Monday, November 8, 2010

Candle Experiments

We preppers are always on the lookout for things we can do for ourselves.  We milk cows, grow gardens, make cheese, split wood, go off-grid, grind grain and make anything we can think of.

Many years ago, I tried my hand at candlemaking.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am the anti-crafter.  I don't have the patience to make Readers Digest Christmas Angles or Styrofoam wreaths, but I love making useful things.  I love the feeling of accomplishment when I can or make cheese or make soap.

My first candle experience was wonderful, but I had less than desirable results.  I made hand-dipped beeswax and tallow candles, but they were too soft and dripped terribly.  I have been able to make 100% beeswax candles that are wonderful, but beeswax is very expensive and I really wanted to be able to give candles away for Christmas.

My beautiful 12 place, antique taper mold!

I am on a mission!  I am going to try various beeswax, tallow and alum combinations until I come up with the perfect candle.

My first attempt was 1oz. beeswax to 2ozs. tallow to .5oz. alum (bought in the spice aisle of your grocery store - it is a hardening agent).  I first combined the alum with enough hot water to dissolve the crystals.  Then I combined the beeswax, tallow and alum in a microwave safe bowl, melted the ingredients and poured them into my taper mold.

Weighing the tallow
So far, the candle is burning well, very little dripping and a very good flame.  It really is not fair to test a candle right after making it, as they will harden with time, but I thought I would put it to the acid test.  I'll keep you posted on this recipe and let you know if this is the one!

Pouring wax into the mold

Holding the wick in place


  1. Where do you get our tallow? I have about 20 pounds of beeswax, but never thought of combining it with anything else to make it stretch. I need to make some candles for our Christmas "journey". I need 25 candles. I have less than half of what I need. My first attempt was hand dipping, they turned out really well. I would love to get some molds like you have though. Those look great. I look forward to hearing how it does after completely hardening.

  2. Love that candle mold. That's a nice candle-making aid.

    When I was a child, my mother would melt down the nubs of crayons and make candles with them. I don't remember if they dripped or smelled funny or had a long burn-time, but I know my mother was always trying to make the most of whatever she had. She was not a crafter, either, but like you, she was a very savvy re-purposer. My father was, too, in his own ways. They were young adults during the Great Depression, so they knew that a penny saved was a penny earned.

    Yes, please do let us know how your candle recipe works. It could be another entry for your cookbook. I'm serious!

    NoCal Gal

  3. I found a candle making mold that "looks" just like yours, but I am wondering if the light weight of it (it feels like aluminum) is right for an antique, or should I expect that it's a modern reproduction? The price is rather dear, and I don't want to be taken in.

    Is yours a lightweight metal? Or, is it something more substantial? Please let me know.