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I discovered a really great tutorial on making beeswax candles and had to share. I love beeswax candles. They burn more cleanly and healthily than “ordinary” petroleum-based candles – and it seems to me as though the flame has a brighter, purer quality. Has anyone else noticed that? 🙂 These candle make fabulous gifts during the holidays and at any other time.
The tutorial is great but I did some additional research and there are a couple of important things I wanted to add:
1) Make sure you obtain 100% pure beeswax. I read that in order for a candle to be called beeswax, it only needs to be 51% beeswax! So look for 100% pure. I found some organic 100% pure beeswax on Amazon (this is my affiliate link) and the price is currently $6.48 for 5 ounces.
If you are vegan or otherwise opposed to using beeswax, but still want healthy candles, you can use vegetable wax candles (often made with soybean oil). “Ordinary” candles are often made with paraffin, which is a petroleum-based product, possibly also with synthetic fragrances. Yes, that probably means some toxic fumes. They may also be made with tallow (a by-product of beef-fat rendering).
2) Wicks are typically made with braided cotton – however these may also be impregnated with chemicals; typically to alter their burning characteristics. Typical agents include ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate.
Wicks may also have metal cores – typically zinc nowadays, however when a product is cheaply made, there is no real knowing how high-grade the metal was that was used. Fortunately the use of lead in the wicks has now been banned. (In the 1990’s it was causing lead poisoning!)
3) Candle safety notes: Be VERY VERY careful with candles. According to the U.S. National Fire Protection Association, candles are one of the leading sources of residential fires in the U.S. with almost 10% of civilian injuries and 6% of civilian fatalities from fire attributed to candles. The golden rule: Don’t leave them unattended. Also, don’t leave them close to curtains or drapes, and don’t leave them underneath a shelf as when the air is still, they can set light to things a surprising distance above the flame.
Glass candle holders can be cracked by thermal shock from the candle flame, particularly when either the wick is not “centralized” during manufacture, or if the candle burns all the way down to the end. When burning candles in glass holders or jars, users should avoid lighting candles in cracked jars, and stop use once 1/2 inch of wax remains. (source: Wikipedia). This is one of the reasons it is suggested not to leave candles unattended!
One of the other dangers is tea lights – they seem harmless enough but that aluminum holder heats up incredibly when the wax burns low – enough to melt through a perspex table top and set it on fire. (I have actually seen this happen, I am not making it up!) If you are ever going to use tea lights, always place them on a plate or other flat earthenware or stone surface.
Ok, safety notes done, the full original beeswax candle making tutorial can be found here: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/09/homemade-beeswax-candles.html
Let us know how you get on in the comments or on our Facebook page.
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