How to Make Easy Beeswax Candles: Step by Step Tutorial

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If you love the warm, flickering glow of candles, you’ll love having a stash of homemade beeswax candles to use any time. They’re so warm and cozy and they make wonderful gifts! Learn how to make beeswax candles the easy way in this step-by-step guide!

jar of beeswax mason jar candle on cotton with dried orange and lavender.

I think everyone should know how to make their own candles. They’re so much cheaper than the candles at the store, and the warm glow of the beeswax is so enticing!

I first started making my own candles a few years ago to escape the fragrances. I’m sensitive to fragrance, but I love candles. This meant either forking over heaps of cash for expensive candles from a local beekeeper or compromising on quality.

Fortunately, I already had beeswax on hand for making lip balms, salves, and lotions, so I just ordered some wick cotton and gave it a go! Now, I make homemade candles 2-3 times per year and have found some handy tips that really simplify the process.

Want to make your own handmade products this year? Start simple with this delicious vanilla sugar scrub or my lavender salt scrub. You might also like this herbal bath salt recipe or this beeswax lotion bar tutorial!

What are beeswax candles?

Beeswax is a very traditional product to use for candlemaking. Beeswax candles are made by melting beeswax and pouring it into a glass jar prefilled with a cotton wick.

There are so many different variations of beeswax candles, from hand-dripped tapers to tea lights and even molded candles, but they all start with the same basic supplies!

This beeswax candle recipe can either be made with just beeswax or a combination of beeswax and coconut oil. I find that the coconut oil really helps the candles set nicely, and they burn really smoothly. It can also make them a little cheaper, as beeswax tends to get expensive!

Whether you want to make your candles with just beeswax or try this coconut oil version, you’ll find all the tips you need below. 

Why you’ll love making your own beeswax candles


  • Fun to make – I have an annual tradition of making candles on the winter solstice. It feels like such a nice tradition to make something that will bring light on the darkest day of the year. It’s also a fun activity and I love seeing the wax setting up in the jars!
  • Customizable – From changing the container size to adding scents, there are many ways to make these candles your own. They also make great gifts, especially for the holidays. Just add a little twine and some dried orange slices or cinnamon for a beautiful gift.
  • Fragrance free – If you’re sensitive to fragrance like me, you’ll appreciate the mild, natural honey scent from the beeswax. They smell wonderful exactly on their own without a single drop of fragrance! 
  • Healthy alternative – It’s really important to avoid paraffin candles, which can release as much pollution as diesel engines into your home! Beeswax candles may even improve indoor air quality (although I’m a little skeptical about that).

Equipment

To make your own homemade candles for the first time, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. 

  • Double boiler (medium saucepan and a metal container, preferably a wax melting pitcher)
  • Wick stickers (optional; can also use a glue gun or a little melted wax)
  • Wicks (or cotton wick thread)
  • Bamboo skewers (or wick holders)
  • Parchment paper or newspaper
  • Glass jars, candle tins, or molds (I used these amber glass candle jars)
image of beeswax coconut oil candle with dried eucalyptus.

Ingredients for Making Beeswax Candles

  • Beeswax – You can either use whole blocks of beeswax from a local farmer or beeswax pellets. Make sure it is pure, unadulterated beeswax. I prefer to use beeswax pellets for easy measuring and pouring.
  • Coconut oil (optional) – This is entirely optional, but I’ve had good results making candles with half beeswax and half coconut oil. This also helps make the beeswax go a little further and I get less tunneling this way too.

Why add coconut oil to beeswax candles?

I first started adding coconut oil this year because I heard it could help with a few factors. Prior to this, I’d only ever made pure beeswax candles.

Basically, the coconut oil has a few positives:

  • Easier to melt – Since the coconut oil melts at such a low temperature, your wax will melt more smoothly and evenly.
  • Cheaper – Since beeswax is quite expensive, it can be a lot cheaper to supplement it with coconut oil.
  • Less tunneling – Tunneling is when your wax cracks or forms holes after pouring. I tested three different ratios side-by-side and the candles with coconut oil had much less tunneling. The next best option was just plain beeswax!

How to Make Beeswax Candles with Coconut Oil

Melt the wax

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 2-3 inches of water. Set a metal bowl or wax melting pitcher (preferred) into the water. Place the pan with the bowl on the stove and set it over medium heat
  2. Measure out the beeswax and coconut oil (optional) and add it to the metal bowl.

Prepare the jars

  1. Arrange the jars over a sheet or parchment paper or newspaper for easy cleanup.
  2. While the wax is melting, prepare the jars. Use either glue or wick stickers to attach the wick to the center of the mason jars.

