You know that person who lingers just a little too long in the candle aisle at Target? That’s totally me. And while I’d love to say it’s because I just can’t decide which one to get, the truth is I’m that geek poring over the ingredients labels. Candles are known for being pretty bad when it comes to indoor air quality. And rather than pollute my home with artificial chemicals and fragrances, I decided it was high time to look into some natural options. That’s when I stumbled onto beeswax candles. Unlike paraffin wax, which releases carcinogens into the air, beeswax actually helps cleanse the air rather than pollute it. And when done right, making your own beeswax candles is little more than a melt-and-pour process. Here’s how to do it the easy way.
How to Make Beeswax Candles
Unlike artificial waxes, beeswax emits negative ions which help collect positively charged particles like dirt, dust and chemicals in the air. So simply by lighting a candle, you can dramatically improve the air quality in your home.
While it’s possible to use straight beeswax for your candles, since it’s a slow-burning wax with a high melting point, it has a tendency to “tunnel” as it burns. It’s not a problem, per se, but you might be left with a ring of wax around the inside of your jar that won’t burn.
By mixing beeswax with a soft oil like coconut or palm, you essentially lower the melting point of the wax so it gets hot all the way through. If your candles still tunnel, melt them down again and try using a bigger, thicker wick.
Not only that, but beeswax can be a tad on the pricey side. To cut the cost without cutting the quality, adding a softer oil will help stretch the beeswax even further. I typically choose coconut because it’s inexpensive and easy to find. Plus, it gives your candles a fresh, nutty scent that pairs well with everything from lavender to rosemary. But if you have palm oil on hand, you can use that as well—simply double the amount of oil called for in the recipe and mix as usual.
A word of warning: when buying your beeswax, I would recommend choosing the beeswax granules as opposed to the blocks (I learned this the hard way!). The blocks can be a little less expensive, but unless you soften it in the microwave (a messy process) or have incredibly strong wrists, it’s nearly impossible to chop! At one point I thought my knife was about to snap in half when I tried cutting it into pieces, so don’t be like me. Save time—and knives—and buy the granules if possible.
- Cotton wicks
- 2 12-ounce glass jars
- Masking tape
- Small saucepan
- Tin can - either one 28-ounce or two 15-ounce cans
- Place beeswax into one large can or divide evenly between two smaller cans.
- Fill a small sauce pan with 2 inches of water and place your can in the center. Turn the burner to medium-low heat and keep a close eye on your beeswax while it melts.
- While you're waiting for the wax to melt, set up your wicks. I took a piece of masking tape and punched a small hole in the center with a sharp knife. Then I slid my wick through the hole, centered the tape over the top of one of the jars and secured it to both sides.
- Once your beeswax has melted, turn off the heat and add your coconut oil. Finally, add about 20 drops of each of your essential oils and stir with a popsicle stick or plastic spoon.
- Pour the wax into two 12-ounce glass jars.
- If desired, wait a few minutes for the wax to set up slightly and submerge a few fresh herbs into the wax to give it a pretty, earthy look.
- Let your candles cool on the counter (to avoid cracking, do not put your candles in the refrigerator) for 5 or 6 hours before trimming the wicks.