If you ever thought candle making was fairly new to the human race, you need to browse through a few pages of history. A form of art born out of necessity in around 200 BC, candle making has now turned into a passionate way of expression for many. One of the earliest types of wax for candle making, beeswax was a discovery that changed the meaning of the candle and its glow completely. It was this very natural wax, a by-product of honey, that led mankind to say good-bye to the odorous and smoky flames of tallow and introduced a clean source of illumination accompanied by the sweet natural fragrance of honey.
The historic importance of beeswax candles date back to the 6th-7th century AD. Beeswax was not only recommended for Easter or Paschal candles but was also preferred to make candles for the Roman Catholic Church rituals. The Orthodox Church also favored candles made from beeswax. Beeswax is also known for its great impact on the environment as the candles draw toxins out of the air with the help of negative ions that the candle release while burning. The negative ion theory has also been effectively utilized through technology used in various water filters and air purifier. Due to its green and eco-friendly merits, beeswax is one of the preferred types amongst chandlers.
Beeswax is produced in the honey-making process when the bees excrete the wax into combs for the lubrication of their larvae. Since honey is an integral element in the process of wax creation, it has a lovely sweet fragrance which varies slightly depending on the plants or flowers the bees have fed on. After harvesting it from the beehive, melting and filtering takes place several times to finally derive beeswax which can be used in candle-making. About 150,000 bees are needed to produce approximately ten pounds of honey, from which one pound of beeswax is produced. Due to production beeswax is more expensive than any other type of wax.
Primary Uses of Beeswax in Candle Making:
Beeswax can be used in making all types of candles including pillars, container candles, and votives. It is a sticky and heavy wax, and works best for molded creations. Easy to manipulate and suitable for all types of applications, beeswax is available as slabs, pastilles and even in pre-rolled sheets to make candles without even melting it. Working with the raw beeswax to create candles can be a little time-consuming as it requires filtering, but the pre-made sheets of beeswax are the easiest way to give your candle dreams a shape. All you need to do is place a wick on the beeswax sheet and roll it up and before long you will be holding a homemade candle created by none other than yourself.
Different Types of Beeswax and Melting Points:
Raw Beeswax: Available from beekeepers and in stores, raw beeswax is the unfiltered and most natural form of beeswax that contains impurities and small particles. As mentioned before, the color and scent depend on the types of pollen taken by the bees. The color can be anything from pale yellow or dark brown and the fragrance can also vary from delicate to overpowering. You can use raw beeswax for making candles after filtering them at home while keeping their natural elements intact and also without the use of additives.
Filtered Beeswax: Beeswax goes through several types of filtering from light to heavy. While light filtering only eliminates minor impurities and retains the fragrance, heavy filtering can remove the natural scent of the beeswax completely. The fragrance throw of the candle is also affected by the severity of filtering process.
Bleached Beeswax: Also known as ivory or white beeswax, bleached beeswax is left colorless and odorless after chemical treatment. This beeswax is ideal to create candles in various colors and fragrance.
Blended Beeswax: Beeswax is also available in the blended form for better brightness and long life of the candle. Paraffin is the most preferred wax to blend with beeswax.
Compared to other natural waxes, beeswax has a greater melting point of 146 F (62 C) leading to a great, long-lasting performance of the candle. The high melt point may have an adverse effect on the burning of a container candle made from pure beeswax and the majority of the wax may stick to the sides of the container after burning straight down to the bottom of the wick. Beeswax blended with low melt point Paraffin can help reduce this issue.
Maximum Recommended Fragrance Capacity:
Since, beeswax has its own fragrance which can be diluted or exaggerated by the fragrance or essential oil, it’s better to leave it without additives. This renewable candle wax is also known to hold an impressive amount of fragrance but is not that great in throwing the fragrance. You will have to experiment with fragrance to find the perfect throw. Until you find the desired results, stick to the minimal load of 6% as a basic rule for other types of wax as well.
Like every other form of art, practice makes your candles perfect. Therefore, don’t hesitate to make mistakes, learn from them and keep trying until you find your perfect candles to spread the cheerful glow handcrafted by you.