Make Your Own Candles

Middle Ages Unit Study
Week 19: We made beeswax candles.

Some chandlers during the middle ages made tallow candles and others made beeswax candles. It was a highly competitive business. Tallow candles, made from animal fat were cheap and used by most people since the materials were readily available. They burned quickly, smelled like meat and were quite smoky. Beeswax candles, on the other hand, were used by the wealthy. They smelled like honey, lasted longer and were quite a bit more expensive.

We made our candles from beeswax.

First beeswax was melted in a crock pot.

 Next a candle wick was wrapped around a skewer.

 Then the wicks were repeatedly dipped into the beeswax.

During the process we learned that candles grow thicker faster by dipping quickly and waiting at least 30 seconds before dipping again. This is opposite to the natural tendency as it seems like holding the wick in the wax a longer time would make more wax stick. Instead, when the wick was left to sit in the wax, the wax melted and fell off the wick negating all previous work. In addition, when the candles were dipped before the previous dipping had time to cool and harden a little, the wax again melted off the wick back into the crock pot.

Lessons learned
- Dip quick
- Wait 30 seconds for candles to cool before re-dipping!

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  1. I'm wondering where you got the beeswax--did you order it from a supplier? Also, did the candles burn well? How fun to make and use homemade candles!

    1. It's funny you should ask that. The mom who organized this class bought beeswax candles and melted them down. The kids then made them into candles. Since we are in Germany it is sometimes difficult for us to know where to look for supplies. If we were in the states I think she would have been more successful finding beeswax.


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