I made candles! (And you can too)

For MISTI*Con this year, I snagged a precious, coveted spot in the Owl Post. In fact, I snagged two. The “Surprise!” group I’ll keep a secret, but I am so proud of this one and, it turns out, it’s not that difficult! Here’s how I made candles.

Foster cat Zippy showing off my handwork in appropriately witchy style.

Things you need:

  1. Containers. I used 8oz Ball jars.
  2. Wicks. Here’s a chart for types of wicks vs wax. Apparently it’s actually super important? If the wick is too small it’ll drown and if it’s too big, I guess the candle will go up in a fireball.
  3. Wax. I got mine from Better Bee. Actually, I got pretty much everything from Better Bee. Their prices were a touch better than other places I looked, and everything shipped crazy fast.
  4. Dye and/or perfume. I ended up not using perfume because beeswax smells really nice on its own. Since they’re for the fellow Ravenclaws, I did use royal blue dye. (Also from Better Bee.)
  5. Wax paper or something else to protect all surfaces.
  6. A pot and a glass measuring cup for melting and pouring the wax. (Or other form of bain marie/double boiler. I like the measuring cup because it’s easier to control the pouring part.)
  7. SO MANY skewers.
  8. Binder clips.
  9. Big honkin’ knife, hammer, and chisel or flathead screwdriver.

Step One: Cut wicks, if you need to. I made mine a couple inches longer than the jar, so it’d be easier to control them during the whole “pouring wax” part.

Step Two: If your wax comes in giant blocks like mine did, chop it up. (This is where you need the big honkin’ knife and hammer and chisel.) After a lot of trial and error, I used the knife to score a kind of grid through the top and bottom of my wax block then used the hammer and chisel to actually break it apart. Beeswax is SUPER solid and I just didn’t have the strength to chop through it with the knife, no matter how honkin’.

Step Three: Melt the wax. Fill the pot up halfway-ish and turn the stove on to medium low. (Apparently anything higher than medium and you risk setting your wax on fire.) This takes forEVER, so make sure you have a way to entertain yourself.

Where I started remembering to take pictures.

Step Three Point Five: Don’t forget to add your dye and/or perfume! If you add the dye (which comes in a little block and you only need a TEENY little bit, so start small) after the wax is entirely melted it does this neat thing where, because the dye is colder than melted wax, it develops a little cooled-wax coat, but with strings of dye hanging out. It eventually melts down, but it’s wild looking. I liked to add my dye when the wax was melted enough that there was a big pool, but not all the way. The dye floated on top and left trails of dye spinning out behind it. Very satisfying.

How cool does that look?

Step Four: Dip your wicks and try not to laugh because it’s a euphemism. I don’t know why you do this, but the guides said it’s important to have your wicks pre-waxed, so there you go. You just grab one by the end and dip as much of it as you can into the melted wax. Then you lay it out on a piece of wax paper to cool. Make sure to use a skewer to squish the waxed end down on the paper so you can pull the wick straight.

Straight-ish. Straight for a given value of straight.

Step Five: Once the wax is all melted, pour a little bit in the bottom of your jars. (Really only do this one or two jars at a time. Wax cools fast!) Place your wicks in the very middlest (do your best) of the wax. If it’s cooled a bit before you get there, use a skewer to squish a hole where you want it and stick the wick in. Here’s where the binder clips come in. Take two skewers and use them to hold the wicks exactly where you want them. Take two binder clips and use them to hold the skewers exactly where you want them. (I made this part up myself but I felt like a genius because it kept my wicks tidy when I was pouring the candles.)


Step Six: Almost fill your jars with melted wax. NOT all the way! Apparently, as it cools, wax can sometimes sink or crack. To combat this, you let the first pour cool for an hour, then poke deep holes (almost, but not quite, to the bottom) through your candle with a skewer. Let that cool another hour (I turned off my bain marie after the first pour and started it back up half an hour into the second hour-long wait) then top it off.

Step Seven: Chop your wicks 1/4 to 1/2 inches above the wax.

That’s it! You now have a candle! How cool is that? I made a few extras because I had the tiniest bit more wax than I needed, despite my impeccable math, so we’ve been burning one to see how it looks and friends, I’m extremely proud of myself.

What’s the coolest thing you didn’t know you could make until you did it? Have you made candles? Do you have pictures? Let me know!

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