Pour

  1. Once the wax is fully melted, carefully pour it into the candle jars. I prefer to use a metal funnel for this as it can be messy.
  2. Hold the wicks up nice and straight, then press two wooden skewers on either side of the wick to hold it in place.
  3. Allow the candles to firm up completely for at least 12-24 hours without moving them at all.
  4. If you notice any tunneling or cracking, add a small amount of extra melted wax on top to cap it.
  5. Once the candles are fully set, either light one up or close up the jars for storage.

Troubleshooting Beeswax Candles

There’s some fancy candle making math about the number of wicks to use per candle. I’m just a home candlemaker, so I’ve never needed to really dig into these details.

If you light your wick and find that the corners or edges are not melting in, your candle jar might be a bit too large. I usually use one wick for half-pint jars and pint jars (regular or wide mouth), and they melt really well.

According to Lone Star Candle Supply, you need one wick for every 3 square inches of container. I recently tried making a 4-inch square candle, and it only melted from the center. If you’re only using smaller containers that are 3 inches or less in diameter, you just need one wick!

This typically comes from the jars setting too fast. Your workspace is likely too cool. It’s best to work in a slightly warm space, so consider turning on the oven or increasing the heat of the room a little bit.

If the wax just cracks on top, you can also add a little extra wax to fill the cracks or use a heat gun to remelt the surface. The beeswax will still burn well, so this isn’t a big issue if you’re making candles for home use.

The worst part of making these DIY beeswax candles is the cleanup! Once the wax sets, it becomes hard and a little bit sticky. It’s notoriously hard to clean up.

Fortunately, the coconut oil actually helps with the clean up. I spilled an entire bowl of the beeswax and coconut oil mixture down the cabinets of my kitchen island and was dreading the clean up. I was able to use a little plastic dish scraper to pull it all up and the rest wiped up easily with a hot kitchen towel.

The best tip to remember is that beeswax melts under boiling water. This is why I only recommend using only stainless steel bowls and funnels. You can easily pour boiling water over them, then wipe away the excess beeswax with a paper towel or newspaper. We don’t normally use paper towels, but they’re great for tasks like this! 

jar of diy beeswax candle in a vintage cupboard.

Handmade Holiday Gifts

Whether you’re filling a stocking or looking for a sweet housewarming gift, these projects & recipes make great gifts!

Tips & Variations

  • Be careful. It’s much easier to use a wax melting pitcher as you can control the flow of the wax, and you won’t have to lift a hot metal bowl out of your pan.
  • Use real beeswax. You’d be shocked to know how many common ingredients available online aren’t real. I try to only use real beeswax from the US to avoid Chinese beeswax specifically. I’ve purchased this brand several times and find it very easy to work with. Make sure your beeswax smells like honey! 
  • Get the right size wick. Beeswax melts at a higher temperature than other candle waxes, so you need a wick that’s made for beeswax candles. Most wick brands will say that on their listing. I use this brand of organic hemp wicks and have been happy with how well the candles melt.
  • Avoid direct heat. Beeswax burns at 400 degrees F. It can be extremely dangerous to melt heat directly on the stove or in the oven. I always recommend using the double boiler method to stay safe.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. We all know this, but it’s a good reminder. I always make sure I light my candles far out of the reach of anything that could catch fire and I blow them out if I’m leaving the room for more than just a second. Be extra mindful of critters and kids (my cat has come dangerously close to candles before). 
  • Use heat-safe containers. Although it’s tempting to make candles in whatever cute jars or containers you can find, that’s not safe. You need a heat-safe container that will not shatter or break. Since mason jars are made to be heated at a high temperature, they’re a pretty reliable option. You can also find jars made specifically for candle making online or in some craft stores.
  • Add essential oils. You can certainly add essential oils or fragrance oils if you prefer scented candles. I never have, so I don’t have personal experience with the quantity or process.
how to make beeswax candle pin.

FAQs

How can you make candles without buying wick holders?

For years, I wanted to make beeswax candles but I didn’t want to splurge on fancy supplies online. I found a way to make beeswax candles without wicks that worked well, but it is a bit more time-consuming!

Instead of buying the wicks with the metal feet, I bought a coil of #6 cotton wick thread. I then dipped this in melted beeswax and let it cool on parchment paper. To anchor it in each jar, I added a small amount of beeswax (about 1/2) and then placed one end of the wick in the center of the wax. I twisted the other end around a skewer and set it over the top of the jar. This held the wick in place while the wax hardened.

Although this method works, it is a bit trickier and it takes longer.

Can you add dried oranges and cinnamon sticks to candles?

A few months ago, I made a batch of candles with the hope of turning them into the most beautiful holiday gift! I made a bunch of dried orange slices and bought a pack of cinnamon sticks and cloves. As I sprinkled these items throughout the candles, I was sure they’d be the most beautiful, perfect decoration for the holidays.

