In celebration of the year that you were born, you should have the finest. You deserve the Cadillac of birthday candles on your three-tiered, from scratch, chocolate cake with real buttercream.
You’re nodding your head.
Have you ever seen more adorable candles? The soft yellow wax, the rustic handmade look- have I mentioned that I like rustic things? …Rustic Buttered Onion Deviled Eggs …Rustic Garden Gate.
If it’s “rustic,” I want it.
Although these beeswax birthday candles are easy (and fun!!) to make, you’ll want to read the instructions thoroughly, because I have a lot of tips. I screwed up, so you don’t have to. Now, this ain’t as hard as IKEA furniture, but it does go smoother if you understand the process.
And if you love the idea of beeswax birthday candles, but don’t want to be bothered with making them, buy some already made ones:
—> Classic Yellow Beeswax Birthday Candles
—> Rainbow Beeswax Birthday Candles
—> White Beeswax Birthday Candles
A cute little box of beeswax birthday candles, a jar of honey, and some beeswax lip balm makes a great gift! A hostess gift, shower gift, birthday gift, or for the person who has everything…
Beeswax Birthday Candles: What You Need
The container that I use to make birthday candles is a metal can (think soup or tomatoes, not soda) because it meets all the container requirements: metal or glass (conducts heat), taller than the finished candles will be, small diameter so you don’t have to use a ton of wax, and dedicated to having wax in it, or toss-able. Other fine options are: small pyrex measuring cup, recycled glass jar (salsa jar?), canning jar (jelly jar?).
Pure beeswax is all you need, and it is available in chunk form (but you’ll have to cut or grate it yourself or else it takes forever to melt, and grating it isn’t easy) or pellet form (easy, melts fast). You can also get white beeswax if you don’t like the yellow color, or want a more neutral look.
Different wicking material works better with different types of wax, and beeswax happens to like a cotton wick. Smaller candles require a smaller wick size, so this square braid #4/0 unprimed cotton wick is exactly what you need for birthday candles. You might find “already primed” wicks- which are NOT primed with beeswax, which is why I don’t like them (more on that below). If I’m making a beeswax candle, I want it to be beeswax!
Other Stuff to Gather and Assemble
-plastic fork or wooden skewer/chop stick (something toss-able) for stirring the wax as it melts
-wax paper (not parchment, not foil, not newspaper)
-but also, you do need newspaper for protecting your work area
-parchment paper (optional) for pouring out the wax when you’re done
-candle hanging device (chopsticks or a thin-handled spatula suspended between two boxes)
-small pot (not your best quality one, just in case of an accident)
How to make Homemade Beeswax Birthday Candles
1. Get Everything Ready
Cut the wicks- this is important: since these will be dipped candles, we’ll have two candles strung together so that we can use the wick in between them to hang them for drying. Just like nunchucks. Make sense? So, each wick should be cut to the length of two candles plus 1/2-inch for hanging. If you cut the wicks to a single-candle length, you’ll be sorry!
My finished birthday candles were 4-inches each. So, 4″ + 4″ + 1/2″ = 8.5-inch wicks.
Cut your wicks to 8.5-inch each.
2. Prime the Wicks
So… this is also important, don’t skip it. Priming the wicks means to soak and saturate them in wax- this greatly improves their burning. If you don’t do this, they might not burn at all. And that would be a sad, sad birthday.
Place about an inch of wax in your melting container, set the container into a small pot and fill the pot with water until it comes about half way up your melting container. Don’t add wax to your container while the container is in the pot of water. I will guarantee you’ll spill wax into your pot. Heat the pot on the stove until the wax is melted.
Cover your candle-making area with newspaper if you care about the surface. Set out a sheet of wax paper… about 12-inches by 12-inches is good for a dozen wicks (two dozen candles).
Remove the melting container from the pot and over to your candle-making area. To prime the wicks, place three wicks at a time into the melted wax, just drop them in and make sure they are fully submerged. Little bubbles will begin coming out of the wicks; wait for 30-45 seconds, or until the bubbles stop, which indicates the wicks are saturated.
Use your plastic fork or chopstick to fish out one wick at a time. Pinch each end of the wick between your fingers, stretch the wick out straight and firmly plant it onto the wax paper. Hold it for just a second- the wax paper will sort-of grab it… this is why we use wax paper. This is your only chance to make a straight candle. Repeat until all the wicks are finished (you may need to return the beeswax container to the boiling water if it cools before you’re finished- I did twice I think!). The wax and wicks will be warm but shouldn’t burn you, however, please be careful!
Allow the wicks to fully dry (at least 15 minutes).
3. Dip the Candles
Now, add the rest of the wax to the melting container and return it to the boiling water to melt (this should take at least 15 minutes, possibly closer to 30). The amount of wax you’ll need depends on the size of your container- the wider the container, the more wax. I used about 1.5 cups of grated beeswax to fill my container sufficiently.
Stir the wax with your plastic fork or chopstick to help it along, if you’d like.
Set up your drying area by placing a set of two chopsticks or a kitchen utensil (spatula, wooden spoon…) between two things of similar height (I used boxes). The utensil you use has to be wide enough to keep the pair of candles from touching each other while drying, but not too wide that it touches where the wax starts (the still-connected chopsticks were perfect!). Also, you’ll need to leave the candles to dry for 24 hours, so set this up where it won’t be disruptive to your life.
One wick at a time, take the stiff wick and bend it in half, leaving about 1/2-inch of wick between the two halves (so, you’ll actually make two bends). Be gentle with the wick and keep it very straight.
When the wax is fully melted, move the melting container to your candle-making area. Only dip one candle of the pair at a time. Dip the wick straight into the wax, hold it there for just about a second, and then pull it straight out. Don’t shake it, touch it, or anything. While that one is drying, dip the second one in the same manner. Once the candle turns from glossy to a more matte appearance (signifying drying) go ahead and dip it again, alternating between the two.
You can achieve a much more wavy, hand-made rustic look if you just do one candle at a time and dip each layer before the previous is finished drying. I like the way they turn out with the method outline above though…
I dipped each candle about 4-5 times, until it was a nice size, but not too fat.
Carefully hang the candles on your hanging device and leave them alone for 24 hours.
One final tip: I didn’t want the beeswax in my melting container to turn into a solid block in the container, so when I was done dipping the candles, I immediately poured the leftover wax onto a piece of parchment paper, so that it would dry in a big sheet that I could easily break up.
Simply use a scissors to cut the wicks apart. You don’t want or need all the wick that is still attached to each candle, so trim each one down to about 1/4-inch long.
These are definitely reusable! When testing them, mine burned for a good 30+ minutes!
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