I absolutely love the atmosphere created by candlelight; romantic, soothing and peaceful. However I do not like the chemical smell most candles have. Plus learning that most store-bought candles actually release toxins into the air along with possible carcinogens in their sweet smell kind of depleted the romantic and peaceful atmosphere. As I researched I was excited to learn that beeswax candles are not only very simple to make but they are beautiful and can have positive health benefits. Beeswax candles can actually put negative ions in the air which work to remove toxins, pollen, dust and allergens.
While beeswax candles have a sweet smell all their own, I also wanted to see if I could get some additional beautiful smells without using chemicals. I wanted to avoid using essential oils because the heat can actually kill any beneficial properties in the oils so I felt like that was a waste. On my second batch I got the idea to infuse the coconut oil with herbs prior to making the candles and it worked! The scent is definitely more subtle than what you would get from a chemically infused candle, but it is a wonderful soft fragrance that is so soothing. So you can have candles that not only smell as sweet as honey, but they can also smell as delicious as apple pie! I made one batch with lavender, rose and orange peel and another batch with cinnamon, clove and orange peel. The cinnamon ones were our favorite and were dubbed Apple Pie Candles by my little man.
Making these candles is a very fun project and is much simpler than you might think. These candles are wonderful to have around or even to give as gifts! I will take you step-by-step through the process starting with a list of ingredients and equipment you need.
1 1/2 pounds beeswax (You can order beeswax from multiple sources or check with your local beekeeper.)
1 cup herb infused coconut oil (or you can just use plain coconut oil if you just prefer a simple beeswax candle.)
Double boiler or metal bowl over a pan of water
6-12 jars depending on size you choose
Rag for filtering oil (You only need this if your beeswax is unfiltered such as what you might get from a beekeeper.)
Here are a few tips I have learned:
-You can find charts to decide on the size of cotton wick you need based on the width of your jar. However, because of the way beeswax burns these charts didn’t really work for me. I actually ended up scraping out and re-melting down my candles with new wicks the first time I made them because they didn’t work and the next ones didn’t burn well either. You want enough wicks to give a slow steady burn otherwise the wicks will burn out faster than the beeswax. For this batch I used 4 ounce jelly jars and used size 4 cotton wicks. I put 2 wicks in each jar evenly spaced. This ended up working perfectly and they burn beautifully! I have not used a larger size wick yet, but I would definitely either shoot for a larger size than they call for or double up a 4 or larger wick for a nice even burn.
-I highly recommend using old metal bowls that you don’t need for cooking or that you can keep aside for candle making as beeswax is really hard to scrub off! I found this out the hard way! I now have 2 bowls that I use just for candles. I also suggest covering your workspace with newspaper as well!
-Beeswax candles burn very hot! For this reason you want to make sure you use glass jars that can really hold up against the heat. This is why I stick with canning jars. I have used half pint jars, the 4 oz jelly jars and also the special square style pint jars.
Making the Candles:
Step 1: Infuse the oil
To get started you first need to infuse the oil. Start by picking out the herbs you want to use and of course feel free to experiment with the scents you like! I know I am already pondering other scents to try! Maybe pine, or adding in other great winter spices like nutmeg!
There are multiple ways to infuse an herbal oil but this is one of my favorite ways. First you add the herbs to your jar filling it about 1/3 full of the herbs. Then cover the herbs with a little over 1 cup of melted coconut oil. Place a folded hand towel in the bottom of a crock pot to cover the bottom. Put lids on your jars of herbs and oil and then put them in the crock pot on top of the towel. Then fill the crock pot with water just up to the bottom of the jar rim. Put the lid on the crock pot and place the crock pot on the “keep warm” setting. Allow the oils to infuse like this for 3 days. Check periodically to make sure there is still plenty of water. Once the 3 days are complete simply strain the oils through a cheesecloth once they are cool enough and you have an infused oil! While this way takes a little longer and requires planning in advance I love how it very gently infuses the oils.
Step 2: Prepare jars
Start by laying out all your jars on a table covered with newspaper. Cut pieces of wick that are long enough to have a little extra on the bottom of the jar and then be able to tie the other end to a pencil or dowel rod. Then suspend the dowel or pencil over the top of the jar positioning your wicks exactly where you want them.
Step 3: Filter beeswax
If you purchased your beeswax online than it is probably pre-filtered and you can completely skip this step. However, if you purchased it straight from the beekeeper like I did, you may need to filter it to remove any dirt or stray bees. To filter the beeswax simply place it in the bowl over the pan of water and turn it on to medium high heat. Allow it to melt until it is completely liquid. Place your rag (or an old shirt works great!) over the mouth of a second bowl. Carefully pour the warm wax through the rag allowing it to catch all the dirt. You now have filtered wax!
Step 4: Melt everything together
Place your clean bowl of beeswax, or start fresh if you didn’t have to filter it, over the pan of water. Pour in your infused oil and allow this to sit over the heat until everything is completely melted together.
Step 5: Pour the candles
Carefully pour a small amount of wax into each jar getting as much as you can on the wicks. Use a pencil or dowel rod to push the ends of the wicks to make sure they are anchored to the bottom of the jar in the exact place you want them. This can take a few minutes so if your bowl of wax starts to harden again just place it back over the bowl of water until liquid again.
Once the wicks are anchored and positioned it is time to fill the jars the rest of the way. Carefully pour the hot wax into the jars filling to within about 1 inch of the top to leave enough head room for the wax that will melt when you burn the candles.
Step 6: Let harden and enjoy!
Allow the candles to sit and harden for 2-3 hours. The time will vary depending on the size of jar you use. I used 4 ounce jelly jars for the batch pictured here and it made 12 jars and took about 2 hours to harden. Once they are hardened you can remove the pencils and trim the wicks down to the right size. Now your beautiful and non toxic candles are ready to enjoy!