How To Make Healthy Beeswax Palm Candles and Save Money

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Beeswax and Palm Candles, how to make

 

Before I had this blog, I had  a little craft blog. I haven’t kept up on that craft blog but I wanted to move some of my favorite posts over here and share some of our new favorites.  Healthy living easily extends to the activities we do with our children and what they play with. These crafts are fun to do with our older children.  See all my craft posts here.

I don’t do many crafts any more, I’ve become somewhat of a minimalist on our special needs journey (less stuff = less cleaning/organizing/things to have to say no to) but we do love burning candles in the evenings, and truly natural candles are expensive so this was a project worth figuring out.

What are healthy candles?

Because candles are literally being burned into the air we breathe, it’s important to choose natural materials so we are not adding to the pollution already in our environment.  Paraffin is the less expensive, though toxic, material used in most candles (source).  And fragrance oil is added, which also is made of chemicals and adds toxins to the air inside our house.

Candles are something that’s nice, but not necessary, so I would recommend only making a habit of burning them if you know they are all natural.

Soy candles (made from non GMO soy- we don’t want to be supporting GMOs) would be okay, but I didn’t have access to soy, I love the smell of beeswax, and I also already had a gallon of palm oil in my pantry.

100% Palm, 50/50, and 100% beeswax

50% palm, 50% beeswax

I did an experiment making three different candles to test using 100% palm oil/shortening, half palm and half beeswax, and 100% beeswax.  The beeswax candle split and I was told that they burn hot.  The palm oil burned well (which I thought was cool!) but was too soft so the wick started floating toward the edge of the jar, which might cause the jar to crack, but the palm/beeswax worked well!  The palm oil helps lower the cost for the project too, which is always helpful ~smile~

The cost of healthy candles

The price difference between paraffin candles and natural candles sold in stores is high.  Making your own brings them down to ‘reasonable’ for most people, though homemade beeswax candles still cost more than paraffin.  This project in total cost me about $15 and made enough for 5 six-ounce candles; $3/candle compared to the $8-$12 I see them selling for in stores.

How To Make Palm Oil and Beeswax Candles

You will need:

  • 1 pound pure beeswax I got mine from a farm supply store for 7.99. It’s available a little more expensively on Amazon, and you may be able to find it from a beekeeper
  •  2 cups palm oil/shortening (found here)
  • 5-6 pint canning jars (found here, or at hardware or grocery stores)
  • 2 yards wick- I used #2 and it works well with the pint jars linked to above.  Wick is available at craft shops, I got mine at the same farm supply store that I got my wax at.  I’m sure someone with more candle making experience can explain what size works best and why, but for now I know this worked ~smile~
  • 4+ cup ovenproof container for melting wax and oil in, I used a large Pyrex measuring cup
  • Pencil or dowel to tie the wick to, this will keep it from slipping into the melted wax as it sets up
  • Essential oil as desired to scent. I used a few drops of cedar in one candle and couldn’t smell it at all, so I left the rest plain.  Again, I’m sure someone with more experience can weigh in on scenting with essential oils

Directions:

  1. Stand your beeswax block up in the oven proof container, and melt in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until completely melted. Add palm oil/shortening and return to oven for 10 minutes, the palm melts much faster.
  2. As the wax is melting, cut wick about 2 inches taller than the containers you are using, and tie one end around a pencil or dowel.
  3. Center the wicks over the jars, as shown.
  4. Once the wax has melted, pour a little (1/4 inch) in the bottom of each jar, and use the eraser end of a pencil to secure the wick in the bottom center as the wax starts to harden. If the wick is curling up, use your fingers to smooth a little wax along the wick to help make it more stiff.
  5. Once the bottom part of the wax has set up, fill the jars as desired.  If the wick floats up, again use the pencil eraser end to get it to stick down in the bottom again.
  6. Allow to set up for a few hours or overnight.  Slide the pencil out of the wick loops, untie, or clip with small scissors. Clip wick to 1/4 inch before lighting.  Enjoy!

*as always, never leave candles unattended and use safety precautions around fire and hot wax.

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Comments

  1. I was just wondering the other day how I would go about making some candles. This post is very timely, and its on my list of projects now!

    I’d love to see someone with more experience chime in about wick sizes.

  2. I’ve only made small beeswax candles and have found that if the wax is clean, it burns really well but I definitely want to look into palm oil if it is cheaper. I don’t know anything about it though in terms of health so I’m looking forward to finding out more! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh, I am so excited to try this! I’ve got a big brick of beeswax a friend gave me that I can use. However, no palm oil to be seen. Can other types of oil be used? I’ve got olive oil, grapeseed oil and lots of coconut oil on hand, but not sure if those will work. Ideas????

