The bayberry plant is native to the eastern portion of the United States. Also known as wax myrtle, the bush puts forth blossoms in early spring that turn into fragrant berries in the summer. These berries contain a wax suitable for candle making. If you appreciate the fragrance of bayberries and you are fortunate enough to have bayberry plants growing on your land, you can make your own bayberry candles. The process requires patience, as well as a large volume of berries — 15 pounds of the fruit yields about one pound of wax.
Things You'll Need
- Broomstick or dowel
- 2 wooden chairs
- 15 pounds of bayberries
- 2 large pans
- Slotted spoon
- Large bucket or pot of ice water
Prepare your work area by cleaning it so no dirt mixes with the wax. Decide where you will be doing your dipping, and create an area nearby for drying the candles. Place a dowel or broomstick between two wooden chairs as a drying rack for your candles. Cut your candle wicks to the length of taper candle you want to make plus another 4 inches for tying the wick to the dowel.
Place the bayberries in a large pot with water. Bring the water to boil. As the water boils, the wax from the berries will rise to the top of the pan. Skim the wax off using a slotted spoon. Place the wax you scoop out in a separate pot. Heat the wax in the second pot so it is entirely liquid. The wax has an olive green color as well as a natural sweet scent.
Dip the wick into the wax, making sure it is entirely coated except for the top 4 inches. After you dip the wick into hot wax, pull it out and dip it into the bowl of cold water so the wax will set. The first time you do this, the wick may curl up, so pull it straight again.
Continue alternating dipping the wick in hot wax and then in cold water. Dip the wick quickly in and out of the wax. It takes 30 to 40 dips to get the candle to the thickness it needs to sit in a candle holder.
Trim the bottom of the candle with a knife so it has a flat bottom that fits easily into a candle holder. Tie the top part of the wick to the dowel or broomstick to let the candle dry. Repeat the dipping and drying process for each candle.