Simple instructions to make your own miniature hand dipped beeswax tappers in your kitchen. Celebrating the winter solstice
There are many reasons to make your own candles but today my reason is the deep dark of winter. During the solstice the night is the longest it’ll be all year. This is the time to be thankful for the shorter days and welcome the longer days to come. What better was to celebrate the return of the sun then to make candles. Light a flame to welcome the sun.
Making mini beeswax tapers in your kitchen
This process can be applied to the wax of your choice. My go to is always beeswax. The smell of beeswax melting on the stove fills the house and can’t be improved upon.
The idea here is to easily make tapers in your kitchen using no special supplies.
- Pot with water for the stove
- 1 liter jar or equivalent for containing and melting the wax
- Cotton twine for wicks
- 2 250ml jars or equivalent ( something heat resistant that is not to wide)
- Something to use as a drying rack, I use two large jars with two wooden utensils balanced across them.
- Scissors, knife, patience
How to make mini Beeswax Tapers
This method works for any beeswax. Scraps, pellets, chips, or even a block. The smaller the pieces the quicker it’ll melt. With a little extra patients a brick will melt too though. I save all my beeswax scraps throughout the year for either candle making or fire making fire starters. For these candles in particular my scrap stash was a bit low so I bought a 1 lb. brick from a local supply shop. For those local to Victoria that’s Borden Mercantile, they have everything you need for candle making in general.
Melting the wax
I use a really simple double boiling technique, I keep a 1 liter glass jar for storing my beeswax scraps throughout the year. Put the jar in a pot of water on the stove. And heat it until the wax starts to melt. Eventually everything in the jar will melt but it helps if there are some smaller pieces to melt first and emerge any larger pieces in the melted wax. You can also use a regular double boiler to melt the wax.
**Tip** Make sure you keep water out of the wax jar. Keeping it heavier so it doesn’t want to float, keeping splashes under control, and don’t let it tip over, (I have made this mistake)
For the wick you could go out and buy prepared wick at a supply shop or you could use a simple cotton twine. Since these are tapers I do not pre treat the twine I just make sure the first dip is deeper than the rest and a bit longer. Set them aside to dry and dip the next one. Once its dry enough to touch but still warm pull the wick straight so it continues to dry in a nice straight line. The next dips will all be easier and it’ll stop trying to float.
Set up something to dry your candles on. If you have the space the back of two chairs with a bar across them will work. I use a much smaller scale using two jars on my counter top with two wooden utensils balanced between them. Make sure your drying rack is nice and stable, its super annoying when it slips while you are hanging your precious candles on it.
Dipping your tapers
Once your wax is melted and jars are set up the dipping starts. Dip each end of the wick into the 250 ml jar filled with melted wax. Just dip it in slowly but don’t let it sit in the wax. If you let it sit too long the previous wax layers will melt. Dip one end and then the other, or both at the same time if there is room. Let it drip for a moment over your jar and then set it on the drying rack carefully.
Move on to the next candle and keep going. The layers will slowly but steadily build up. As your wax starts to get lower add in more from your other jar. If it starts to harden too much around the edges take a moment and put the jar back in the water. Keep the water heated through this whole process.
Trimming the ends
As your candle starts to take form it’ll create wax drips on the bottom. This portion wont have a wick in it so it needs to be trimmed off. Trimming it as you go will help keep track of the wick and keep the shape of the candle. In the early stages I just pinch off the wax, as they get thicker I use a knife to cut it off.
You can roll the candle in your hands to gently reshape the ends if they need it. I find it helpful to trim every 5 dips or so.
You can make your mini beeswax tapers as thin or as thick as you’d like, they are yours after all. I make mine as thick as the wax I have will let me, eventually the wax will start to run low enough that you can’t dip the candle deep enough for a nice layer. That is when I would call it a day. As you are getting close to the finishing point you can roll the candle on the table or in your hands to smooth out some of the bumps. I like to leave some drips on the bottom so once its close to the end I will trim the bottom one last time before finishing it off.
Left over wax
There will be left over wax from this process. If you have the time this would be a great opportunity to make up some fire starts like these ones HERE. If not the wax can be saved for the next candle making session or made into a small poured candle.
I used the remainder of my wax to make a couple small poured candles. Using a wood wick from Borden mercantile and a 125 ml mason jar as well as a tiny jar from a jam sample and a tiny piece of wick. I want to call them kitchen candles but in truth all my candles are burnt in the kitchen anyway.
Using your mini beeswax tapers
You can use these tapers for anything you’d like of course. When you go to burn them trim the which down to a cm and light as always. I like to hang a couple on the tree the smell and colour make a beautiful hand made ornament. I also give a couple away with gifts, a hand dipped candle no matter how rustic makes a great addition. At least one set of these will be lit on the solstice which is just days away. These were made on the night of the cold moon, Decembers full moon.
Mini beeswax tapers
- 1 Liter jar
- 2- 250 ml jar or equivalent
- drying rack
- cotton twine
- Cut twine to desired length
- Place wax in 1 L jar, place jar in pot with water. (water level should be about half way up the side of the jar no more)
- Heat the water to a boil then reduce to medium heat.
- Set up a space to hang the tapers as they set.
- Once the wax is melted fill up your 250 ml jar.
- Place the L jar back into the water pot to keep warm, you may need to remove some of the water to prevent the jar from floating.
- Dip both ends of each of your wicks into the melted wax, the will try to float just sink them under for a good 30 seconds.
- Hand on the drying rack and do the next one.
- While they are still warm pull the wick straight and set back of the drying rack
- Start dipping each of your wicks one by one, a quick dip then back on the drying rack
- Every 5 or so dips use a knife to remove the drips from the bottom and place them back in the melting wax
- When the wax in the small jar gets low top it up with the other jar
- If a bump develops on any of the tapers roll it between your hands while warm so even it out and keep dipping
- Keep dipping until your desired width is reached or your wax runs low.