Beeswax candles
Credit: Jjb@nalog via

Ever wanted to make natural beeswax candles at home and never knew how? Bear with me and start today!

Beeswax candles: the origins

In ancient times, lamps with candles and torches were the only sources of artificial light men had. Its origin is as old as human civilization: pieces of candles have been found in Egyptian tombs which retain their original flexibility. Wax from acient shipwrecks has also been found in the sea, retaining all of its natural properties. In different cultures, candles have been used as a means of communication with the gods, playing a special role in ceremonies. In all religions, candles have always been present from the humblest home to temples, shrines and palaces. Despitethe arrival of electricity, candles are still attractive as a decorative item, due to their mysterious and homely feel.
Today, although there are plenty of lower-priced substitutes, beeswax is considered the only suitable material to make liturgical candles. Beeswax candles never fold by heat, create smoke or release unpleasant odors. Melted wax is a thick and heavy liquid, that does not saturate the wick and that produces a small flame, nearly circular, and very white. This means that it emits more intense light than the long and passionate flames that most of the substitutes create.

Beeswax: bees' best-kept secret

Wax is a natural product resulting from the metabolism of worker bees, which have four pairs of glands on the ventral abdomen. Worker bees begin segregating wax when they ar approximately two weeks old and is synthesized by the reduction of sugars ingested. Bees have found therefore a robust and economical solution to form the walls of their honeycombs, where bees lay their eggs, raise their offspring and store their food.
Whitcomb in 1946, showed that by consuming honey, bees can produce 500 gr. of wax per 3-4kg of honey, depending on the different colonies. Newly produced wax is white, but acquires a characteristic yellowish color as it comes into contact with bees, honey, pollen and propolis. However, it is accepted that the shades of yellow on the combs are caused by the soluble carotene pigments present in pollen.
Beeswax is a product that offers a wonderful array of possibilities. The three main characteristics for which beeswax is appreciated in manufacturing candles are: its aroma, its slow burning rate and for traditional reasons.
The term wax is applied to various substances that can physically resemble, but differ
completely chemically. Commercial wax can be grouped into three main types, according to its origin: animal, mineral (which is paraffin derived from petroleum) and vegetable wax.
Commercially, it is very common to find wax mixtures containing other additives, like paraffin or ceresin, stearin, spermaceti, rosin, tallow, palm oil, sulfur, starch, etc..

Beeswax Molding & Candle Making
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(price as of Jan 7, 2014)

How to make beeswax candles

The immersion technique provides a good starting point to learn how to make candles. It is not very challenging and requires materials that are easily found in the kitchen. As the candles must have a height of about 20 cm, you will need to have a glass container of approximately 25 cm (about 10 inches) in height. For this function, a tall flower vase has the ideal height: it may contain a significant amount of wax and it will be pretty as well. To warm up the wax, put it in a pot that you don’t use anymore and use a water bath beneath it to reach the desired temperature. Candles made by immersion require the wax to be melted and kept at an intermediate temperature such that the wax becomes neither too liquid nor too thick. And this is because in the first case, the wax wick can come off, and in the second, because it can form lumps on the surface of the candle. With practice, you will learn to appreciate the correct density for the wax to adhere to the wick: melt until it reaches a temperature of about 70-80°C (160-175ºF) and turn off the heat.

Materials needed:

  • A pot that you don’t use anymore
  • A heat resistant glass cylinder (minimum height 25 cm) or vase
  • Wick for candles
  • Beeswax
  • Scissors and cutter

Cut a wick about 50 cm long and bend it into two equal parts. Holding it down in the middle of the vase or glass container, pour the hot wax quickly, while keeping the outside of the vase warm (a good practice is to pre-warm it in the oven or microwave). Allow to dry for at least 24 hours.


  • If the finished candle has lumps on its surface, is a clear signal that the temperature of the wax is not adequate.
  • You can also create stand-alone candles by covering the inside of the glass container or vase with aluminium foil (very tightly pressed) and then extracting it carefully by pulling from the edges. You should afterwards polish the surface with a cutter or knife.
  • If you don’t have a glass vase or you want to have candles like the ones they sell in the shops, you can also make them by dipping the wick in the molten beeswax in several sessions and letting it cool down every time. This wil give cyclindrical, long candles that can then be used with a candleholder.
Nature's Oil 1lb Yellow Beeswax 100% Pure Pastilles Cosmetic Grade
Amazon Price: $8.91 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 7, 2014)
For the beeswax base
CandleScience Natural Candle Wick, Large, 50 piece
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(price as of Jan 7, 2014)
For the wicks
Libbey 7-1/2-Inch Cylinder Bud Vase, Set of 12
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(price as of Jan 7, 2014)
For the vase
Candle by the Hour 80-Hour Vertical Candle
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(price as of Jan 7, 2014)
For the candle freak