I love burning a candle when Brad and I are working in together in the living room after the kids have gone to bed. It’s amazing to me how a small, flickering flame can create such a gezellig atmosphere. (‘Gezellig’ – pronounced -heh-SELL-ick’ – is an all-encompassing Dutch word for pleasant, comfortable, cozy, relaxing, sociable, etc. There really is no literal translation for it!)
I used to burn strongly scented Yankee candles (my favorite scent was pumpkin!), but I came to realize that synthetically scented candles were the cause of my headaches. I ended up giving them away to a friend who wasn’t bothered by them.
I tried my hand at making beeswax candles. They are so easy to make and help purify the air instead of filling it with toxins. Nearly scentless (you could add a drop of your favorite essential oil in the melted wax that pools around the wick, if you’d like), they don’t give me headaches at all even though they cozy up our evenings just the same.
A couple things you should know about making beeswax candle:
- Beeswax burn very hot. You will want to mix your beeswax with a softer oil to bring down the melting point of your candle and extend its life with a slower burn rate. You could use palm oil or shortening, or coconut oil for this. I used coconut oil, and the candles turned out beautifully.
- Container and wick sizes matter. Because beeswax is so hard, it burns a small hole around the wick, instead of burning all of the beeswax evenly. Adding a softer oil helps with this, but so does the container and wick size. The narrower your container is, the more evenly your beeswax will burn. A thicker wick also helps with the widen the melting point.
- Beeswax candles are better left unscented. Essential oils do not do well with high temperatures. You would need a great deal of oil to notice its aromatic properties in a beeswax candle. A better option is to add a few drops to the pool of melted wax around the wick after the flame has been blown out, or to scent your house using an essential oil diffuser instead.
To make a beeswax candle, you’ll need:
- beeswax (pellets melt down quicker than bricks, but you can use either)
- coconut oil
- small candle jars, molds, ortins
- cotton candle wicks with tabs
- double boiler (or a saucepan, water, and a heatproof bowl set inside)
Step 1: In a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl set inside a saucepan of boiling water), melt 1 lb. of beeswax with 1/2 a cup of coconut oil.
Step 2: While beeswax and coconut oil are melting, prepare wicks by securing the tabs in the center of your container with hot glue. Roll the top of the wick around a pencil centered across the top of the container to the wick from moving when you pour in the wax.
Step 3: Pour the melted beeswax and coconut oil mixture into your tin(s), leaving an inch of space from the top.
Step 4: Cool overnight. Trim wicks to 1/2 and inch before burning. Keep your candle lit until the entire top surface has melted during the first burn. This will help keep the candle from tunneling during future, shorter burn times.