Before electric lighting, people used candles to light the way. For most people, the type of candle used was made from tallow, or animal fat. For the elite and the church, beeswax was the material of choice. Today, beeswax is readily available at any hobby shop and you can easily make your own old-fashioned taper candles using the traditional method of dipping. Taper candles were the most used type of candle as they fit neatly into almost any candle holder.
Things You'll Need
- Tall empty can
- Small trivet
- Sharp knife
- Block of beeswax
Wash and clean a tall, empty vegetable can. An old asparagus can works well as it will allow you to make longer taper candles.
Place a small trivet in a medium-size saucepan. If you don’t have a trivet, invert a custard cup or small shallow bowl in the saucepan.
Place the vegetable can on the trivet and fill the saucepan 3/4 full of water. This creates a double boiler for melting the wax.
Use a sharp knife and slice thin slices of the beeswax from the block. Fill the vegetable can with the slices.
Heat the saucepan over medium-low heat until the wax is melted.
Cut candle wicks 2 inches longer than the can is in height. For example, if the can is 5 inches tall, you would cut the wicks 7 inches long.
Dip the wick quickly into the melted beeswax and pull it out in an upward motion, keeping the wick over the wax. Allow it to air dry for approximately 30 seconds.
Continue dipping the wick into the wax until the desired size taper is achieved. For a 1-inch taper candle, you may need to dip the wick 30 to 50 times for enough wax to accumulate on the candle.
Tips & Warnings
- Add more beeswax as necessary to keep enough melted wax in the can for dipping.
- Take care when working with beeswax to keep drips over the can in the saucepan. Beeswax is flammable and can cause burns.
- "The Candlemaker's Companion" by Betty Oppenheimer, 1997
- University of Delaware: Beeswax (PDF)
- Photo Credit velas image by Norberto Lauria from Fotolia.com
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