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Candle making For Beekeepers For Pleasure Or Profit

This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.

 

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Candle making For Beekeepers For Pleasure Or Profit

There are many techniques for making candles. It is common for beekeepers to have a surplus of beeswax, (I make my own foundation and still have enough wax left to make a few candles). The excess wax can be put to good use either as candles for your own enjoyment or for sale as a sideline.

Dipping… This is one of the oldest methods and a plaited wick is first dipped in some molten wax then pulled straight as the wax solidifies. This straight and still wick is then repeatedly dipped into a deep container of molten wax. In some cases this container has an amount of molten wax floating on a column of warm water. This technique produces a candle that has a tapered shape.

Rolled Foundation… Wax sheets with a hexagonal pattern embossed on them are used by beekeepers and can be formed into candles quite easily, by rolling the sheet around a wick. It is helpful if the wick is first dipped in wax and straightened and warmth is required to ensure full pliability in the wax. I have a tip that may help others to achieve a consistent tension when rolling… Home brewers use heating plates that are placed underneath demijohns of fermenting wine, these heating pads are ideal as a platform on which to roll the wax and a warm room is helpful as well. Specially dyed wax sheets, in various colours, are available from beekeeping equipment suppliers. These are specifically intended for use in candle making and can be used to make coloured candles or can be cut to work in a contrasting way with uncoloured beeswax foundation sheets.

Moulding… Many types of candle mould are available from glass, test tube look alikes to silicon rubber moulds capable of rendering fine detail.

Someone on an Email list once said…

> Also, my candles usually crack on top or leave holes in
> the middle no matter how slowly I cool them. What can
> be done about this?

This is due to the molten wax being at too high a temperature, it must be just above the melting point and no more. You can achieve this by ensuring a constant slow feed of small chunks of wax into the melting pot so that it always contains liquid wax with melting chunks in it.

Floating Candles… I have had considerable success with simple moulds made from stainless steel sundae dishes.

Moulded Decorations… These are made using small tinplate moulds that are sold for making chocolate decorations for dressing up fancy cakes. But if used with beeswax, sometimes dyed in a contrasting colour the can be added to plain cylindrical candles that have been moulded or produced by rolling.

Painting Minor details… This is a tip that I have learned from June Hughes who conducts a candle making workshop at The Gormanston Summer School each year. Many of the moulded candles have small details like the eye of a rabbit or a scarf around the neck of an owl, these details can be picked out using enamel paints and a small artists brush. This increases the impact far more that the small amount of work involved would suggest.

Twisted Strap… This is a style of candle making with which I am not acquainted, but basically sic candles are made by laminating thick strips of wax, sometimes of different colours the central strip being in two halves that are on either side of the wick. The resulting candle can be warmed and twisted to show spiral patterning.

Packaging of finished candles is something that adds value as well as protecting the surface of the candle itself. Transparent plastic sheeting or film can be used to form boxes or bags which can be held together with adhesive labels. The labels themselves can impart safety information or product identification information.

 

Sold hundreds of molded candles and some judicious painting and glitter goes a long way as does some simple packaging.

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