Friday, 24 June 2011

Let there be light..

On the 17th June, we removed two old brood frames from the bee hive. These frames were quite old, and were currently not being used. The wax in the frames was really off coloured, it was a very dark brown, almost black.

I had read about candle making, but had thought it would be really hard to do. But let me tell you this, it is the easy thing in the world to do.

First of all we cut the wax comb out of the frames, and popped the frames in the sink for a good wash and disinfect.

Then we needed to take the wax and break it up in to bits. The original foundation was wired and therefore we needed to take the metal wire out of the wax before it could be heated.

We broke the way in to small square pieces which were about an inch in size. We then put them in to a jug. The beekeeper at Gardener's World told us to use a microwave safe plastic bowl, but we didn't have any of those so a glass jug had to suffice...

It's all then so easy.

We put the wax in to the microwave for 30 second sessions at a time. Each time we would give the wax a prod (early stages) and when it was starting to melt we gave it a stir. The liquid was black, and I started to envisage the worst candles ever created, and then have to face the humility on here.

You can make wax sheets to roll up in to old fashioned candles, but the easy way to do it is to pour the liquid in to those rubber cake moulds. We had some heart shaped cake moulds to use.

For the first one we cut the wick down to size and then I dangled the wick in to the mould whilst Amy poured the mixture in, and we reversed roles for the second attempt. I then stood like a lemon holding the wick in place until it began to set slightly.

We filled two moulds with our 2 frames worth of wax. We did think we would get a couple more with so much wax, but I suppose that it is hollow and looked like there was more than there really was. Never mind.

When both moulds were filled and beggining to set, we popped them in to the fridge to speed up the process.

It then came to the time to remove them from the moulds and we were pleasantly surprised. With the frame that used to contain stores of honey, the candle had set to a georgeous deep honey colour. Whereas the brood wax candle was much darker and almost an olive oil colour on the sides and at the bottom.

The only problem we encountered was that some debri and bits that weren't removed from the wax seemed to burn in the microwave and sank to the bottom of the melted wax, so the bottoms of the candles is black. However, this does not bother us at all. But in the future we may use a more precise filtration/debri removal technique.

Amy is so thrilled with the end product that she says that we can never, ever burn them. Which of course slightly defeats the object of the whole task. They are nicely sat on the bedroom windowsil now and are nice decorative ornaments.

Has anybody else tried making their own candles? We would love to hear about what you found good/bad and easy/hard.

Thanks everyone for reading, if you have access to your own wax, or know someone who keeps bees then this is definately worth a try. Good luck if you do try it!

I hope you have a nice weekend!



  1. Heya both, nice post!
    Yes I've made candles in the past but regret to say my sizeable stash of equipment is at the back of the wardrobe! Not for any reason other than when I'm on my feet all day over a hot stove, that is the last thing I want to be spending my free time doing too, but your post was fascinating and may have got me wanting to give it another go...maybe on a day off though! :)

  2. I have made candles but not from bees wax. I really like yours! I have a post on the Craft tab of my blog about my candles. Mine aren't nearly as pretty as your.

  3. I made candles by remelting old candle wax once and it didn't go well - they smelt funny and smoked a lot! I'm not sure what I did wrong... Making them out of matural beeswax sounds like a much better idea to me! Are they very soft though? You could even add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance.

  4. The candles look amazing! I would love to have bees, but alas we've got nowhere to put them at the moment!

  5. I love your candles! I used to make candles but I haven't for ages. You can convert lots of things to make moulds, youhurt pots etc which also saves cleaning of cake tins! To save holding the wick you can tie it to a lolly stick or such like and rest that over the mould. If you do want to burn them I would recommend dipping the wick in wax first as it burns much better when you first light the candle.

  6. Lovely candles! And I have to agree with Amy about keep ing them :)
    I have made candles in the past and used all kinds of containers. I also used to make dipped candles but that is time consuming.
    I got all my candle-making stuff out recently but haven't revisited it yet. Mo

  7. I made candles a long long time ago. These are gorgeous and a must keep.

  8. What a great idea to use the wax. And I too agree with Amy, they are way too pretty to light :)


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