Before I had this blog, I had a little craft blog. I haven’t kept up on that craft blog but I wanted to move some of my favorite posts over here and share some of our new favorites. Healthy living easily extends to the activities we do with our children and what they play with. These crafts are fun to do with our older children.
I don’t do many crafts any more, I’ve become somewhat of a minimalist on our special needs journey (less stuff = less cleaning/organizing/things to have to say no to) but we do love burning candles in the evenings, and truly natural candles are expensive so this was a project worth figuring out.
What are healthy candles?
Because candles are literally being burned into the air we breathe, it’s important to choose natural materials so we are not adding to the pollution already in our environment. Paraffin is the less expensive, though toxic, material used in most candles (source). And fragrance oil is added, which also is made of chemicals and adds toxins to the air inside our house.
Candles are something that’s nice, but not necessary, so I would recommend only making a habit of burning them if you know they are all natural.
Soy candles (made from non GMO soy- we don’t want to be supporting GMOs) would be okay, but I didn’t have access to soy, I love the smell of beeswax, and I also already had a gallon of palm oil in my pantry.
50% palm, 50% beeswax
I did an experiment making three different candles to test using 100% palm oil/shortening, half palm and half beeswax, and 100% beeswax. The beeswax candle split and I was told that they burn hot. The palm oil burned well (which I thought was cool!) but was too soft so the wick started floating toward the edge of the jar, which might cause the jar to crack, but the palm/beeswax worked well! The palm oil helps lower the cost for the project too, which is always helpful ~smile~
The cost of healthy candles
The price difference between paraffin candles and natural candles sold in stores is high. Making your own brings them down to ‘reasonable’ for most people, though homemade beeswax candles still cost more than paraffin. This project in total cost me about $15 and made enough for 5 six-ounce candles; $3/candle compared to the $8-$12 I see them selling for in stores.
How To Make Palm Oil and Beeswax Candles
You will need:
- 1 pound pure beeswax I got mine from a farm supply store for 7.99. It’s available a little more expensively on Amazon, and you may be able to find it from a beekeeper
- 2 cups palm oil/shortening (found here)
- 5-6 pint canning jars (found here, or at hardware or grocery stores)
- 2 yards wick- I used #2 and it works well with the pint jars linked to above. Wick is available at craft shops, I got mine at the same farm supply store that I got my wax at. I’m sure someone with more candle making experience can explain what size works best and why, but for now I know this worked ~smile~
- 4+ cup ovenproof container for melting wax and oil in, I used a large Pyrex measuring cup
- Pencil or dowel to tie the wick to, this will keep it from slipping into the melted wax as it sets up
- Essential oil as desired to scent. I used a few drops of cedar in one candle and couldn’t smell it at all, so I left the rest plain. Again, I’m sure someone with more experience can weigh in on scenting with essential oils
- Stand your beeswax block up in the oven proof container, and melt in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until completely melted. Add palm oil/shortening and return to oven for 10 minutes, the palm melts much faster.
- As the wax is melting, cut wick about 2 inches taller than the containers you are using, and tie one end around a pencil or dowel.
- Center the wicks over the jars, as shown.
- Once the wax has melted, pour a little (1/4 inch) in the bottom of each jar, and use the eraser end of a pencil to secure the wick in the bottom center as the wax starts to harden. If the wick is curling up, use your fingers to smooth a little wax along the wick to help make it more stiff.
- Once the bottom part of the wax has set up, fill the jars as desired. If the wick floats up, again use the pencil eraser end to get it to stick down in the bottom again.
- Allow to set up for a few hours or overnight. Slide the pencil out of the wick loops, untie, or clip with small scissors. Clip wick to 1/4 inch before lighting. Enjoy!
*as always, never leave candles unattended and use safety precautions around fire and hot wax.