A New Jar, a New Candle

Day 261 of 365

I feel like my love of both candles and jars is well documented in this blog, so I won’t ramble on about it. Still, I love candles and jars, and if I can have a candle in a jar, well, that’s a treat for sure.

A few weeks ago, when I was searching for a jar photograph, I came across a photo of a little beeswax jar candle, and it was both magical and beautiful to me. I knew I had to try to make one.

It took some work to find the perfect jar, but I have found the perfect jar. It took some research to determine if I would be able to use just one wick. And, after I made it, it took some study to make sure the candle would work well. It works so well!

Yesterday, I burned the candle for seven hours, and it barely budged. There is nothing better for a candle that beeswax. I used to buy cheap candles at the grocery store, and they would burn so quickly. On top of that, who knows what we were breathing? I wanted to make beeswax candles for their clean burn, but I had no idea that beeswax would last forever. That’s just such a bonus to me.

Anyway, I am over the moon with this candle. Sadly, the jars have been discontinued, but I got a small stash of old ones and found a friend who shared 8 more. I’m going to make these candles as gifts the year and will put them in the Etsy shop as well for the journal.

It’s such a good feeling when you want so badly to make something lovely and then you make something lovely. Right?

A Jar Thing

Day 244 of 365

I don’t know when the jar thing started for me. I know all my adult life I have had the urge to save jars because “you never know when you’re going to need a good jar.” 

I do remember being very little and asking my mom if I could keep the old pickle jars. One time, I took one of those jars to a stream and caught minnows in it. I brought the fish home determined to have a pet. Thankfully, my aunt had me march myself back to the little stream and let the minnows go. 

I also remember being in second grade and playing outside one night, collecting fireflies in one of my pickle jars—only in my part of Texas, we called them “lightning bugs.” My plan was that I would keep about ten in a jar right next to my bed. The little fireflies would surely fly around and light up and keep a beautiful light for me at night, as I was terribly afraid of the dark. 

You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered all of my fireflies were dead on the first night. I didn’t know they needed holes in the lid to breathe, although that was just one of many, many problems with my plan. Unfortunately, no adult caught me in time to save the poor fireflies, but I did learn my lesson and never put fireflies in a jar again. 

When my husband and I became homesteaders, my obsession with jars grew. If only I could can with all of them, but, alas, you need certain-sized lids for canning. Still, I found myself with a collection of adorable jars without a purpose. Ron had concerns. 

“How many more jars do you need?” he asked on more than one occasion.

“Oh, I am going to find something to do with them,” I would say to him. “Something wonderful,” I would think to myself. 

It was then that I learned how to make beeswax candles, and this was a perfect combination of things I loved—jars and light—and no fireflies were harmed in this plan. I love making beeswax candles out of upcycled jars, maybe too much. I sell them in my Etsy shop but also give them as gifts to anyone and everyone I know. 

So far, no one has complained. 

Recently, I noticed other women talking about loving jars, and then I noticed almost all of them were witches. I had to research this, of course.

In my research, I found that jars and witches go way back. I had never heard of spell jars or “witch bottles,” and the history is fascinating. Witch bottles were concocted as a kind of amulet to protect a home against evil spirits. They remind me of the tradition of painting your porch ceiling “haint” blue to keep spirits out, which was the folklore in the south where I grew up.

I read that these spell jars could use be used to return a spell to the witch who had originally cast it. I also read that modern witches create spell jars for a wide variety of purposes—everything from love to greater creativity. The jars can be filled with ingredients like herbs and crystals. 

Of course, for now, I am just filling my jars with beeswax, but I try so hard to put magic in them. I think it works. I make them with so much love that I think the people who burn them feel that love because my candles are quite humble but have rave reviews. That must mean my magic works a little, right? 

I also recently discovered there are entire Facebook groups devoted to jars. So far, I have resisted the urge to join because I don’t know if my jar addiction needs feeding. We have a lot of jars. 

Just a few weeks ago, I was making Solstice cookies for cookie boxes for friends. When I finished a jar of molasses, I found myself drawn to the jar. I immediately gave it a soak to get the label off and then studied the jar. 

“What lovely thing could I do with this jar?” I wondered. 

It was too narrow for a candle, but it would make for a good vase. 

And then I had it! Last summer, for the first time, I grew my own flowers. We always are so focused on our vegetable garden that we do not have much space or time for flowers, but they have become important to me in recent years. I grew my favorite flower—Teddy Bear Sunflowers. 

I thought to myself, “If I can grow a little white flower to go with my Teddy Bear Sunflowers, these jars would make perfect vases for tiny bouquets.” 

So, now, I am hunting down seeds for tiny white flowers and planning a flower garden—all because I had to find a use for such a lovely little jar. 

It seems like tiny little bouquets of yellow and white flowers would be magical, wouldn’t they? I think so. 


Day 151 of 365

I make candles. This is a humble brag. I realize it’s only a brag to people who want to make candles. I also realize that this is probably a fairly small percentage of the population. Still, I am bragging on myself for this because I wanted to make candles for years. When I finally had a good idea for a candle that a) I could create with my limited skills and b) seemed both beautiful and useful to me (beautiful and useful go hand in hand to me), I was so excited that I could make it.

I have a very creative soul with limited skills. When I can find an outlet for my creativity, I feel very fortunate–and proud of myself for learning something new that makes me happy.

Today was a candle-making day. I have had quite a few orders in the Etsy shop in the last couple of weeks, and we sold out of the handmade beeswax candles–and then some. So, today, while I talked to my wonderful aunt on the phone, I made candles.While we talked, she asked me questions about how I made the candles, and this was just the best to me. I loved that she was interested in the story of how I made them. I love to hear stories, but if I have a good story, I also love to tell it.

So it was a great afternoon of making candles and telling the story. The conversation made me realize why I find these candles so beautiful. First, they are useful. As I mentioned, if something is really useful to me, I will find it so beautiful. Good food. Good tools. Pencils. A Le Creuset pan.

I made these candles with pure organic beeswax with just a little organic coconut oil, so they burn clean and burn forever. I have one that I am still going on, and I have hit over 36 hours with that candle–and there’s still some left. I think it will last like 50 hours, but I have to keep testing to know for sure. We use these to make the house feel cozier, but we also use these when the power goes out. And, here in rural Maine, that happens quite a bit, especially in winter storms. So, I treasure their practicality.

I also love that they are made with old jars that I fell in love with for their size and shape. I am a lover of jars. There is actually a Mason jar Facebook group. I didn’t join. I didn’t want to feed my tendency to save any and all jars I come into contact with. I stare a long time at that pickle jar. There must be something I could do with that thing, but so far, I have resisted the urge to keep it. The shelves in our basement can only hold so many mason jars before Ron is going to want to divorce me. I am always so happy when I find a good use for a jar. It moves jars off of the shelves.

I am also thankful to these little candles. They are one of the best sellers in our Etsy shop, and that shop funds the journal. The support is so helpful.

If you would like to know how to make one of these candles, I wrote up some directions here. I think these will make others happy too. And, if you don’t have the time to make one, you can get one from our shop. I’m convinced I accidentally put happiness in them because I love them so much. I have had customers write notes to me about how much they love the candles. How cool is that?

And I make candles. How cool is that? Now, if I could just learn how to carve a wooden spoon…

Making Light: How to Make Your Own Beeswax Jar Candles

“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
  • tape

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.

Burning Instructions

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.

Support Farmer-ish

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.