I have been curious about candle making for years, but really never looked into it. I was intimidated by the supplies, the hot wax, my lack of tools, etc. After Nathan and the boys harvested our honey last fall, I finally had a ready supply of beeswax. After a little bit of research, I learned that candles can be made by using a slow cooker. This made all the difference for me! Hand-poured beeswax candles were something my girls and I could do together with jars we already had. The only things we needed were wicks (available at any craft store). In my opinion, this method is the BEST way to make candles with kids! Also, making our own candles was fun because by choosing the ingredients, we ensured the candles were non-toxic. Plus, they’ll make really cute handcrafted gifts!
We didn’t add any scent to the candles because I wanted the beeswax’s natural aroma to come through. Maybe next time, we’ll add essential oils for the aromatherapy benefits which help stimulating or relax the senses. It seems that a good ratio is 10 drops per candle that might hold about 1 cup of wax.
The simple candle-making formula (regardless of the melting method) is 4 cups wax + 1 cup oil.
Wax: I used our beeswax reserved from last year’s harvest of honey (most of the wax comes from the caps which the bees put on the completed cells of honey. The caps are cut off in order to drain out the sweet honey!) and a bag of 100% beeswax chips. There are a couple other choices of wax at the craft store such as soy wax (from soybean oil) and paraffin (from petroleum), but, of course, beeswax looks, feels, and smells delicious!
Oil: I used coconut oil. Palm oil would be great too. The oil of your choice should be a solid at room temperature. I was curious as to why oil in addition to the wax is used and found out that many candle makers will add shortening to their candles to give the candles a creamier consistency and help them to adhere to their containers. Coconut oil is a natural alternative to the shortening.
Slow Cooker and Slow Cooker Liner: It was the perfect way to melt the wax + oil without watching it carefully over the stove. It doesn’t have the danger of boiling over plus it’s hard to burn anything in a slow cooker! We did use a slow cooker liner, and when we were done using up all the wax I rolled it up and threw it away. Couldn’t have been an easier clean-up. Using a slow cooker also allows for children to help without trying to work on the stove top with a bowl of hot wax that’s melting over a boiling pot of water. Also, the process is not rushed since the slow cooker can retain its temperature for a long time (especially on the warm setting). With the stove top method, the wax will begin to harden around the edges fairly quickly once the heat is turned off.
Measuring cup with a spout: I tried using a ladle to pour the wax into the jars, but the hot wax dripped off the side of the candles. Once it cooled and hardened, I was able to scrape it off, but the spouted cup worked so much better! I did use the ladle to pour it into the measuring cup.
Jars: This is the fun part! You can use mason jars, mugs, tea cups, little crocks, anything that is heat resistant. Reusing an old candle jar is very frugal. If there’s a bit of wax that can’t burn, freeze the jar for a couple hours and the wax should pop right out or use a butter knife to pry it out.
Wicks: We bought these at our local craft store. At least 6 inches is good and trim off the extra length. If the jar is more than 2 inches in diameter, you may want to use two or three wicks so the wax melts evenly.
Hot glue gun: Eva hot glued all the wicks to the bottoms of our jars to keep them in place. It work perfectly!
Line the slow cooker (I used these) and add the wax and oil.
Turn the crock pot on low for 1-2 hours. Whenever the wax has melted, you can turn it off (melting time will depend on the amount of wax).
Hot glue (a drop of super glue or a bit of melted wax will work too) the wick bases to the bottom of the jar. Ladle the melted mixture into the measuring cup and carefully pour into the jars. If wax spills on the sides of the jar, wipe it with a paper towel immediately or allow it to dry and wash it off (dish scrubber + hot water).
Add the essential oil to each individual jar (optional).
Place all the candles out of the way and allow them to harden for an hour or two (depending on their size).
Once the wax hardens trim the wick down close to the hardened wax.
Allow candles to cure for 48 hours before burning.
with love. Damaris