If you’ve ever used a scented candle, you’ve probably noticed that the smell is strongest when you first light it.
The scents we use in our candles don’t actually “burn up” in the flame, they just evaporate into the air. As the candle burns down, the wax continues to drip along the wick, and all that wax is infused with the scent.
This is one of the reasons that it’s important not to burn your candle all the way down, because the last bit of wax is actually infused with the scent of the wick, not the scent of the candle.
If you allow your candle to burn down all the way, you’re not getting the full scent experience.
Adding scents to your beeswax candles is an excellent way to personalize them and even provide some aromatherapy benefits.
No matter which kind of candles you like to make, there are a lot of beautiful scents that perfectly complement the sweet and lovely odor of beeswax.
Advantages of Natural Beeswax Candles
Though soy is light years above paraffin candles, health wise, almost all of our soy is genetically modified and filled with toxins!
Beeswax is actually a natural air purifier. It works similarly to bentonite clay in that it puts off negative ions. Many toxins in our bodies and in the air are positively charged. The negative ions bond with negative ions and help make them unavailable to your body.
Scented candles also put off toxins from the unhealthy chemical brew that is used to make fragrance oils. Essential oils added to a candle actually become a diffusion of benefits in your home rather than a tax on your health.
So, cut out the toxic air and lead from lead filled wicks and get cozy with confidence.
Study the Process
1. The Wax
Most natural candle makers will tell you, a natural beeswax candle is often half beeswax and half a softer oil like coconut or palm kernel oil (also called palm shortening) harvested sustainably. Other options are using coconut oil, tallow or lard.
100% beeswax candle has a high melting point, meaning your candle will melt down the center. This will still work. You can always melt down the leftover wax and make more candles. So, if you’d like to avoid using any palm or coconut then that is one option.
50% Tallow or Lard:
If you choose to use tallow or lard, make sure you are well aware of the source and are going to add essential oils for scent because tallow and lard can really stink.
25% Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is one of my favorites to mix into bees wax. I think a 1:4 ratio to wax works the best. Make sure your container is warm to the touch before pouring so that it sets nicely.
50% Palm Oil:
Find a sustainable source of palm and use up to 50% palm to bees wax. As with coconut, make sure your container is warm to the touch before pouring so that it sets nicely.
2. The Wick
Wick size is important. Too large and it will burn through your candle like lightening. Too small and it will not use up the wax like you want it to and you won’t benefit from the essential oil and light from the candle.
You will want to use a square braid, cotton wick. This helps bring the wax up to the flame to burn.
The numbers for sizes can be confusing. They have to do with ply, bundle, and how tightly it is braided.
The easiest quick start I would recommend is creating candles in 4 ounce jelly jars or 8 ounce wide mouth mason jars. These jars do really well with #4 and #6 wick sizes.
3. The Containers
Containers and wick sizes go hand in hand. The larger the diameter of the top of the candle, the larger the wick you will need. Since this is a quick start, I’m using 4 ounce jelly mason jars.
Prepare containers by warming them in an oven on its lowest setting. They should be very warm to the touch, but do not need to be so hot that they burn your fingers or the glass cracks.
Scenting Rolled Beeswax Candles
Making and decorating rolled beeswax candles is one of the most accessible forms of candle making. You buy wax in sheets, along with prepared wicks, and then roll the sheets around the wicks to make a candle.
As you do this, you can also add your choice of scent by putting a few drops of essential oil on the wax sheet. Keep these tips in mind:
- Candle Creations notes that you should avoid putting oil on the wick, since the oil will cause the candle to smoke.
- Don’t use too much oil, since the lightly heated wax needs to be able to melt slightly and stick to itself. More than a few drops could affect the sturdiness of your candle.
- Make sure you apply the oil to the honeycomb side of the sheet, rather than the smooth side. The open cells of the honeycomb pattern will hold the oil in place without impacting the wax’s ability to stick to itself.
Scenting Melted Wax Candles
There are several methods for making candles out of melted beeswax. You can use molds, dip the candles to make tapers, or simply pour the wax into a jar or other container.
The instructions for making scented container candles with beeswax are a little different than standard paraffin candles, but they are easy and fun. You can use the same process for adding oil to dipped or molded candles.
Tips for Choosing Fragrance Oils
Beeswax has its own sweet scent that does not work with every other fragrance. Experiment with different types and amounts of fragrance to find the right strength and combination for you. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Although there are many synthetic oils on the market, natural essential oils are great for this natural type of wax. The choice is up to you.
- Don’t try to mask the natural fragrance of the beeswax. It’s a strong scent on its own, and adding too much fragrance can make your candle overpowering.
- Choose a scent that complements the honey smell of the beeswax. Think vanilla, cinnamon, almond, ginger, cloves, and other delicious smells.
- Fruit smells are another good choice. Try citrus options like orange or lemon.
- Not everyone loves the combination of beeswax with strong herbal scents. Use mint and similar herbal fragrances with caution, experimenting on a small batch to see how you like it.
Things You’ll Need
In addition to the standard candle making supplies of containers and wicks, you’ll need the following:
- Beeswax granules for candle making, available from retailers like Bulk Apothecary
- Your choice of essential oils
- Popsicle stick or chopstick
- Candle making equipment, such as a dedicated measuring cup and double boiler, stirring utensil, hot plate or stovetop, and scissors
What to Do
- Using a double boiler, melt the desired amount of beeswax granules. Be careful not to overheat them. As soon as they are melted, you are ready to add the oil.
- Remove the wax from the heat source and add your choice of fragrance. Use about 20-25 drops of oil for every ounce of beeswax if you want a strongly scented candle, less if you would like a more subtle scent.
- Carefully pour the wax into the container, making sure the wax remains straight in the jar.
- Allow the wax to cool. When it has hardened, trim the wick to about 1/2 inch above the surface of the wax.
Try Different Combinations
Whether you prefer to roll, dip, or pour your beeswax candles, have fun trying different scents and combinations of scents to find what you like the best.
You’ll love the way the sweet scent of beeswax combines with other fragrances to provide a beautiful scented atmosphere in your home.
Before you start using the wax, trim the wicks to fit the jars you’ve chosen. Tie one end to a popsicle stick or chopstick that you will rest across the lip of the jar. This will keep the wick hanging straight in the wax.
Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she’s not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.