How to Make Beeswax Tapered Candles

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As my collection of wax from our bees grows each year, the options are endless as to what I can use it for. One of my favorite projects is making candles. Here’s how to make beeswax tapered candles at home.

homemade beeswax tapered candles hanging on the wall

We keep a few colonies of honeybees here on our property in Alaska. For the past five years, we have been harvesting our own honey and enjoying the bees presence around our home.

The bees give more than just honey, however. Beeswax is a special treat that we collect and it has so many uses. Homemade bath and body products, wood polish, food wraps, and much more. But probably the most popular way to use beeswax is to make candles.

There are several styles of candles that you can make at home. Tea lights, votives, and pillars of various sizes are simple to make. You can use just about anything for a container, attach a wick, and pour in the melted wax.

Tapered candles are another option but they take a little more time. I love the old-fashioned beauty of tapered candles and all you need is some wick, no container. I like to make several at a time so that I have some to display and others to use. Here are the basic steps to making your own tapered candles at home!

a homemade beeswax tapered candle

Melt the Wax

The first step is to get the wax melted. If you are using your own wax or another beekeeper’s wax that came from the bee hive, you will want to clean it first or there will be debris in your candles. You can follow the simple steps to do that in this post. If you are using purchased wax, you will be able to skip this step.

To melt the wax, you will want to set up a double broiler. Direct heat can cause the wax to scorch. I am fortunate to have a beekeeper friend who has an amazing homemade wax pot that she generously allows me to use.

It’s a double broiler with the wax holder in the center and space all around that to hold water. Then it sits on top of the wood-stove and the heat will warm the water which will melt the wax. This is a long process but I enjoy doing it how I imagine it would have been done a long time ago! This batch took over ten hours of sitting on the wood-stove before the wax was completely melted and ready for dipping.

Your set-up doesn’t have to take this long! I recommend using a countertop burner so you don’t have to worry about getting wax all over your kitchen stove and having to clean it up. Place some parchment paper under the burner so that any drippings won’t go all over your countertop. Just keep in mind how messy wax can be and difficult to clean up once hardened.

Place a large pot on the burner and set a deep, heat-proof jar or metal can in the pot. Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Chop the wax into chunks and place in the jar. Keep an eye on it while it’s melting and add more water to the pot if necessary.

Have another large jar or metal can next to the burner filled with cold water. This will be used to dip the candles in after dipping them in the wax to cool it quickly.

Prepare the Wick

You will want to purchase a good quality, thick wick. The wick I use came recommend by fellow beekeepers, #4 square braid cotton wick. I purchase it in the 75 foot rolls so that I have plenty on hand. You might not think that wick quality is important but I have learned that it is! Your candle will burn so much more efficiently with a nicer wick.

Cut the wick into 36 inch long pieces, or shorter depending on how tall you want your candles to be. The number of candles you can make will depend on how much wax you have.

Tie a metal hex nut to each end of the wick. I just borrow a few from my husband’s tool chest! These will help weight the wick down to make your candle straighter.

wick being dipped into wax

Making the Candles

Once your wax is melted, you have a jar of cold water nearby, and the wick is prepared, it’s time to make the candles!

For the first dip, hold the wick in both hands so there’s an equal amount hanging down on each side. Quickly lower the two ends all the way down into the wax and just as quickly pull them back up.

Dip both ends all the way into the water and right back up.

Take your fingers and gently tug on each hex nut to make sure that the wick is pulled straight. Gently straighten any lumps in the wax with your fingers while it is still pliable.

hands dipping wick into melted wax to make candles

Once you are satisfied with the straightness of the wick, dip it quickly, down and right back up, into the melted wax. then dip quickly again into the water. Double check to make sure the wick is straight still and that there are no lumps. If there are, simply use your fingers to gently straighten it out again. It’s easiest to do this before the candle gets too thick.