    • I have made many bees wax candles, too many to count!! I however only make the jar type candles as they easier and you can use almost any type of canning or used candle jar. You CAN substitute either coconut oil or even use vegetable shortening for this healthy candle method here. Same thing with 1/2 & 1/2 bees wax to the shortening or coconut oil. (please do not use the expensive coconut oil that is for cosmetic use. This is a waste of a good oil to use on your body and is very expensive!) I would use the “Goya” brand coconut oil you get at the grocery store. And all vegetable shortening has palm and other oils in it. They turn out great!! No black smoke or blackening jars at all! This means they burn clean. Now when it comes to scenting them with essential oils, you need a lot more than just a few drops to get a good scent throw to your candles. This can be very costly depending on which type of oil you use. Also, you can add a Tbls. of honey and that too makes them smell very nice, but very subtle. For a 16 oz candle (lets say you like it to smell of lavender and chamomile) You will need at least 2 ml of each scent or at least 50 drops of each scent to get a good scented candle that will fill the room with a wonderful scent with a great scent throw. You can also purchase candle scents on Amazon that are much cheaper, but they contain chemicals and I’m not too sure if they will make black smoke or make your jar black as well. All I do know, essential oils do not! Good luck! OH! A natural musk will also add to scent of a candle. Much cheaper and will add deep tone to what ever scent you choose, and you will need less essential oil this way. I like to use “Skin” musk oil. Only about $10.00 per bottle.

  4. I just bought some beeswax at the farmer’s market, so I am excited to try this! But I am curious as to how you cleaned your pyrex after melting the beeswax. The lady who sold me the beeswax warned me to use a glass dish exclusively for beeswax because I will never be able to get it out of the glass. But being a mininalist in the kitchen, I don’t have extra glassware laying around. Any helpful hints?

    • Yeah, it’s a pain, the palm oil helps cut it so it’s not so thick. I got most of it off with just dish soap and hot water, but there’s still a film, it’ll come off with a few more washings/usings (or if I really tried to work on it). These are food grade, so it doesn’t bother me that there’s a little left on the glass.

    • Randall Rodriguez says:

      I know I am answering you almost a year after but someone will read it… You have to “melt” another oil in the same dishware or glassware, enough to cover the surface that has beeswax/palm mixture and when the palm (for example) is melted and warm enough you can unload the oil to another recipient and use a paper towel to remove the oil from the surface and it will be done…. Be careful with the hot oils. At the end let the recipient to cool completely before you wash it, otherwise it could break the glass.

      You have to see the right amount of hot oil you need to clean the surface, if the recipient has too much beeswax maybe you will need more oil or to repeat the process.

  5. I am highly allergic to palm and soy. Any ideas on other oils I could use. Thanks

  6. would coconut oil or lard work well instead of palm oil??

  7. I’ve never tried palm oil before. I can’t wait to try this technique!

    In high school, I actually worked at a Greek Orthodox convent pouring beeswax candles! Do you know all the health benefits of 100% pure beeswax candles? They actually clean the air and reduce allergies and asthma. I wrote a post on it here: http://empoweredsustenance.com/beeswax-candles-and-allergies-an-effective-solution/

    I am so with you about not buying soy candles! Not only are they most likely GMed, but soy wax must be processed with paraffin. And they often contain dyes and fragrances. Even essential oils aren’t safe for use in candles, because the combustion changes the chemical structure and makes it toxic.

    • Interesting point about the essential oils. What about using ground spices to scent the candle? I just got a new jar of cardamom and it smells so good; I think it would be perfect for a candle, but I’m not sure if it’s a good idea.

  8. This is so great. Thank you so much (especially for links of where to buy things). Would love to learn more things like this in future posts. Wondering if a few drops of essential oils added would make some nice smelling scents?

  9. Just read over at http://www.mommypotamus.com/ that you can cut the Beeswax with Coconut Oil so I’m going to try that. Especially since many supplies of Palm Oil is not sustainable farmed and is endangering orangutan habitats.

  10. Thanks for the tip about cutting the beeswax with another oil. I think I’d like to find an alternative to the palm oil, though, as one of the main sources for palm oil is the levelling / clearing out of the rainforests for the production of the palm oil.

  11. I use a crock pot lined with a crock pot liner. So I won’t need to worry about clean up. Just take out liner. I save be to use next time to be frugle. I am on my second try at candle making. Next time I will be adding some coconut oil or olive oil cuz I have plenty of both in my house and love coconut oil . Yes olive oil I have loved for Years. Coconut oil is still rather new to me. LOVE coconut oil.. Heck maybe I will use a combo of both oils..

  12. I haven’t made this recipe but typically for soy candles you need 10ml essential oils per cup of wax/oil. Less for stronger oils like patchouli, lavender, and mint. More oils for lighter scents like orange, lemon, or lavender.
    :)

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