Candle Making – Set up and Melting

Bramble Berry has a substantial line of candle fragrances, colors, waxes, wicks and candle glass containers. I love making candles but don’t make them enough. Once you get a perfect recipe down, the outcomes are more predictable than cold-process soapmaking.

For this Beeswax Container Candle project, the set up includes:

a double boiler
cotton core wicks
candle fragrance
glass containers
Metal pouring container

If you don’t have all these things, you can melt beeswax in the microwave. It takes 6 to 10 minutes to melt the wax. It’s not advised because Pyrex will not always withstand the sustained heat. I have personally broken (exploded is a better word) two Pyrex “heat-safe” containers and a microwave glass rotating plate attempting to melt beeswax in the microwave. Do not melt the wax in a normal pot, directly on the stove. The wax needs diffuse heat from a double-boiler to best melt.

Why cotton core wicks? Cotton wicks are all natural and do not use zinc or metals to make them stiff. For beeswax users, the cotton wicks also carry the fuel (the melted beeswax) up the wick in a more efficient manner. In normal situations, cotton wicks are smoke free. The wick needs to be large; approximately double what you would use in a paraffin candle. Beeswax is a hard, dense wax and has a high melting point, needing a larger flame for a consistent melt-down.

Why specific candle fragrance? You can use soap fragrances (the ones from Bramble Berry are great in candles!) but they tend to be more expensive than dedicated candle fragrances. Soap and skin safe fragrances have higher standards for ingredient safety and purity. Candle fragrances can use a wider variety of ingredients, often cheaper, since they don’t need to adhere to standards like on-skin irritancy or being an allergen when applied to the body. Also, dedicated candle fragrances will sometimes perform better in candles than an all-purpose fragrance. Our soap fragrances (originall line and the Cybilla line) work great in candles. We have many customer using our normal line for their candles because it’s easier to have matching soap and candle scents. But, if you’re just making candles and economics is the main factor for you, choose the candle line.

Beeswax is a precious renewable resource. To make one pound (16 oz.) of beeswax, a worker bee will eat 10 pounds of honey and visit 33 million flower blossoms over 150,000 miles! WOW! That makes the price of $4.00 per pound seem positively cheap!

Why glass containers? Because they require less work than a traditional pillar candle and you don’t need to buy any molding equipment. Make sure if you use a container for your candle that the jar is a heat safe container.

The Instructions for making Beeswax Container Candles
Day One

Step One: Melt the beeswax in a double boiler. 16 oz of beeswax pastilles will melt down to about 10.5 oz of volume. One container (as shown in the top photo) takes a full pound of beeswax! This explains why these candles burn for so long – there’s a lot of wax in that little glass! Tip: When the wax is melting, it will congeal into one large lump. Breaking up the lump will help the wax melt faster. Please be careful when you are breaking the lump up – too vigorously chopping might splash hot wax on you!

Step 2: Carefully transfer the hot beeswax (no children or pets should be underfoot during this step!) into your pour container. I like metal for this though you could use a heat-safe pouring container in a pinch.

Check back tomorrow for Wick Centering & Fragrance Use.


11 Responses to “Candle Making – Set up and Melting”

  1. playing with soap says:

    Great pics!!! In regards to the pyrex (heat-safe glass containers), you are the second person to make this comment. For my friend, it cracked while she was stirring the lye solution. Thankfully, she had her pyrex in the sink.


  2. Candice says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial…I am thinking of adding candles to my product line so this is great information!

  3. Michelle says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. I can’t wait to read more. I’ll be attempting the candles very soon. Can’t wait to try.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is great. I have never done candles and your step by step pics are giving me the incentive I need. Thank you.

  5. Celia says:

    What’s the pour container? I havejust put the melted wax from the double broiler directly to the teacup I was using as the container. Did I make it wrong?

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    You don’t need a separate pouring container. I just used one so I wouldn’t spill. I don’t think I could pour directly from the large container into a teacup without spilling =)

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am into candles and wanted to try something different.
    Dipping REAL pinecones into scented wax. This Would not be a candle, it would be a scented pinecone to use in a tray as a Christmas centerpiece. I’ve tried Soy…it didn’t work. I was thinking about mixing beeswax and parrafin wax together. Your comment would be appreciated.

  8. Anne-Marie says:

    Hi Anon -

    Paraffin would be great (or a beeswax). Paraffin will probably be cheaper so that’s why I’d start with that one.

  9. nichola says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  10. Victoria says:

    I just received an amazingly well packaged box of Eco soya wax and scent. I couldn’t find paraffin on the site so I got the soy and now I see from above remarks that may not work for my pinecones dipping project. I live in the middle of a forest and was so excited to have something, anything to do with my thousands of pinecones underfoot. If ecosoya blend won’t work for dipping the pinecones, what do I need? If you can point me directly to the proper wax that would be great. Also, where can I find a double boiler and heat safe container?

    Thanks, Anne-Marie! I so enjoy the blog and soap queen site.

  11. Sarah G says:

    If you put a wooden stick in your mixture while in the microwave, it will help disperse the heat evenly and you will not have cracking! :)

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