Have you ever wondered what candles are made from? What they’re burning and what you’re inhaling?
Conventional candle wax is made from paraffin and derived from fossil fuels. Yep, they’re basically petrol made solid. Should we be inhaling burning petrol? When candles burn they release the chemicals benzene and toluene which are endocrine disrupters (aka hormone imbalancers) among their other harmful effects. This is not even mentioning scented candles which is also contain phthalates – a super hormone-harming chemical.
I’ve finally got it together to attempt making my own beeswax candles. There are few places in Cape Town you can buy beeswax but I get it from the HoneyBee Foundation which we have been going to for honey since I was a child. They support sustainable bee-farming, education and creating livelihoods. Beeswax is around R300 to R350 per kilo. I have been looking for beeswax pellets but haven’t found any – cutting up a big block of pure wax isn’t exactly easy – but the only ones I have found contain only partial beeswax and are mostly paraffin. Be vigilant everywhere you look!
It was actually super easy to make my own beeswax candles.
You will need:
Unrefined coconut oil
Natural fibre string (I used jute)
Old jars, shot glasses or glass tealight holders
A clean old can for melting your wax in
A pot with hot water
Melt the wax with the coconut oil (ratio is about 4:1, e.g. 160g of beeswax: 40g coconut oil) in the can in a pot of boiling water. Make sure the water is low enough so it doesn’t come in to the can but high enough to melt your wax quickly.
Once the wax is melted, dip your string in the wax to coat it and set it aside to cool (once it had cooled slightly but not hard, I rolled it in my fingers to make it smooth)
Pour a little of the melted wax into your container and put in the wick.
Once that bit is solid, pour a little more in and repeat until your container is full (leave a little space at the top!)
If you pour too much wax in too quickly it will melt the bottom layer and your wick could come loose, so be patient!
Enjoy your candles in a lovely ritual. If you try this method, please let me know how it goes!