an inch of the sheet onto the wick and press firmly. Then gently roll the sheet around the wick until you have rolled the entire sheet around the wick. Smooth the end seem to the rest of the candle and then you are ready to enjoy your taper. More detailed tutorials on how to do this can be found by Cassie Morgan at All Free Crafts and over at My Craft Book.

The other way to make beeswax candles is from blocks or cakes of wax. This too can also be obtained from your local big box craft store, online candle supply shop or your local bee keeper. Same goes for color too. To make candles from the cake of wax, you will need to set up a double boiler to melt the wax in. Some people like to further render the wax before making candles by melting it and straining it to remove some of the pollen and other debris. Feel free to experiment here on which works best for you.

You will need wicks and a place to hang the candles as they are drying. Start off by cutting your wicks to your desired length. You will dip two candles at a time so remember to leave room for that when you cut your wicks. To start, have enough wax melted as deep as your wick is long. Dip each end of the wick and set it to dry. Continue to do this until your candles are at your desired thickness. It will take between 6-10 dips to get a candle. For a more detailed tutorial please visit HomeWork for great pictures of the process.

Also be sure to check out Swarm Naturals shop for more candles and beeswax products.

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[Image Credit: hans s under a creative commons license]

Written by Kelly Rand

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting.

Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.


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  1. I’m thinking the freudian slip “sweat corn” is probably accurate anyway. Sounds like you — and those bees — worked awfully hard for your harvest! 🙂

  2. I make hand-dipped beeswax tapers, as well as tealights, votives and pillars. I dip my candles up to 30 times to get tapers that fit a standard candle holder, not 6-10!

    BTW, I love the reference to “sweat honey” too!

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