The main product of your bees should be honey, but there are also other great ‘by products’. Probably the most important of these is beeswax. This has many uses, including for cosmetics, furniture polish and soaps but also of course Candle making. If you have bees and are wondering what to do with all your beeswax, then how about trying candle making at home yourself?
Most candles that you will buy are made of paraffin or petroleum based wax, but beeswax candles are much more natural. They give a light warm glow, have a lovely scent, and do not emit any toxic fumes. And, with your own wax from your beehive, they are of course much cheaper!
So, where do you start? There are 3 ways to go about candle making with beeswax.
1. Rolled candles.
This is the simplest way to make your candles, and is easy to do if you are taking your beeswax straight from the honeycomb. You simply place a wick on the edge of the flat sheet of beeswax (extending the wick about 2 inches on either side of the sheet), fold the sheet approximately 1/8 of an inch over the wick, and then slowly roll up the beeswax sheet, keeping gentle pressure when rolling.
After you have rolled the entire sheet, press the edge down so it does not unravel. Remove the wick from one end, and that’s it – your first beeswax candle!
2. Molded candles
The second option is to make candles using a mold. The wax needs to be melted down first, so this is a great way to use the wax cappings left over from your honey harvest.
Use a double-boiler (or a pot inside a pot). Do NOT try to melt the wax in a single pot – it is highly flammable and will go on fire! Put the solid wax in the smaller pot, and place this in the bigger pot partly filled with water. Put this on the stove until the wax has melted. At this stage you can add any scented oils or dyes you require. Place a wick in the centre of the mold, and then pour in the melted wax. Be careful – melted wax is hot!
3. Dipped candles
Dipping is the third way to make beeswax candles. After melting the wax as above, dip the wick in it. The wick will then be coated with wax. Allow the wax to cool between dippings for about one minute, then dip it in the melted wax again for the second layering, and so on. Keep doing this until the candle is the thickness you want. Then, once it is totally cooled, use a sharp knife to trim off any excess wax and make a straight edge for the bottom of your candle.
Candle making is a really enjoyable hobby, and a great way to use that surplus beeswax from your hives. Beeswax candles are very popular, so it can also be a great way to generate some extra cash from your hobby.