Sharing my passion for handcrafted jewelry, paper making, and living a creative life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

One a Day in May - Day 8 - Hand Dipped Candles Tutorial

I had great plans for everything I was going to accomplish today,.  Oh well, it was Mother's Day so I'll give myself a break.  I did manage to hand dip a dozen pairs of beeswax candles at 26 dips a pair. Blogger isn't letting me download pictures tonight so I'll finish posting tomorrow.

The beeswax smells heavenly!
 It's not difficult to make hand dipped candles but it is somewhat tedious.  Here's my method.

I like to use pure beeswax for my hand dipped candles.  It smells great, burns beautifully, and people who are sensitive to the smoke from paraffin don't seem to experience the same problems with beeswax candles.

Materials and supplies
A large pot to use as a water bath.  Keep for candle dipping only.
Two cans to melt the wax in.  Olive oil cans work well.
About 10 pounds of pure beeswax.  You need extra to keep topping up the dipping can.
Flat braid wick.  I use #12 normally but it depends on what I can get.  The amount depends on how many pairs of candles you are dipping and the length which will be limited by the height of your dipping can.  Calculate the length of two finished candles plus about 3 inches for the exposed wick.  Cut to size.  (I usually dip about a dozen pairs in a session).
A dowel (broom handle works) extended between two stations to hang the dipped candles between dips.
About 1/2 metre waxed butcher wrap or other non stick surface.

1.  Melt the wax in the two cans in the water bath.  The dipping can should be filled almost to the top with melted wax.  Just keep adding wax chunks as it melts to fill it.  The second can will be used to keep melted wax to top up the dipping can.

2.  Fold your length of wick over in the middle and grasp it lightly at the fold.

3.  Dip into the melted wax, leaving the top exposed, as shown.

4.  Carefully drape over the dowel.  Continue with each pair of candles. 

5.  Repeat steps 3 and 4 for about 10 dips.

6.  At this point, you will find that your candles are a little 'wonky' so I individually roll each pair back and forth gently on a non-stick surface to straighten them and I also trim off the bottoms that extend past the wick.  If you don't do this then eventually they'll be too long to submerse completely in the wax in your can.  After straightening each pair, hang them and do the next pair before going back to the beginning to start dipping again.  I do this again after the 20th dip.

6. Continue steps 3 and 4 until candles are the desired thickness.  I usually find that between 25 and 30 dips is a nice size and each pair weighs about 1/4 pound.  You will still have lots of wax left when you're done that you can add to for the next session.

7.  You will notice that the beeswax darkens as it cools.  It's best to let candles cure for a couple of weeks before using them as they will burn longer.

Note:  candles drip less if they are not exposed to a draft.  You can also colour your wax with chips made especially for dying wax.


  1. So cool Liz, I can almost smell the wonderful scent of beeswax as I'm reading!! That is a lot of work...

  2. The candles look AMAZING and I'm sure the natural beeswax makes a real difference. So cool to see the behind the scenes shots!


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