During the inbetween time of Christmas and New Year, after the sheer madness of seasonal retail at my shop, I really needed some quiet, slow home days.
My mind and body were craving the kind of pyjama clad, woodburner warmed, cup of tea and cake fueled crafty activity that fills your heart up and making our own candles sounded pretty damn lovely.
I took some snapshots along the way, in the hopes I’d find the time to share with you here, I guess it’s a “How To”, but I don’t want to be very prescriptive, I cannot claim to be an expert in the Beeswax candle making field, this was in fact my first (but definitely not the last) time.
I’d been saving the odds and sods from all the beeswax candles we’ve burnt throughout the year, along with damaged candles from the Alice in Scandiland Shop. We popped them in a little crate in the cupboard as and when and were really amazed by how much all those little bits add up to.
I was completely making this process up, but figured I didn’t want all the dirty burnt ends mixed with my wax, so I snipped as much off as I could.
Initially I tried removing the wax from the unburnt wicks, cutting the candles length ways but soon tired of this and ended up just throwing it all in the jug with no real idea how I’d get it back out again. Fortunately luck was on my side, as you’ll see shortly.
To melt the wax, stand the jug in a saucepan of boiling water. This quantity of wax takes quite some time to melt, this is definitely a slow, mindful process and I’d recommend giving over a whole indulgent day to it.
As I mentioned earlier, I got bored of the idea of trying to remove the unburnt wick from the candles and just threw it all in. To my surprise and relief it all clumped together at the bottom of the jug and came out in one piece!
I bought the Wax Melting Pot from Amazon, I’d been keeping an eye out for a second hand one from absolutely ages, but eventually went with the easy option. It’s the 3 litre size and I was so thrilled that I managed to fill it right up.
I’d actually already bought the wick about 3 years ago, that’s how long I’ve been wanting to make our own candles! I’m amazed I could even find it after all this time, you can buy it here.
I tied bolts to the ends of the wick, to weigh it down in the wax initially, until the candles started to take shape and hang well on their own. I used some pieces of kindling as a makeshift holder, so we could do 2 pairs at a time. I’ve seen multi hanging rings/ rack things which allow you to make even more at one time, but I was going for super homemade/ budget diy here and it worked well.
At this point you wonder how they will ever become candles thicker than skinny worms, it’s very exciting to see the layers building up, a process that can’t be rushed.
The many different stages, from one dip to….I’m not sure how many for the thicker ones to be honest, we didn’t count, just went along and trusted our method.
Once your candles have a bit of thickness going on, you can snip off the bolts and get them ready for your next lot of candles.
– We found it was much easier to remove the excess wax from the bolts after they’d just had their last dip and been snipped off. If you let the wax cool and harden it’s very tricky to get off and add back into the melting pot.
From here on out it’s a case of dip to your heart’s content. You don’t need to keep the water in the pan boiling all the time, we’d turn the hob off, but back on again once the wax in the pot started to cool and form a crust.
You will find, as the wax level goes down your candles will get shorter and it’s just not possible to dip after a certain point.
Next time (as we have wax left and will have more to add), we’ll maybe make some tealights and repurpose some carboot found vintage pots/ cups to make bigger poured candles.
Our Birch Wood Clothes Airer, available from my shop, made for the perfect cooling rack and helped keep everything in an orderly fashion.
The girls wanted to add some colour to a few of our candles, I’d bought some Aubergine and Black wax dye a while back, so we played around with this. Using a smaller jar, we poured in some of the melted wax, added the dye and tried to get a colour we liked. The black refused to go past a not so great grey, after some winging it mixing we ended up with a dark purple and bright pink.
Nancy and Eula enjoyed adding this extra artistic edge, but if I’m honest, I’m not sure we’ll bother with this stage next time.
I sell a wonderful selection of handmade Beeswax candles at the Alice in Scandiland Shop and it’s so lovely to reuse the leftovers from these to create our own candles at home.
If you don’t have the time just now to make your own, why not treat yourself to some ready-made ones, then start your own collection of wax odds and ends.