In spite of the growing commercialism of the holiday season, I still find gift giving to be one of my favorite traditions. In an environment where it is so easy to go overboard with purchases, I think that the best presents to give and receive are the simple, homemade ones. There is just something about spending an afternoon creating gifts to share with friends and family. And if you pick an easy project that you enjoy, it is a great way to relax during what can be a very stressful time.
This project for making beeswax candles is nice because there is nothing to it and a pair of these beautiful tapers tied with a raffia bow makes such a nice gift.
All you need are sheets of beeswax and wicks. You can purchase these supplies at craft stores, bee keeping supply companies or from an online source. To find an online source I had the best luck by searching using the words “candle making,” “wax sheets,” or “beeswax sheets.”
I like to use the honeycombed wax but you can find it smooth as well. Sheets are also available in a wide range of colors. The cost for an 8″ x 16″ sheet will run you about two dollars.
Determine the size wick to purchase by the diameter of the candles you plan to make. Most sources will have a chart or recommendations to help you pick out the right wick. Wicks come in flat braid or square braid. For the most flexibility, you may want to purchase a range of wick sizes.
Buy enough wax and wick that you will be able to do a few test runs and of course, keep a few candles for yourself.
To get started warm the wax in the sun until it softens a bit or you can heat it by placing it on a towel lined cookie sheet in a 250-degree oven. It just takes a couple of minutes for the wax to soften and become pliable.
Determine the height of the candle you want and cut the sheet accordingly. Next cut a piece of wick about 1 1/2 inches longer than the height of your candle. Place the wick 1/8 of an inch from the edge of the wax sheet. Crease the edge of the sheet over the wick and press firmly so that it is well sealed. Now gently roll the sheet tightly, making sure the ends are even. When you have created the diameter desired, use a utility knife to trim any excess and a warm metal spatula to seal the edge. Trim the wick down to about 1/2 inch on top.
To increase the diameter of a candle, simply roll the first sheet with the wick as described, then line up the edge of a new sheet with the unsealed, outer edge of this candle and begin to roll again. Continue these steps until you have the diameter you prefer.
It’s amazing how popular candles have become particularly around the holiday season and to think, the essential ingredient here is from our friend, the honeybee.