Dipping Beeswax Candles

Every Tuesday morning, I host a knitting group for crafty parents at my house.

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The common denominator for this group is the Seattle chapter of Attachment Parenting International. I have been part of this community since Sophie was a baby; now that my children are in school, it is time for me to give something back to the parents who are new to the parenting journey. I love the mix of babies in slings, nursing toddlers and motoring pre-schoolers zooming around the house as we try to squeeze in a row or two of knitting, and a little fiber talk.

This week, our normal group took a break to create beeswax candles at Jen and Matt’s house with their boys, Cuinn and Kevan.

The first step in dipping candles is to melt the beeswax. Jen started the process at 7:30 am, estimating it would take several hours to melt. They buy large chunks of beeswax from a gentleman who sells honey by the gallon from his home in Lacey, WA; this wax is unfiltered, so it still contains chunks of pollen. Mmmmmmm. The smell is heavenly.

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Once the wax is melted, cut a piece of wick twice as long as your dipping container, with a little bit extra for holding; in our case, we cut six twelve inch pieces. Dip the wick in melted wax three times, letting it drip and cool a little in between each dip. The first time it will barely look like the wick has any wax coating. Jen recommends dipping quickly to ensure even distribution of the wax. If you leave the wick in the wax too long, the early layers will melt back into the pool.

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Jen rested a large dowel between two shelves in her kitchen doorway, next to the stove. I dipped each pair in turn, placing them on the dowel to cool after a double dip in the wax. By the time I was done with the sixth pair, the first was cool enough for another bath. After each of these early dips, straighten the wicks by hand, or roll them on a counter, as they will naturally curl and bend.

Did I mention covering the floor with newspaper? There will be plenty of drips along the way, so unless you enjoy scraping your linoleum with your fingernails, tape down a layer of newspaper.

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Periodically trim the bottom of your candles to remove the little “nipple” that develops from the drips; this will ensure that you are dipping the entire candle.

Continue dipping each pair, topping up the container as necessary to keep the level of wax right up to the brim, otherwise your candles will be much wider at the bottom than at the top.  

After an hour of dipping, I had six pairs of beautiful beeswax candles.

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I couldn’t resist including a couple of pictures of Cuinn (the elder) and Kevan (the younger), our young apprentices. These adorable boys are incredibly fortunate to grow up in a house with creative parents who have put their children foremost in their tender years. It is a joy and a pleasure to see them every week.

Thanks for hosting Jen and Matt!