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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

In Which I TRY to Make Candles

I have a book on candlemaking that I've had since the fifth grade which was the first and last time I tried on my own to make candles. I took a class in beekeeping at the John Campbell Folk School. Virginia Webb taught the class. In between learning about the bees, we made candles, but I never had to wick the candle molds.

My wonderful daughter, Valerie, gave me a rubber mold for votive candles two Christmases ago and I haven't ever used it (I'm a little cowed by it). Today I got it out to make the effort. I tried and tried but couldn't for the life of me get the wick to go in the tiny holes punched in the bottom of the candle mold.

I called my friend Martha Kiefer, Georgia's 2007 beekeeper of the year. Martha makes gorgeous candles. Martha said to use a yarn or upholstery needle to thread the wick into the mold. Martha also advised me to wax the wicking. I was melting wax for my wax block so it was no big deal to add wicking to the leftover melted wax.

The waxed wick easily threaded through the eye of the yarn needle.


Then I poked the needle into the hole in the bottom of the candle mold.


I melted some of my lovely solar melter wax and look what I got as a result! I only made these four but now at least I know how to do it.

Then, feeling my oats and feeling quite inspired, I thought why not make dipped tapers. The examples below illustrate exactly why not. This was my first attempt. I can't wait and do plan to melt these back to liquid and try again.

The problem is that as I dipped the taper, a drip started lengthening on the bottom of the taper, thus making it harder to dip the taper as deep as I would like. There's got to be a way to avoid the candle growing in that direction.

I'll check the Internet and try these again. It was fun, just the end result isn't the lovely taper I was expecting!
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2 comments:

  1. Isn't making candles fun? I buy my beeswax from a local apiary, and throughly enjoy making them. I've found some GREAT silicone molds on eBay. I think this one is my favorite so far - you can see it here: http://fan.eclectic-circle.net/Other/Pics/vine-pillar-candle-sm.jpg

    I may have to go do some more this weekend while it's cool. A friend came into my studio where I did the pour and said "wow, it smells wonderfully sweet and homey in here!"

    Thanks for continuing to share your adventures in beekeeping with us.

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  2. You can trim back the dripped section so that you can continue to dip them as deeply. You can also roll them on the counter to help and keep them strait. At least that's what I got out of this blog post: http://kneek.wordpress.com/2007/01/31/beeswax-candles/

    Also I stumbled upon your blog though a google search.

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