Continue to dip into the wax then the water and repeat several times until the candles are the thickness that you prefer. I averaged twelve dips when making my candles.

hands dipping wick into melted wax

Don’t worry about the build-up on the hex nuts, you will remove them later.

candles being pulled out of wax

Be sure to let any water droplets drip off before placing the candles back into the wax. You don’t want a bunch of water getting into your wax. If you notice any little water droplets on the candles, carefully dab them with your fingers or you will get little bumps in your candles.

candles being dipped into water

Once you are satisfied with the thickness of your candle, hang it up to cool off a bit. You can use hangars on cabinet handles to hang the candles from. Or tie a small rope from one spot to another, like a clothesline. We have large bolts sticking out of our logs so I just use those.

tapered candles hanging to dry

Finishing the Candles

Once they have cooled for a few minutes but are still warm, take the candles down and lay them on a flat surface. Using a knife or scissors, cut off the bottom of the candle, right above the hex nut.

the end of a candle being cut off

Use your fingers to carefully smooth out the bottom of the candles, stand them upright and press the bottom on a flat surface to make it straight. Hang them back up to continue cooling.

The end of a tapered candle being shaped

Now you can remove the hex nut from the wax to reuse it! Remove the piece of wick still attached to it and throw it away. Put the wax back into your wax pot to be melted and used again.

hex nut from end of wick being removed from cut off wax

Allow the candles to completely cool for at least 24 hours before lighting them. Now they’re all done and ready to be used or put on display! The color of you candles will vary depending on the wax you are using.

homemade beeswax tapered candles hanging on the wall

When you’re ready to light one of your candles, trim the wick down to right above where the wax stops.

Tapered candles can be difficult to measure for the correct thickness for using a candle holder. Here’s a trick!

Any dish or small container can become a candle holder. Simply light your candle, allow several drops of wax to drip off into a little puddle on your container of choice.

candle dripping wax

Then press the bottom of the candle into the melted wax. It will dry pretty quickly and the candle will be held in place!

candle being placed onto candle holder

Making beeswax tapered candles is a really enjoyable activity with a beautiful and useful result. Hang the candles for a lovely decoration and simply cut them apart when you’re ready to use them. Keep one in your car during winter in case of an emergency. Make your home so much cozier this winter with handmade candles glowing in the evenings.

A homemade beeswax candle
homemade beeswax candles hanging on the wall
homemade beeswax tapered candles hanging on the wall
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5 from 1 vote

Beeswax Tapered Candles

Prep Time1 hr
Active Time2 hrs

Equipment

  • Countertop burner
  • Large stock pot
  • 2 Large glass jars or metal cans
  • Pair of scissors or large knife

Materials

  • Beeswax, cleaned and roughly chopped into cubes
  • Good-quality wick
  • Hex nuts

Instructions

  • Fill the pot with water and place on countertop burner, bring to a simmer.
  • Place one large glass jar or metal can into the pot of water and place the wax in it. Keep the water simmering and monitor the wax while it melts.
  • While waiting, cut the wick into 36 inch long pieces and tie a hex nut to each end.
  • Fill the other glass jar or metal can with cold water and place next to the burner.
  • Once the wax is completely melted, begin dipping. Hold the wick with both hands, making sure both ends that are hanging are equal length.
  • For the first dip, quickly lower the hex nuts and wick down into the wax and quickly pull back up and out. Dip the same way into the water. Use your fingers to gently pull down on the hex nuts to make sure the wick is straight.
  • Dip quickly down and up a second time and in the water again too. Use your fingers once more to make sure the wick is straight and there are no bends in it.
  • Now continue to quickly dip the candles in the wax and then the water, going back and forth until the candles are the thickness you like, around 12 dips.
  • Hang the candles up to cool for a few minutes then take them down and, using scissors or a large knife, cut off the bottom right above the hex nut.
  • Use your fingers to gently mold the bottom of the candle and press it on a flat surface to smooth it out. Hang them back up to continue cooling.
  • Take the end that was cut off and remove the hex nut to use again. Toss the wax back into the pot to be melted and used again as well.
  • Continue making candles depending on how much wax you have. Allow to cool for at least 24 hours before lighting.
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10 Comments

  1. I love beeswax candles! This is such a good tutorial on how to make them yourself. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try this myself.

  2. 5 stars
    There is nothing better than beeswax candles and I have always been wanting to make my own tapers. Thank you for this super helpful post – now I don’t have any excuses any more 😉

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