I made a lot of candles as a crafty pre-teen, but it’s been a while since anything other than my overgrown muff has been in contact with melted wax. I thought I’d have a go at beeswax, I’ve never used this before, but it’s supposed smell lovely and I thought that rustic, natural-looking candles might make nice Christmas gifts as well as tackling my burgeoning jar collection.
I bought four 25g bricks from The Wax Factory, with absolutely no idea what kind of capacity to expect from that. As it turns out, 100g of beeswax equals less than half of a medium-sized mayonnaise jar, so I guess I’ll be buying a few more to top it up before I actually test the burn-ability of this one.
(Apologies in advance for the crumblies on the kitchen worktop and the fairly crusty hob in the following photographs. It’s worth mentioning here that my inspiration for candle making was born of cleaning procrastination.)
To make a candle:
1. You will need wax, a jar, some cotton candle wick, a sustainer or some tin-foil, a saucepan and a heatproof plastic or pyrex jug which fits inside it with plenty of room to spare. (A bowl will also work, but having a handle will mean it bobs about less in the pan and also is much less treacherous to liberate from the boiling water and pour into your jar.)
2. Half fill the pan with water and float your jug on top, please note that it shouldn’t be touching the bottom of the pan. Pop your wax into the jug, put the pan onto a high heat and bring the water to boil. Keep the water at a gentle rolling boil until the wax has fully melted.
3. While your wax is melting, cut a length of wick generously longer than your jar. If you’re using a bought sustainer to hold the bottom of your wick in place then apply this now. I forgot to buy these, so my lovely assistant made one out of tinfoil. This is not tried and tested yet, but it looked the part! Just fold a square of tin foil in half again and again until you have around a dozen layers, cut it into a circle 2.5cm in diameter with a hole in the middle, thread your wick through and tie a knot underneath.
4. To keep my wick upright while pouring my candle I ran the whole thing through the melted wax to give it a thin coat and straightened it out while it was cooling.
5. Dip the sustainer in the warm wax again and stick it to the bottom of the jar in the centre. I used two pieces of masking tape over the top of the jar to support my wick and keep it central all the way up.
6. Carefully remove the jug of fully-melted max from the hot water, using a heatproof glove if needed, and pour slowly into the prepared jar. With any luck your wax will actually fill said jar! Then all that’s left to do is let it cool and trim the wick down to about 2cm above the surface.
I’m planning to decorate mine with a bee of some sort, and a luggage tag with string around the neck. But I’d probably better finish it first.