Burning beeswax candles is a truly sensory experience; from the natural, honey-rich scent to the deep golden glow they produce to the comforting feel of the natural wax and the powder white bloom that appears on their surface in the cold. Beeswax candles have become a year-round essential in my house, but something about their honeyed, flickering light and sweet scent makes them so well-suited to this time of year. Making your own beeswax taper candles is a lot easier than you might think, and a wonderful way to embrace a cosy afternoon at home. There is something incredibly grounding about the process, mindfully melting the wax and the repetitive dipping and rolling technique used to form taper candles. To make them, you will need:
Beeswax pellets/ bricks (Around a kilo made two tapered candles plus three large jar candles)
A tall tin can, for example a metal tennis ball tube*
An old pan that you don’t mind getting waxy
A roll of cotton wick
A craft knife
A dowel or stick to hang the candles over
A heat-proof mat or surface.
Fill your saucepan with water and place your tall tin, filled ¾ of the way up with beeswax, into the water to form a makeshift double boiler.
Bring the water to the boil. While the wax begins to melt, measure and cut your wick: you will dip two candles at a time, so cut more than double the length of the size you want your candles. When the wax has melted, transfer the makeshift double boiler to a heatproof surface.
Fold your wick in two, leaving a centimetre or two to manoeuvre with in the middle, and hold one end to the side, dipping the other straight up and down in the tin can. For the first dip, you might need to wiggle the wick around a little until it’s coated. Repeat with the other side – or if you’re feeling bold you could do both at once, making sure they don’t get stuck together!
Allow to cool slightly, then roll on your heat-proof surface and smooth using the heat of your fingers to ensure an even finish. Then dip again: try to dip straight down and back up in one confident move to avoid bubbles and blemishes forming on the surface of the candle. If you’re confident you could even dip both candles at once! With each dip it will get easier to smooth the surface of the forming tapers. Repeat the process of dipping and rolling and trim the bottom of the candles every few dips.
Repeat until you reach your desired thickness. About 10 – 12 dips will result in your classic tapered dinner candle. Trim the bottom of the candle one last time and hang the pair of candles over the dowel or stick to set. Leave to cure for a week or so for a better burn and scent.
* Nathalie from Travelling Basket gave me this tip at their workshop this time last year and has inspired me to keep making these tapered candles using everyday objects!