Rolled Beeswax Candles

rolled beeswax candles on parchment paper

Most people who know me, know I love making scented candles though I have never made natural beeswax candles. After researching, I decided to try my hand at making probably the easiest type: rolled beeswax candles. Apparently these types of unfragranced candle impart the natural and gentle scent of honey.

Being a very hard wax, beeswax candles are supposed to burn extremely slowly, about 3-5 x slower than other natural waxes. They are also thought to have a very clean burn, meaning they do not tend to soot. After burning a few, I can say this is true.

Rolled beeswax candles are made with sheets of honeycomb embossed wax that is normally used to line ‘brood boxes’ of the beehive. For anyone that doesn’t know, the brood box is the area in the beehive where the queen lays her eggs, or her brood. These wax sheets are used to give the a good foundation or guide to build their hive, hence the common name given to them: foundation sheets.

For this tutorial I make two different size candles using wax foundation sheets from different sources of beeswax, one is a light colour and scent and the other is a rich orange with a deep honey scent.

To wick the candle, I used two different sizes of wick as each candle was of a different circumference and the size of wick is always determined by the diameter; a larger diameter will need a larger size wick than a smaller one.

The Short and Stout Candle

To make the candle the following equipment is needed:

  • Square braided wicks size 4.0

  • Beeswax foundation sheets

  • 2, 13 x 15 cm sheets of beeswax, cut in half. You only need 3 halfs to roll the candle.

  • Cutting board, ruler and a knife

  • extra beeswax for waxing the wick

  • Bain marie

Preparing your Foundation Sheets

The sheets I used for this were not the national standard size of 34.5cm x 20.5cm. They were 13 cm x 15 cm. To make my candle short and stout I simply folded along the 15cm side so that the rectangle was 13 cm x 7.5cm. If you do not have the same size wax sheet as me, simply measure along the length of your sheet so that you have 7.5 x 20.5cm rectangles and when it comes to rolling, you can just stop when the candle is 1.5 inches in diameter.

You need to work in a warm room, so that the wax is pliable. If it is too cold the wax will not roll and will likely split. If your wax is too cold you may want to run a warm hairdryer over it to make it soft and malleable.

Gather your materials.

Gather your materials.

Measuring the wax.

Measuring the wax.

Fold or cut the wax sheet in half.

Fold or cut the wax sheet in half.

Wicking

When making candles, the wick size is important. When lit, it should allow for enough heat to melt the wax, draw it up the wick, thus providing fuel to keep the candle wick alight. Any wax that drips down the sides is wasted as it doesn’t provide energy for the wick. I used a size 4.0 square braided wick which works with candles that are up to 1.5 inches in diameter.

Some people like to use raw wick (not wax treated), however, I chose to cut and dip the wicks in beeswax beforehand. I found this easier than using untreated wicks as it added more stability and rigidity to the wick which greatly helped when it came to rolling.

To prepare my wick, I simply measured the wick by holding it along the width of the wax (see below) and cut it approximately 1 inch above the intended length of the candle. Once dipped, I straightened it on some waxed baking sheets and left to cool and harden. Make sure that you squeeze out the air from the wick wick after dipping.

Measure the Wick to the right size before dipping it in wax.

Measure the Wick to the right size before dipping it in wax.

Dipping the wick in hot beeswax.

Dipping the wick in hot beeswax.

Straightened and left to cool on some baking paper.

Straightened and left to cool on some baking paper.

Top tip - keep your dipping wax in a glass jar with a lid. When you have finished using it, simply pop the lid back on for next time and refill when you need to. This saves having to either wash the jar (not ideal with wax) or disposing of it.

Now to the fun part!

Rolling your Candle

Place the wax sheet with the length facing you. Place your wick along the short side of the wax and start rolling. Make sure you press firmly as you roll, ensuring the edges remain straight. You also want to avoid air pockets. When you have finished rolling, press the edges down firmly, your warm hands should help with adhesion. Take the other half of the cut sheet and start rolling the candle on to it, remembering to use enough pressure to help them stick together. Repeat with the third sheet. When you have finished rolling all three small sheets of wax, your candle is complete.

Lay the wick along edge of the short end and press it firmly on the wax. Start rolling.

Lay the wick along edge of the short end and press it firmly on the wax. Start rolling.

First sheet rolled. Place it on another sheet.

First sheet rolled. Place it on another sheet.

Rolling the candle onto another sheet.

Rolling the candle onto another sheet.

Your finished rolled candle.

Your finished rolled candle.

The Long and Thin One

You will need:

  • Beeswax foundation sheets

  • Size 2 square braided wick

  • Cutting board, ruler and a knife

  • extra beeswax for waxing the wick

  • Bain marie (double boiler)

This rolled candle is slightly easier than the short stout one. The foundation sheets were larger, 45 cm x 20 cm. While at room temperature, I folded along the 45 cm length to get two 22.5cm x 20cm rectangles ( Take one of these rectangles and use the 20cm side to measure your wick length.

Cut the wick an inch or so longer than the sheet, and dip your wick in melted beeswax wax and stretch on some baking paper (as above.) Leave the wick to cool so that it is rigid. When cooled, place the wick on the edge of the beeswax sheet, running along the 20cm length, and press into place. Firmly press the edges of the wax on to the wick, and start rolling. You may need to fold over the initial wax to make it easier. Continue rolling until you have used all the wax ensuring the edges are aligned while you roll.

Measure and cut the wick.

Measure and cut the wick.

Dip the wick in wax, squeeze out any air and stretch onto some grease-proof paper.

Dip the wick in wax, squeeze out any air and stretch onto some grease-proof paper.

When wax is dry, place along the edge of the wax, press, fold edges over and start rolling.

When wax is dry, place along the edge of the wax, press, fold edges over and start rolling.

Your finished candle.

Your finished candle.

Testing

I would suggest testing it on a plate so that if there are any left they won’t spoil any surfaces. Light the candle and drop some on the plate to help stick the candle to it. Burn the candle and watch the soft warm light fill the room.

A Word on Candle Safety

I know it goes without saying, but there are some things you need to be aware of when burning your candle, and being safe. This is some candle burning advice:

  • Never leave a lit candle unattended.

  • Don’t burn it all the way down, extinguish it when 2 inches of wax remains.

  • Trim candle wick to 1/4 inch each time you burn it.

  • Keep away from pets and children.

  • Keep away from drafts.

  • Extinguish a candle if it repeatedly smokes, flickers, or the flame becomes too high.

  • Keep at least 3 inches away from other lit candles.

  • Extinguish if it repeatedly flickers, smokes or the flame become too high.

Enjoy :-)