anybody make candles? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

i have been entertaining ideas of making candles for some time now. there is a short article about candle making in the new countryside issue. it has inspired me, but alas!!! no mention of suppliers etc. does anyone have advice about candle making? what is necessary, what is not necessary? what can be scrounged, what needs to be purchased? how about names and addresses of suppliers? places to get catalogs? websites? i did a web search and got nada zilch. the local hobby stores have a few items but to me the prices are sky high. i would greatly appreciate any and all information. thank you and have a great day :) gene

-- gene ward (, April 25, 2000


For supplies, there are candlemaking supply catalogs (start with crafts and work your way down?) but also, the beekeeping supply catalogs, or most of them, carry some supplies for making candles. My husband and I have made and sold quite a few hand-dipped candles -- they sell best if the customers can watch you make a few. Don't do anything fancy with colors, molds, scents, just basic "colonial" style tapers, some sized for the lanterns carried by historical reenacters. So I might be able to help with a little advice, depending on what you want to do.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 25, 2000.

You mentioned finding an article in Countryside on candle making. There are several other issues with information, depending on how far your copies go back and if you keep them. The January 94 issue has two articles, page 53 and 36; January of 93, page 26 and December of 91 page 60. I have copies of Country side back to 91 and refer to them quite often. Haven't tried making candles very seriously, but it's one of those things I'd like to do someday. Good luck.

-- Betsy (, April 25, 2000.

Candle making can be cheap if you know where to get the wax! Find a church that uses candles (our supplier is Russian Orthodox, for example) and ask for the butt-ends that remain. You will have to put a little effort into melting them down and removing the wicks and other debris, but this will be cheaper than buying it new. If you choose hand-dipping you can build your own "dipper", and all you will need to buy are the

-- Cedar Spitz (, April 25, 2000.

Cedar, you hit the wrong button! (That's my oldest daughter, folks!)

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 25, 2000.

Gene, I got my candle molds--one tall, that makes 9 1/2 inch candles,4 at a time, and one short, that makes 6 candles, 6"--from James Townsend and son, that sell supplies for the Living History hobby. They sell candle wick for $1.00 for a 10 tard hank, and beeswax for $7.00 a pound, if you want to go that route. They also have a little book for $3.00. The catalog is free, and the service is fast. Check out their site at . I have made a LOT of candles, of beeswax, and tallow, and of "recycled" parafin candles, scrounged at yard sales and church services, candle drippings, etc. I don't reccomend tallow; they are very soft, just a bit harder than shortening at room temperature, and smell like meat when they burn. Beeswax is lovely; burns long, and smell like honey, but expensive. Most of the candles I make are a beeswax-recycled candle combo, with as much beeswax as I can afford! DO NOT use the food grade paraffin that is sold to seal jelly jars by some; it is too soft to make an efficiently burning candle. If you are worried about a too soft product, try adding some Steric Acid; it is a waxy powder that you measure into your melted candle makin's. A pound is pricy; I bought mine at the local Ben Franklin store, but a little goes a long way.

Please be safe; use a double boiler, either one you picked up at a yard sale (it'll ruin it for anything else), or one like mine; an old pan and a big coffee can, with one side "pinched" to form a "spout." Use LOW heat and attend to it carefully. If you can smell the wax, it is too hot, and dangerous to breathe, from what I have heard. Turn down the heat. Pour or dip on a counter top, away from the heat of the stove; cover your work area in a thick pad of old newspapers. You can peel off your dribbles that way, and wax is a real pain to get off of stuff!

I throw all kinds of colors and smells into a batch of wax, but I like to get the color of old bee's wax; a kind of dark, golden brown; or a soft dark green, like bayberry. That way, when I use them at an emcampment, they LOOK like bee's wax or bayberry, but that is a personal thing with me. I have a big ole' bunch of homemade candles, and I prefer molding to dipping, tho' dipping is fun, and a good project for a COOL day; it goes faster, then. Have a candle holder on hand, so you know when you have the proper thickness of candle. Not all candles will fit in all holders; I whittle away at the too big ones, so they will snuggly fit the holder or lantern at hand.

-- Leann Banta (, April 25, 2000.

Pourette Candles 1-800-888-9425 Western Wax Works

-- Jill Faerber (, April 25, 2000.

We got a lot of our supplies from a beekeeeper supply company called Betterbee, located near Albany, NY. They had the best prices I'd found, and sold beeswax, spools of wick, etc.

Another great source was found accidently; when traveling through Amish country in PA, we stopped at a candle factory and store. They had great candles and such, but when we asked if they sold wax they asked how many pallets of it I wanted! It turns out that in making the drip candles they produce literally tons of wax drippings that they box and sell for about ten cents a pound. It has a few colors mixed in other than white, but not enough to affect what we were making, and it's already good candle wax, not just paraffin. They had a warehouse with pallets of boxes stacked 10 feet high. I'm sure other factories do the same thing.

-- Rod Perrino (, April 26, 2000.

If you just want to practice dipping and a feel for the process you can try tallow candles.

I rendered the fat from our deer last year, just the same as lard (except lard is way to soft). Sheep and goat Tallow is supposed to be harder (firmer) yet. I used a heavy cotton thread (like for emroidery) twisted and doubled for the wick. Soaking it in the melted tallow then cooling completely before starting. Then proceed as with any other candle.

Tallow candles are softer and "wilt" in hot weather (ask any pilgrim), but they are a good way to practice and are fine for decorating your own home (just plan to have them burned down before July or so and they start to lean)

-- Novina West (, April 27, 2000.

Try here on supplies

Sorry, link stupid today I guess..LOL

Beth (NC)

-- Beth (NC) (, May 01, 2000.

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