“You know why I like making candles?” I ask my husband and son.
They both seem to understand this is a rhetorical question and do not respond but turn their attention to me for the answer.
“Because I feel like I’m magic. I’m making light,” I say.
It’s true. I want to be magic. I know several magical people, and, while I adore their magic, I sometimes feel jealous that I have no magic of my own. But when I make candles, I feel a little bit like I have some magical powers. Making candles is an enjoyable process that leads to a beautiful gift for yourself or others.
For me, it all started with the jars. I have found that I have hoarding tendencies for a few things–tote bags, pens and pencils, yarn, and mason jars. I also hate waste, so when I found myself unable to part with the small mason jars my favorite organic pizza sauce for homemade pizza came in, I knew I must find a use for these fantastic jars. I started collecting these jars years ago. I am now able to make my own pizza sauce, but I still buy this sauce because, well, I love these jars. It makes no sense to most people, I know, but if you love jars, it will make perfect sense to you.
After much research, I found recipes for making beeswax candles in jars and figured I would have to try this. After trying several recipes, the one that works best for me is this one from Wellness Mama. I have adapted the instructions to my own words and processes after trying this process more than a few times.
If you want to feel a little magical and to bring some light to your home, read on. These candles are so much better than any candle I have ever purchased, and they last FOREVER.
It’s also fantastic to have organic beeswax candles around the house. I make these fragrance free, and my son says they still smell like “honey smoke.” Beeswax candles are also clean burning and soot free. I read they also help neutralize pollutants in the air around them, but I have not researched this to confirm. I do know they are clean, beautiful, and bring a lovely, warm light to our home any time of year. I especially love them in the winter.
You will need to purchase some supplies to make these candles, but they make great gifts too. And once you have your supplies, you can make candles forever and give good use to all of those beautiful jars that appear in your life that just aren’t the right size for canning.
- 1 pound beeswax pellets or blocks (I buy local when I can but found these pellets as a back up!)
- 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
- medium or #4 natural cotton candle wick
- small to medium glass jars, clean and dry (I use 14 ounce up-cycled pizza sauce jars)
- metal pitcher (the wax will make this pitcher your permanent candle pitcher)
- pot large enough to fit your metal pitcher in
- bamboo skewers, chopsticks, or some kind of wooden stick for wrapping and holding the wicks
Add the beeswax and coconut oil to your metal pitcher. Place your pitcher in the pot and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pitcher. Don’t worry if the water doesn’t reach the level of the top of the wax in the pitcher. The wax will still melt just fine. Melt your wax on medium heat.
Using a wooden spoon you don’t mind losing to the candle cause or one of your sticks, stir the wax and coconut oil mixture as it melts.
While the wax mix melts, prepare the wicks. Cut them a bit longer than your jar, so that you have enough to wrap it around the stick that will hold it in place.
When the mixture is completely melted, pour about 1/2 of an inch of beeswax into the bottom of your jar or jars. The number of jars will depend on the jar size and how much wax you make. One of my 14 ounce jars will hold nearly a pound of the wax.
Before the little bit of wax starts to harden in the jar, use one of the sticks to mush the bottom of a wick down into the small amount of wax. You may need to hold it steady with the stick to make sure it stays put. Let the wax harden a bit and then wrap the top end of your wick around one of the sticks. You want the wick to be straight. I always have to hold mine in place with tape.
When you have the wick centered, fill the remainder of the jar with the hot wax. Fill to just below the lip of the jar.
At this point, you may be finished and can just wait for your wax to harden and trim the wick to about 1/2 inch, but I have found that wax at the top will often reveal cracks after it settles and hardens. To make my candles a little more professional looking, I will wait for this to happen and then reheat the wax in my pitcher and fill in the cracks in my candle. This kind of “tops things off” and gives you a smooth finish for the top of your candle.
One of the most fantastic things about this candle is how long it will last. Beeswax is wonderfully efficient because of course it is. I have had one of my candles for three years now, and it has a good 30 hours on it. It’s still going!
The trick to keep a jar candle from tunneling is to give it a good, long burn on the first burn to ensure a good even melting. Ideally, you want to let your candle burn for 4 hours on the first burn. When I do this, I have very few issues with tunneling.
If you do not have 4 hours for the first burn, I learned you can wrap foil around the top to ensure even heat around the top of the jar. This really does work and helps to ensure an even burn.
If you do not have time to make your own or want to test one before you invest in the materials, you can purchase one at our Farmer-ish Etsy shop. All profits go to our writers and artists.