I LOVE Christmas, it´s one of my favourite times of the year! Specially as you get to make a lot of things yourself, like decorations, ornaments, cookies… And then the evenings with candles lit all around you and a fire in the colder countries. That´s why I decided to show you today how to easily make beeswax candles yourself 🙂
But, before we get into making some, let me explain to you why you should use beeswax candles instead of paraffin ones.
The reason you should choose beeswax candles over their paraffin rivals
Beeswax candles are made by, you guessed it, bees. Bees work to make the honey for the wax. It is all natural. Beeswax candles have many advantages over paraffin candles.
Paraffin is the wax that comprises most of the candles on the market. It is made from vegetable, animal, and petroleum wastes. You’d never know it looking at the candles, but this is what is in them. Most people don’t read the labels on candles anyway.
When you burn these substances, toxic substances have the potential to be given off in the flame. Have you ever seen black smoke coming from a candle flame? It occurs when the candle is getting close to being burned out because there is no more wax to burn. These are the chemicals being released into the air.
Decorative candles of this type do not burn clean. When the wax re-hardens you will see the black residue in the wax. The wax creates a pitting phenomenon in the center of the candle and the wax also drips down the side and ruins the look of the candle.
A little known fact is that the wicks in the center of the candles contain lead. The metal button that holds the wick can also be dangerous. When burning the wick, the lead can be released into the air as well. As we burn candles, we are polluting the air around us. People with respiratory problems shouldn’t burn paraffin candles.
Advantages of beeswax candles
On the other hand, beeswax candles are available. But, they cost more, so many people think: why buy them when there are cheaper better smelling candles on the market?
Beeswax candles are environmentally safe, they burn clean. That means no pollutants are released into the air. The air is actually cleaner because what is given off by the beeswax works to eliminate odors and other pollutants from the air.
If you like the way that your candles look, beeswax candles do not do any pitting when the wax is burned. In fact, the wax burns out towards the end of the candle and doesn’t drip over. It continues to burn until there is nothing left.
Beeswax candles are not scented artificially and give off a smell of sweet honey which I love. The colour of the candle is the natural colour of the wax.
Beeswax candles burn longer than paraffin wax candles. For your money you will get over 100 hours of candle burning pleasure. So, use candles for aromatherapy and setting the mood, but clean the air and freshen your home in the process with beeswax candles.
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A bit of candle making history
Candle making has a long tradition in Europe. In the City of London there has been for centuries a society called “The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers”, created before 1330. Obviously the first candles have been made over 5.000 years ago, being the only alternative to fire to give light at night… The first known dipped candles have been produced by the Romans about 500 BC.
Hanging wicks and dipping them in wax until the candle is the correct consistency was something we did in art class. Get the family together during the holiday season and teach the kids how to make beeswax candles. We used to make candles as Christmas presents for our teachers, grandparents… My favourite one was in a “snail” shape…
Beeswax candles can be made with beeswax sheets. True beeswax candle makers don’t use these sheets but for homemade candles, beeswax sheets are easy and safe for children to use. The wax is pressed into sheets for use in making different shapes of candles. Any wax left after burning can be molded with more beeswax to create new candles to burn.
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Okay, so now we know the why and a bit of history, let´s get into the DIY part!
How to easily make your own beeswax candles
Before making beeswax candles, prepare by getting all of your supplies together and setting up an area to work. To make these candles you will need:
- beeswax sheets, I get mine from a local supplier, but if you haven´t got the possibility, you can get them and the wicks here
- scissors or a knife,
- candle wicks,
- a cutting board or other hard surface for cutting.
When purchasing the supplies, check to see that the wicks do not contain any lead or other chemicals.
Beeswax usually comes in a light color which is the color of the wax. Adding colour introduces chemicals into the wax that can be burned off in the flame. You can get beeswax candles in different colours, but they may not burn as clean.
First, watch the children when sharp objects are around. Do any cutting that needs to be done and keep the knife pointed away from the body. Work on the kitchen table so the kids can lean as they work.
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How to easily make your own beeswax candles; Instructions:
Lay out a sheet of beeswax. If using colored wax in combinations cut the sheet and add other colored pieces. Lay them close together so they overlap.
Take the wick and place it near the beginning of the wax sheet. Let an inch or so of the wick hang out of the bottom of the candle and two inches out of the top of the beeswax sheet.
Press the wick gently into the beeswax sheet. The wick needs to be secured so that it will not be displaced during rolling. After the wick is firmly in place, it is time to create the candle.
Slowly, roll the beeswax sheet over itself. Keep the rolls tight so no gaps are present in the wax. Continue rolling until the entire sheet is finished or the candle is as wide as you would like it. Larger candles like pillars have one or three wicks depending on width.
Cut the wick at the bottom even with the bottom of the candle. Trim the wick at the top of the candle until it is about half an inch long.
Create beautiful candles in various sizes and shapes. Kids can use their creations as homemade gifts or to decorate the house for the Christmas holiday.
See, it was extremely easy! And now you know how to easily make your own beeswax candles 🙂
You might also enjoy reading: How to make eco-friendly glitter with your kids, Eco-friendly toys you can buy this Christmas, 10 good reasons to start going green, 25 ways to protect our environment on a budget and How to teach your kids the importance of green living.