Dipping Beeswax Candles

Every Tuesday morning, I host a knitting group for crafty parents at my house.

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The common denominator for this group is the Seattle chapter of Attachment Parenting International. I have been part of this community since Sophie was a baby; now that my children are in school, it is time for me to give something back to the parents who are new to the parenting journey. I love the mix of babies in slings, nursing toddlers and motoring pre-schoolers zooming around the house as we try to squeeze in a row or two of knitting, and a little fiber talk.

This week, our normal group took a break to create beeswax candles at Jen and Matt’s house with their boys, Cuinn and Kevan.

The first step in dipping candles is to melt the beeswax. Jen started the process at 7:30 am, estimating it would take several hours to melt. They buy large chunks of beeswax from a gentleman who sells honey by the gallon from his home in Lacey, WA; this wax is unfiltered, so it still contains chunks of pollen. Mmmmmmm. The smell is heavenly.

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Once the wax is melted, cut a piece of wick twice as long as your dipping container, with a little bit extra for holding; in our case, we cut six twelve inch pieces. Dip the wick in melted wax three times, letting it drip and cool a little in between each dip. The first time it will barely look like the wick has any wax coating. Jen recommends dipping quickly to ensure even distribution of the wax. If you leave the wick in the wax too long, the early layers will melt back into the pool.

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Jen rested a large dowel between two shelves in her kitchen doorway, next to the stove. I dipped each pair in turn, placing them on the dowel to cool after a double dip in the wax. By the time I was done with the sixth pair, the first was cool enough for another bath. After each of these early dips, straighten the wicks by hand, or roll them on a counter, as they will naturally curl and bend.

Did I mention covering the floor with newspaper? There will be plenty of drips along the way, so unless you enjoy scraping your linoleum with your fingernails, tape down a layer of newspaper.

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Periodically trim the bottom of your candles to remove the little “nipple” that develops from the drips; this will ensure that you are dipping the entire candle.

Continue dipping each pair, topping up the container as necessary to keep the level of wax right up to the brim, otherwise your candles will be much wider at the bottom than at the top.  

After an hour of dipping, I had six pairs of beautiful beeswax candles.

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I couldn’t resist including a couple of pictures of Cuinn (the elder) and Kevan (the younger), our young apprentices. These adorable boys are incredibly fortunate to grow up in a house with creative parents who have put their children foremost in their tender years. It is a joy and a pleasure to see them every week.

Thanks for hosting Jen and Matt!

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32 Responses to “Dipping Beeswax Candles”


  1. 1 Jen Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    What a glowing review! Thanks for coming over and playing with wax and kids — you are an inspiration for keeping our creative forces going in the early parenting years.

  2. 2 Dave Monday, January 7, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I was wondering if you need to filter the wax first before making the candles. We bought some bees wax from our friends and made some candle buy pouring them into glass votive candle holders, and they would not burn very well at all.

    Any idea what we may have done wrong?

    Cheers!
    Dave

    • 3 Nicole Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 3:10 pm

      I am not a candle expert at all and in fact I have yet to make them! However, I was thinking that maybe filtering would become more imperative for the burning of the candle if you are using the “pour” method versus the “dip” method. Perhaps the dipping would naturally filter out any clumps of pollen, whereas if the wax is simply being poured into a votive, pollen and all would be poured. Just a theory!

  3. 4 jwitsoe Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Another idea to think about is the thickness of the wicking. There are different sizes, and I have made candles with the wrong size where too much melted wax drowns the flame, or it gutters too much. IMHO the bits of pollen in the wax don’t affect the burn as much as the construction does.

  4. 5 Jennifer Swanson Sunday, October 19, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Love it! We had a beautiful fall day today (Oct.) and did this outside over a fire. This was my first time, and it was so relaxing. If you tie a nut (not the edible kind–the one that goes with a bolt :) ) to the bottom of each wick before dipping, it weighs down the wick and keeps it straight. After about 6 dips, you can cut off the nut.

    Thanks much for this tutorial,
    Jennifer

  5. 6 Molly de Vries Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Thank you so much. I am so in love with bees wax, I can’t wait to try dipping.

  6. 7 Rita S. Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Would you please tell me what is the best wicking to use for dipping beeswax candles. I’m using the zinc core wicking and I don’t like the way it burns.

  7. 8 renee @ FIMBY Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks for this tutorial. I linked to it on my blog and posted photos of our own beeswax project. Great activity for this time of year.
    http://fimby.tougas.net/making-homemade-beeswax-candles

  8. 9 Ariella Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 7:02 am

    thanks so much for the tutorial! I am planning on making these with kids today!

