There's a timeless charm in the soft glow of hand-dipped beeswax candles, and creating them can be a rewarding experience. I love the sense of nostalgia I feel in the repetitive dipping into the warm wax; it's as if I've slipped into another era, and I absolutely love it! Not to mention, the entire house smells like a warm pot of honey. It's pure heaven! Anyway, I thought I'd share the process so that you can make them yourselves. I hope you enjoy!
What You Need:
- A roll of square braided cotton #2 wick
- 10 pounds Beeswax Pastilles
- Double broiler set up with a large stock pot and a tall metal pitcher or something similar to an empty olive tin (It should be approximately 8 inches tall).
- A smaller double broiler set up to keep extra wax melting for refilling your pitcher
- Washers (optional)
- Parchment paper
- Cool water
- Candy thermometer
- Dipping tool (wooden ruler, block, or hand)
Step 1: Setting Up Your Workstation
Fill your metal pitcher or empty olive oil tin to about an inch from the top with beeswax pastilles. Place pitcher inside a large stock pot that is filled with about 4-5 inches of water. Slowly heat your wax over an hour's time or so keeping the temperature of the beeswax 175°F or lower. Mine occasionally reached 190°F, but didn't seem to negatively effect my candles. Maintain a separate setup to continuously melt wax for adding to your dipping pot. Keeping the dipping pot full at all times will ensure that your candles will dip the same depth each time creating a uniform candle. Next, protect your counters with a layer or two of parchment paper or newspaper, then set up a drying rack (whatever you can find in the garage). This is to hang your candles on between dipping and to cure them once you're finished. My husband built me a wooden rack that we saw on Youtube, but it's definitely not necessary. A broom between two chairs works just as well.
Cut the wick to approximately 19 inches, leaving room to dip 6 1/2 inch to 7 inch candles. Consider tying a washer to the bottom of each wick before starting. This will ensure a straight wick during the initial dips. If washers are unavailable (I didn't have any on hand) gently pull and shape the wicks after each dip to maintain straightness. They don't have to be perfectly straight at this point, just somewhat straight so they don't tangle or touch each other while dipping.
Use your chosen dipping tool (wooden block, ruler, or hand) to slowly lower the candles into the melted beeswax and pull it up at the same pace. This will yield a smoother candle. Lower to the exact same spot each dip for consistency. Immediately dip your candle into a bucket of cool water, then dip into the wax, then back to the water until you reach your desired candle size. If you decide not to use the cool water, wait 2-3 minutes between dips for the wax to harden. I ended up dipping my candles 30 times.
Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of your beeswax. Aim to keep it between 160 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Be cautious, as overheating can lead to your wax burning and discoloring, and at extreme temperatures, beeswax can catch fire (avoid temperatures exceeding 400°F).
Rolling and Shaping
Every four or five dips, gently roll each candle with your hands on a piece of parchment paper to smooth out ripples and maintain straightness. Perform this step while the candles are still warm, approximately a minute after you dip. Avoid the cold water dip during this step, so your candles stays warm and pliable. Roll one at a time.
Use your fingers to pinch off the little drips on the bottom of the candles as they accumulate. This prevents excessive lumping and creates a nice candle bottom. I find myself pinching them off every few drips. If you are using washers on the ends of your candles, cut them off after about 10 dips and continue with your dipping.
Cure your candles for a week if possible. Trim the wicks to 1/4 inch before lighting.
I found the following tutorials helpful:
The Everyday Farmhouse I used her wooden rack as inspiration for mine. It worked perfectly
A wooden Nest She uses beeswax blocks. Her tutorial is beautiful and helpful.