Beeswax Candles

Beeswax Candles - A blog by Tamsin Harris

I often get asked about the scent of a beeswax candle when it's burning, people seem to think it will smell sweet - just like honey. I think generally that it has a mellow, warm scent with just a subtle hint of honey, especially if it has been made with cappings wax.

Not only are beeswax candles easy and fun to make, but they are made from a sustainable product that the bees produce in quantity every year. Bees consume nectar and metabolise it into wax that they utilize within their nest to build comb, cap brood cells and stabilise the whole structure. Plants photosynthesize sunlight to chemically produce nectar, bees collect that nectar and convert it to wax which we can then burn to give light - from sunlight to candle light.

The mesmerising flame gives a clarity of light that is not found in petroleum or soy based wax candles and I have found that once people start to use beeswax candles they very rarely return to burning any other type.

There are a number of ways to make them: rolled sheets of unwired foundation are quick and easy to make with minimal mess, then there are moulded candles that come in many forms, from novelty Christmas themes to cute animals and of course the traditional pairs of dipped candles that can be tricky to perfect, but look stunning once made well.

So once you have made your candles, learning how to get the best from burning them is a must!

Trim the wick to a quarter of an inch each time you light the candle and ensure that the candle is placed securely, away from any draughts and it should burn evenly.

When you first light a candle, let it burn for two to three hours, until molten wax covers the whole surface, then blow it out. Ensuring the wax melts across the whole surface each time means that it will burn flat, without hollowing out. For pillar candles, let them burn an hour for every inch diameter.

In the event of a burning candle hollowing out, the best remedy is to wrap the candle in tin foil, scrunching the foil around the top to leave a couple of inches in the centre for the flame to burn freely. After burning for an hour or so the wax should form a flat, liquid layer on the top.

Believe it or not, refigerated candles burn for longer, so for table candles make sure they go into the fridge along with the white wine - that way they stay lit until long after the meal has ended!

All that remains to be done now is to get your wax and correct sized wick ready, then decide on which style of candle you're going to make and whether you can bear to part with it as a Christmas present!

Tamsin Harris

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