I have always loved candles, but when I found out that burning paraffin candles can cause respiratory problems, I knew that I had to figure out an alternative. My research turned up beeswax and palm wax as the most eco friendly alternatives to paraffin candles. They are made from sustainable ingredients and burn more cleanly without creating the chemical-rich smoke and soot synonymous with paraffin. Beeswax and palm wax also burn more slowly than paraffin.
The Decision To Make Rather Than Buy
After researching these alternatives I bought a few palm wax and beeswax candles and really enjoyed the freshness in the air, the easy clean-up, and the longer burn time. While I was excited to support companies that produce eco-friendly products, I also enjoyed imbuing my home with my own creative flairs. I decided to make my own eco friendly candles. The next step was to decide which wax to use.
Beeswax or Palm Wax
When I weighed the benefits of beeswax and palm candles, I decided to make my first eco friendly candle out of beeswax. They both burn slowly and cleanly and are touted as being easy to work with, but beeswax has a longer historical record of use and requires less processing to create than palm wax.
There has also been some recent controversy over whether or not the palm oil that palm wax is derived from is sustainably harvested, regardless of measures that are being implemented to promote the sustainable harvesting of palm oil. Beeswax is a natural byproduct of honey extraction.
I knew from my research that I had to find a source that sold 100% natural beeswax since some manufacturers mix paraffin or other fillers into the beeswax. Another concern was finding a source for natural wicks. After finding my beeswax, I researched wicks. I decided to use 100% hemp wicks instead of 100% cotton wicks mostly because it was easier to find hemp wicks without a toxic lead or zinc core. I also read that the burning temperature of hemp wicks works better with beeswax because of the high melting point of beeswax.
Once I sourced my beeswax and my hemp wicks I was ready to start making candles. I gathered together a few sheets of newspaper, some clean glass jars from the recycle bin, and two pots to make a double boiler. The smaller pot nested inside the bigger pot so that the bottom of the smaller one would just touch the water line in the bigger one.
Before melting my beeswax, I cut it into smaller pieces for quicker melting and also cut my hemp wicks into the lengths I wanted. I sized the wicks to fit into the various sizes of jars I had chosen to make into container candles with a couple extra inches on top that I could safely hold while pouring. Then I laid out some newspaper and put the beeswax into the double boiler to coat the wicks.
After the coated wicks dried on top of the newspaper, I held them centered in the jars so that they touched the bottom and so that my hand was well out of the way of the hot wax I was pouring inside. After the beeswax dried I trimmed the wicks and had a plethora of beautiful jarred container candles to enjoy and give away as gifts.
I decided not to add any candle fragrances or colors when I made my first eco friendly candle. Beeswax candles have their own pleasant fragrance and color. I am looking forward to finding some organic candle scents and natural candle dyes to liven up my candle selection without emitting other harmful chemicals. There are also some other methods of dipping and molding beeswax candles that I would like to try. In the meantime, my cheerful jars of beeswax burn bright and clean and I can breathe easy knowing they are safe and sustainable.
This post was written by Sashka. She writes about lifestyle, home decorating, fashion and she loves everything nature related. This post was inspired by candle making ideas.