“It would make the perfect beeswax candle present for my brother. Actually…wouldn’t it be great to make a whole set of beeswax candles for him? He’d LOVE them.” Click. There! Done! I’ve justified my purchase which of course is (yeah right) totally altruistic. I’m not doing it for myself. I am not buying yet another candle mould for me, oh no. Not that I’d part with the mould. Give it to my brother?? Not a chance. Oh, I’ll have to get wicks too. Why get 10m when I can buy 50? It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later, only a few days before Christmas, when I was yet again on my hands and knees scraping dripped beeswax off my kitchen floor that the penny dropped. Oh dear..I may have a problem. I may even have an addiction. I don’t know if it’s the candle moulds or to making candles. All of the process gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. My creative gene enters a zone of bliss.
Earlier my kitchen had been gleaming, all surfaces cleared of bric-a-brac… pristine. Now, as I scrape off a fresh blob of yellow beeswax from the floor I look up and see that I’ve used every worktop space to make candles. There’s baking parchment protecting the worktop, bits of cardboard thrown to one side which I had wrapped around some of the moulds so that I could thread a piece of metal clothes-hanger to hold the wicks, there was a scattering of bobby pins and elastic bands too. I had changed tack and started using the wall-cupboard doorknobs to hold the wicks and dispensed with the cardboard. The doorknob method is more economical and saves on wicks. Genius! (An adaptation of Pam’s method – see link below). There were tall, short, fat and thin silicon moulds strewn about. However, my experiments with glass moulds were a failure so they sit lonely (but not forgotten) on a shelf in the garage. Glass candle moulds are not really suitable for beeswax candles. If I had done a bit more research instead of jumping right in, I’d have saved myself the expense and trouble of glass candle moulds, but no, fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
I have a workbench in the garage and a microwave to melt beeswax. Just 12 minutes in the microwave (it often reaches 120o C before all the wax has melted) it must be cooled to 65 – 70o C before being poured into the moulds. I learned this method from a YouTube video [Melting Beeswax]. This is a fast way to melt beeswax and I’ve made many candles this way, however, it’s really difficult to keep the wax a bright yellow colour. The beeswax just gets too hot. The first pour is ok but with repeated heating the beeswax becomes darker eventually turning a mucky kind of green. This week, I abandoned the microwave to experiment with a double boiler set up. The wax is put in a jug, which is put in a saucepan of water, which is brought to the boil to melt the wax. I had to move operations back to the kitchen to be near the cooker. So much for my efforts to ban beeswax from the kitchen!
Experiment observations using Double Boiler method:
- It takes ages to heat the wax to above 65 degrees. (20 minutes at least).
- It’s harder to overheat the wax (that’s a good thing)
- It is easier to keep the wax at correct temperature for longer (that’s also good).
- The wax stays a lovely yellow even with repeated heating (up to a point).
- A larger batch of wax can be melted using the double boiler method.
Will definitely make candles again this way.
Pam is a professional – her set up and method is the one I’d recommend. Her bench set up is just wonderful too – worth a watch. approx 19min Video.
I love the contrast in styles of the operations of the two candle makers linked to above. 🙂
For more on candle making see my blog post about Dipped Candles.
Oh…it would have been a lot cheaper to buy a few candles for my brother than to make them! But where’s the fun in that? Shur, I’ll have the candle mould for years and can make loads of candles with it…can’t you just hear the justification?
I can but laugh at myself.