A Hand-Dipped Beeswax Candle Tutorial {Sustainable Lighting}

It’s a cool day in November and the smell of warm honey fills my home because we’re in the kitchen hand dipping beeswax candles!

This has become a seasonal tradition for me and children. I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun we have making these candles! Well, I take that back, I probably could but that’s not why you’re reading this tutorial (wink).

I first started making beeswax candles a couple of years ago when I read these two instructional blog posts:

My method for making candles has evolved over time and I am now experimenting with several different elements. But, I want to share with you my tried and true way for creating these lovely little things.

The Benefits of Making and Burning Beeswax Candles

  1. They are simple to make! Don’t be afraid. Just be sure to lay down enough newspaper around your work area, follow this tutorial, and trust me you’ll figure it out (smile).
  2. Beeswax candles actually work to purify the air. They cause all the nastiness, i.e. pollen, dust, odors, and toxins to literally fall from the air onto the floor. This happens via static electricity. Read more here…
  3. We are supporting our local bee/honey farmer by purchasing from him. Check this site out to find a local source for honey and wax. You can also purchase beeswax here.
  4. Teaching my children, and myself for that matter, a sustainable skill is invaluable!
  5. Giving hand-dipped beeswax candles as gifts is always appreciated and cherished by family and friends alike.

Easy to Follow Instructions

Chop your beeswax into small pieces to aid with the melting time.

With a double-boiler type set up, melt the wax. I like to reuse a large tin can. It needs to be something tall enough in order for your tapers to be the height you want them.

Cut pieces of hemp cord according to the desired height of your candles. Yes, I prefer to use hemp cord (purchased from any craft store) simply because beeswax has such a high melting point if you use a regular cotton wick they won’t burn correctly.

Soak the hemp cord in the beeswax. Some people tie a washer or some sort of metal weight to the ends of the wick, but that’s just to much trouble for me! I simply transfer the soaked wick to a piece of newspaper and roll it straight. Allow it to dry and you’re good to go.

Start dipping! This is a tedious and sometimes a long process (depending on how many tapers you are working with). For us, I don’t mind the time! It just means more time that I can spend talking with the children about the science, math, and history that’s behind it all.

I rig up a drying rack by using a dowel rod between two door handles. But, do what works for you. Just be sure to place newspaper underneath to catch the random drippings.

Once completely dry. Store in a cool, dry place until ready for use.

I also like to reuse old glass containers by filling them with wax and 2-3 wicks for a beautiful hand-poured beeswax candle!

Tips

-Mix beeswax with tallow (beef fat) for a softer candle. Mixing with tallow will also extend the life of your beeswax. Tallow is another older form of sustainable lighting used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tallow was often used in Betty Lamps to provide light in the evening hours.

-There are individuals who are much more knowledgeable than me when it comes to candle-making! Check out Sweet Bee Candles to learn more.

-Want to purchase 100% natural beeswax? Click here for more information.

Few things more beautiful than the flicker of light coming from our own homemade candles on a cold evening with the light turned off.  I’d love it if you would leave a comment and share with us your candle making journey.

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Comments

  1. Allison at Novice Life says:

    Wow how neat! I'd like to give this a try!

  2. We want to do this soon! We have made candles before but never beeswax candles, this year however we raised bees and we have a bunch of wax from the cappings. I am a little uncertian about getting it from cappings to candles but I am going to give it a try someday soon.
    Thanks for the tip on using Hemp cord.

  3. We have our kids decorate the candles with Stockmar beeswax colored sheets, cut into shapes with little tiny "cookie" cutters that I got at a craftstore, meant to use on clay. I have had the beeswax sheets for over 5 yrs and probably will not use them up for another 10 yrs with monthly use, so it was a really good investment, although pricey initially. We do our seatwork each day after lighting up a candle in the wintertime, which makes it so much more cozy. I will def look for hemp wicks. We've used cotton wicks and they burn fast ime with a lot of drips. I guess the high heat is why! Thanks for a great post!

  4. aseedinspired.com says:

    This is rocking my world… We are getting bees on our farm in the spring…so this is getting bookmarked…
    Not to mention i have leftover beeswax from dipping leaves last week.
    So excited I found this post.
    T

  5. aseedinspired.com says:

    This is rocking my world.
    We have bees coming in the spring to our farm…
    Not to mention the left over beeswax I have from last week from dipping leaves with the kids.
    Thank you…totally bookmarking this.
    T

  6. Amanda @ Serenity Now says:

    Hi, Andrea! I wanted to let you know that you won my Teaching Good Things Giveaway from last week because you linked up to my Weekend Bloggy Reading party. You can check out the announcement on my early morning post from today! Please get back to me by Friday to claim your prize. :)

  7. Recently, I have had an epiphany . . . soy candles are BAD. I know soy is bad to ingest (for me especially) but have NO IDEA why I never made the leap to my candles. YIKES. Your post is yet another PERFECTLY timely post to address an issue I need to deal with. BTW – I want to be like you when I GROW UP. :)

  8. Love your site ! I have been trying to get back to the basics . I was raised , in Oregon by a Naturopathic Dr. We ate "Farm Fresh" & made many of the things we needed. We've moved to Michigan to be near our Son & Granddaughter. Boy , WHOLE NEW BALLGAME ! We're learning . First snow fell last night , but we're lucky, our Son found us a little rental cabin to get through the winter , until we start looking to buy a place in the spring . It's well insulated & has a great wood stove . Wish us luck , but i think it has been a great adventure so far ! PS: We moved from Seaside , Or to the Upper Peninsula of MI. (COLD !)