However, I quickly realized that they catch on fire! It is absolutely not safe to add anything to your candle wax as it can catch on fire. There are people who sell candles like this online, but it’s not a good idea.

The only exception I’ve found is if you use a large candle container and place the cinnamon sticks, etc as far from the wick as possible (directly next to the glass). The wax should not melt in this area, so they should be okay. However, this makes things complicated! It’s much easier to just tie the decorations to the outside of your jar for a much safer gift. 

What size wick do you need for mason jars?

I almost always make candles out of pint and half-pint mason jars and use these organic hemp candle wicks. When I made my own wicks, I used #6 square-braid cotton candle wicks as that size is wide enough to melt beeswax. Beeswax melts at a higher temperature than soy wax candles, so you need a thick enough wick to produce enough heat quickly. 

Related Recipes

amber glass jar of beeswax candle tied with twine.
image of beeswax coconut oil candle with dried eucalyptus.

Homemade Beeswax Candles

If you love the warm, flickering glow of candles, you'll love having a stash of homemade beeswax candles to use any time. They're so warm and cozy and they make wonderful gifts! Learn how to make beeswax candles with coconut oil (or pure beeswax candles if you prefer) for a beautiful glow any time of year.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Drying Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 35 minutes
Servings 2 8 oz candles

Equipment

  • Double boiler (medium saucepan and a metal container)
  • Wick stickers (optional; can also use a glue gun or a little melted wax)
  • Wicks (or cotton wick fabric)
  • Bamboo skewers (or wick holders)
  • Parchment paper (or newspaper)
  • Glass jars, candle tins, or molds
  • kitchen scale optional

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz beeswax, (or 16 oz for pure beeswax candles)
  • 8 oz coconut oil, (optional)

Instructions
 

Melt the Wax

  • Fill a medium saucepan with 2-3 inches of water. Set a metal bowl or wax melting pitcher into the water. Place the pan with the bowl on the stove and set it over medium heat
  • Measure out the beeswax and coconut oil (optional) and add it to the metal bowl.

Prepare the Jars

  • Arrange the jars over a sheet or parchment paper or newspaper for easy cleanup.
  • While the wax is melting, prepare the jars. Use either glue or wick stickers to attach the wick to the center of the mason jars.

Pour

  • Once the wax is fully melted, carefully pour it into the candle jars. I prefer to use a metal funnel for this as it can be messy.
  • Hold the wicks up nice and straight, then press two wooden skewers on either side of the wick to hold it in place.
  • Allow the candles to firm up completely without moving them at all.
  • If you notice any tunneling or cracking, add a small amount of extra melted wax on top to cap it.
  • Once the candles are fully set, either light one up or close up the jars for storage.

Notes

For more tips and troubleshooting, visit the beeswax candle guide on Milk Glass Home. 
  • Use real beeswax. You’d be shocked to know how many common ingredients available online aren’t real. I try to only use real beeswax from the US to avoid Chinese beeswax specifically. I’ve purchased this brand several times and find it very easy to work with. Make sure your beeswax smells like honey! 
  • Get the right size wick. Beeswax melts at a higher temperature than other candle waxes, so you need a wick that’s made for beeswax candles. Most wick brands will say that on their listing. I use this brand of organic hemp wicks and have been happy with how well the candles melt.
  • Avoid direct heat. Beeswax burns at 400 degrees F. It can be extremely dangerous to melt heat directly on the stove or in the oven. I always recommend using the double boiler method to stay safe.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. We all know this, but it’s a good reminder. I always make sure I light my candles far out of the reach of anything that could catch fire and I blow them out if I’m leaving the room for more than just a second. Be extra mindful of critters and kids (my cat has come dangerously close to candles before). 
  • Use heat-safe containers. Although it’s tempting to make candles in whatever cute jars or containers you can find, that’s not safe. You need a heat-safe container that will not shatter or break. Since mason jars are made to be heated at a high temperature, they’re a pretty reliable option. You can also find jars made specifically for candle making online or in some craft stores.
Keyword diy beeswax candle, diy mason jar candles, how to make beeswax candles with coconut oil
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these candles (more or less because I never measure 😉 ) and it turned out so well! Adding the coconut oil is a game changer for me; JUST bees wax was too expensive for me in the past so this makes it affordable. Definitely get the right size wick; I had hemp wicks sitting around that ended up being too small so I had to re-make my first candle. So glad I saw this post on FB – thank you!

    1. Rose, I’m so glad the coconut oil tip was helpful! I put off making beeswax candles for a long time due to the cost, so hopefully this makes it more affordable for other people too. I appreciate the note about the wick size!

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