When I signed up to help my Beekeeping Cub demonstrate how to make beeswax candles at the county fair, I envisioned myself sitting on a stump, wick in hand, dipping tirelessly into a pot of hot wax while waving at the kiddies.
I arrived to a table piled high with beeswax foundation – the long flat sheets of wax that are inserted in the frames of the hive to help bees draw out their comb. Using a precut cardboard template and an exacto knife, I was instructed to cut out the shapes from the sheets of wax. The wick cord was then wrapped around a precut piece of cardboard and cut to length.
With everything precut and ready to go, we invited passersby to sit down and make their own candles. And I mean everyone – kids, parents, grandmas, men, women, teenagers…regardless of age or gender, everyone loved it!
Since most of us beekeepers have a few extra sheets of beeswax foundation lying around, I thought I’d share a tutorial for making hand rolled beeswax candles. It’s super easy, they make great gifts, and it’s an easy and fun project for kids. In fact, many of the kids ended up showing their parents how to make the candles. Here we go…
1 full sheet of deep foundation makes 2 candles.
- 1 full sheet of wireless, beeswax foundation for a deep size frame (available online from bee supply companies, like Brushy Mountain)
- Plain #2 (medium) wick cord – about 10-12 inches per candle (available from craft stores or Amazon)
- Cutting template – wax or cardboard
- Exacto knife
1. On a large cutting board, lay one sheet of beeswax foundation in front of you horizontally.
2. Use your ruler to measure across the top edge and cut a small slit to mark the top center of the sheet.
3. Do the same across the bottom edge and cut a small slit to mark the bottom center of the sheet.
4. Align the ruler with the two center slits and cut the sheet in half vertically with your exacto knife.
5. Put one of the halves aside and put the other half in front of you.
6. Measure the left edge and cut a small slit to mark the center, then measure the right edge and cut a small slit to mark the center.
7. Align your ruler with the two center slits and cut the sheet in half horizontally. You should have two quartered pieces, as shown below.
8. Put one piece aside and place the other piece in front of you horizontally.
9. On the top edge right, measure 2 inches in (left, toward the center) from the right corner. Mark with a small slit.
10. On the left edge, measure 1 inch up from the bottom corner.
11. Align your ruler between the 2″ and 1″ slits and cut diagonally along the top outside edge of the ruler, removing a triangular piece of wax.
12. Lay your finished cut piece on top of your other quartered piece so that right and left edges align.
13. Use the top piece as a template, cutting along to edges to produce a matching piece from the bottom sheet. You should have two matching pieces, as shown in the photos below.
14. Cut a 10″ piece of #2 (medium) candle wick cord and lay it across the bottom edge of one piece of wax, leaving equal parts extending outside the wax on each side, as shown below.
15. Gently press the wick into the wax, about 1/8″ above the bottom edge to help it stay in place, as shown below.
16. Use your fingers to gently curl the bottom edge of the wax upward and roll one complete roll over the wick, then stop rolling.
17. Place the second piece of wax on top of the first piece so that the side edges align and so the bottom edge of the second piece aligns just above the first roll.
18. Gently continue rolling the bottom piece while incorporating the bottom edge of the top piece into the roll.
19. Continue to gently and evenly roll the combined pieces. The more you roll, the easier the rolling will become, until you can easily push the roll tightly and all the way through to finish the candle, as shown below.
Voila! You have a finished candle!
You’ll enjoy about 2-3 hours of burning time from each candle.
These candles smell wonderful when burned, and because they are made from bees wax, they will not smoke. That’s why only beeswax candles are used in the Catholic and other churches around the world.
So buy a few extra sheets of beeswax and start rolling some candles. They are so much fun for everyone to make, and they make fabulous, inexpensive handmade gifts that your friends and family will love! Enjoy!