  9. Gayle Page-Robak says:

    I absolutely love working with beeswax, the aroma is wonderful and beeswax is addicting (smile). Love, love your candle and your tutorial is great. TFS. I have joined your followers list, as well as Pinterest, and invite you to join my followers list; as well,I hope you will grab a blog button. Hugs, Gayle
    http://atastefultouch.blogspot.com

  10. I love this post.
    Dipping beeswax candles is a tradition here (Switzerland) and we always do a few at home as well as in one of the 'official' candle making tents that visit every village at some point in December.
    we are off to the candle dipping tents tomorrow and the kids can't wait. Such a soothing and social event.

  11. Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma says:

    After hosting a link party for close to a year, I've read a LOT of posts. But yours stands out. Informative. Well-written. I've been a bit curious about beeswax candlemaking lately, and this was perfectly timed!

    I've be featuring your candles next week at Creative Juice. Thanks for sharing…

  12. Theophanie says:

    I am going to do it! I wanted to do this a few years ago, but never felt like I knew enough. With this tutorial, I feel a littel more secure. :)

    I came over from Friday Favorites. I think you may like my Thieves Oil Recipe (http://ourjubilantnest.blogspot.com/2011/07/thieves-oil.html).

    I am happy I found you and happy to follow. :) I will be around here a lot!

  13. My grandfather used to make candles all the time, but never bees wax. Thanks for the tutorial, perhaps now I can dabble in my grandfathers hobby. ;)

  14. Thanks for the great instructional on hand dipped beeswax candles. Do you have your own bees? Where could you get beeswax if you don't? I would love to make these with my kids. We are working on more survival and self-sustaining skills! This would be a great addition!
    http://www.zombieapocalypsesurvivalists.com/

  15. Jacinda @ Growing Home says:

    I'm feeling really inspired! Your tutorials are the best!

  16. fantastic!!!
    thanks
    debbie

  17. Sarah Smith says:

    I've been musing on trying to make my own beeswax or tallow candles for months. Thanks for more inspiration!

  18. Jill @RealFoodForager.com says:

    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/11/fat-tuesday-november-15-2011/

  19. Its So Very Cheri says:

    I Love Beeswax candles so much better for us.

    Thanks so much for the great tutorial.

    Cheri

  20. I think I may try my hand at these. We made beeswax "honey pots" last year, which are so beautiful, after watching how on a library-borrowed dvd, "Homestead Blessings. The art of candle making with the West ladies." I'm interested in the hemp cord. And I love the idea of putting little beeswax cutouts on them.

  21. Mindy @ The Purposed Heart says:

    This is awesome! I have a huge chunk of beeswax in my pantry right now, and I can't wait to try this. What a great gift idea too!

  22. Zenifer Dsouza says:

    Wow! Really very innovative.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Keep sharing more and more.

  23. Thank you for a great, easy to understand tutorial. I googled hand-dipped beeswax tutorials and it led me to you. Nothing beats the scent of a beeswax candle and they can be so expensive to buy. I hope to make some soon.

  24. Where do you get your bulk bees wax? I live in Lafayette, LA. Thanks….

  25. Ok, I feel ridiculous for asking this, but I have a huge chunk of beeswax sitting on my counter and I’m having the hardest time breaking it into pieces. Any suggestions?

  26. Thank you!

  27. If I want to add beef tallow, where do I get that? How much do you recommend adding? Thanks!

  28. Joan Blurton says:

    My daughter-in-law just had a friend tell her she (the friend) will be selling beeswax and honey come this fall. We were talking about ways to handmake special gifts this next Christmas so this is wonderful. Do you have any other uses for beeswax besides candles and lipbalm?
    and for
    Phroggy (if I’m allowed). I am a realtor, so please let me know if you need help finding a realtor for your new home purchase. I may not have these homesteading skills, but I can help you find a good Realtor to find your new place thru my network. That’s my specialty. :-) I grew up in OR, so share your roots. :-) Joan

    • Hi Joan! I am a bit late on this post, I just discovered this blog and am happily reading the archives! I love making beeswax candles! I bought an old crock pot at Goodwill, and I use it only for melting beeswax and making candles. You mentioned Christmas gifts made from beeswax, here is one I did last year, beeswax ornaments . I got the idea from The Homestead Ladies. Take a sheet of styrofome that is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut shapes out of the styrofome using christmas cookie cutters. I used stars and hearts. Then, run a wire through the top of the shape, so you can hold onto it to dip your ornament. Let the ornament cool for a minute or so between dips. It may take many dips to get all of the styrofome covered. If you have drips on the bottom, just shape it gently with your fingers. Once it is at the desired thickness, let it cool completely . Once cool, remove the wire, and string it with raffia to hang on the tree. Enjoy!

  29. Great tutorial. Looks like a lot of fun, and the end result very nice.

  30. I have to try this!!

  31. Love this post! We’re getting ready to try making candles this year!!

  32. Hi! I am interested in making my own candle wicks for beeswax candle and happened upon your site! I was wondering what size of hemp cord did you use? Any suggestions for the diameter of the candle and the size of wick so it will burn efficiently? Thanks!

  33. Really you write great posts and have great site

  34. i like it

  35. Hi, I am looking to begin making my own beeswax candles but am having a difficult time deciding on the thickness of hemp to use. I am debating between a 7 strand undyed hemp or a 12/13 strand hemp. My candles will range in diameter from 2 inches to 3 1/2 inches. Any thoughts? Thank you for your time!! Happy candle making!

  36. Sarah Badenhop says:

    hi, I’m just curious about how well the hemp cord wicks burn down. i do re-enacting and i’ve had some cotton wicks that don’t burn down and the flame just keeps getting bigger as the wax melts down. i don’t want that but i love the look of the hemp cord.

  37. I would like to know where you got that giant block of bees wax from. I usually buy from locals that raise bees, but they are getting to expensive with the shortage of bees. I really need to find a new supplier.
    Thanks for the help and the great site.
    Vince

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