  9. 10 fabs Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I have been trying to do this for quite some time and today is the day, since we have a raging snow storm outside and the house is a bit chilly, perfect for cooling off those beautiful tapers (hopefully ours will look the same!). I am going to take photos and then link to your site once we’re done.
    Thanks for the info ;)

  10. 11 Mandy Monday, February 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    What kind of tin can are you using? size? Coffee can will only make 5 in candles and I would like to make long tapers.

    thank you

    • 12 Scott A. Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm

      If you can find a Micheal’s Craft store, you may be able to find a 16 inch tall glass container for this. I have had success getting tall candles this way. Just put the wax in the glass container and set the container in a pot of water and put it on the burner on med-low to medium. Takes maybe a half-an-hour to melt the wax.

    • 13 Nicole Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm

      Would an apple juice can be tall enough?

  11. 14 Candle Making is Awesome! Monday, February 23, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Thanks for the info! I did this type of candle making once when I was quite younger, but I would love to try it again and I will be referencing back here. Thank you!

  12. 15 Annie Monday, April 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I have always wanted to try making these! Thanks so much for the tutorial. Can you possibly email me who you bought your beeswax from? I live in Renton and would love to take a drive down to Lacey! Thanks so much! ~~Annie

  13. 16 Nicole Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    This is an excellent tutorial on beeswax candle making! I would love to try this sometime! I think it would make a perfect Christmas gift along with some homemade preserves in a dainty little basket!

    I’m just wondering, is the wax being melted in a smaller can inside the large can? If so, when is it all poured into the large can?

    Also, is it difficult to get the candles at the appropriate thickness for a candle holder?

  14. 17 Emily Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Thank you for sharing this on your blog! Wondering about how much wax i would need to buy to make about 50 small candles I will be making with a group of children. Seems that I can buy it by the pound, but I just have no idea how much to get. Thank you!

  15. 18 pat rock Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial and the pictures. I’ve tried to make beeswax candles several times. Bought a 40 lb. block of beeswax, made several beautiful candles, but unfortunately they didn’t burn – they burned out after lighting them. So, someone suggested that I buy bigger wicks, whick I did, tried it again – beautiful to look at, but still wouldn’t burn. Then I added soy wax, and even that didn’t work. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks – Pat

    • 19 al Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      buy a roll of jute string and soak it in melted wax, it will definatly burn or hemp string. Sometimes there are particals in the wax that will clog the wick even that the wax looks clean. with jute you dont have to worry about that. some candle makers go threw alot of money and time to make a candle burn properly, like letting the wax sit hours in a melted state to get rid of any particle in the wax and then they experiment with many different wicks. if you use the jute or hemp you will need to trim and tuck the sides of the candle in while it burns.

  16. 20 nancyogee Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    There are suppliers that make wicks especially made for beeswax candles.
    I also made poured beeswax candles using a colonial 8 candle mold. After using wick I bought from a craft store I found it to thin and when lit would quickly go out. I found out (after a little web surfing) that you need a wick made specifically for beeswax — the wick is a little thicker.

  17. 21 David Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Just finished our first five votives from our own beeswax. We got 2 /12 gallons of fresh honey OUR FIRST year having bees!

    Hope they burn ok…

  18. 22 Connie Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Don’t want to be a buzz kill, but the picture of the baby next to the topped-off container of molten wax is extremely unsettling to me…knowing that in a split second, the child could be horribly disfigured for the rest of his life (not to mention the excruciating pain involved with burns!). But, maybe I’m just weird. I think where melted wax is involved, children should not be. It is much easier, and completely safe, for them to roll beeswax sheets into candles. Leave the melted wax projects for the adults!

  19. 23 janeisgreen Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I’m a professional beeswax chandler (member of the Canadian Beeswax Chandlers Guild). To answer a few questions:
    1. Dave: Beeswax candles won’t burn properly in a container that restricts air flow. Votives should just sit on a glass saucer or similar.
    2. For any candle other than tapers, i.e., pillars of any size, the wax should be filtered or the wick will get clogged up.
    3. Rita S: Please don’t use zinc core wicking. Use only 100% braided cotton sized to fit the candle you’re making.
    4. Beeswax melts at a higher temperature than other candle waxes. That’s why beeswax candles last so much longer.
    5. I agree with Connie that it’s dangerous to let kids near containers filled with wax.
    Link for more info: http://www.smallbones.ca/accessories-for-your-beeswax-candles

  20. 24 Angela Risk Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Hello- I also am a beeswax candle maker and think that you have done a great job with making your own! The picture of the child next to the wax is unsettling, but I also noticed that the flame was not on. Beeswax can get very very hot…so just be careful with little ones! My website is http://www.beeswaxwholesale.net , I am a Mom who is trying to help other mom’s with small business. Come, check it out! And happy candle making!


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