How to Make Beeswax Candles in Glass Yogurt Jars
Glass yogurt jars are perfect to use as candle containers and they make great gifts!
Glass Yogurt Jars Make Great Candle Containers
We love the shape of the glass Oui yogurt jars (the yogurt inside is yummy, too!). They’re recyclable, of course, and make great little containers for all sorts of things like paper clips, nails and screws. However, we decided to fill these cute yogurt jars with beeswax candles.
A Word About Beeswax
Beekeepers (also called apiarists) carefully remove the beeswax when they harvest honey from their honeybee hives. They always leave enough honey for the bees to eat because it’s the bees’ main source of nutrition all winter long. When spring comes and flowers and trees bloom again, the bees collect nectar and pollen. That’s when they start making honey and raising new bees for the year ahead. Natural beeswax is wonderful to work with and it smells great without any added fragrance.
There are many online sources for beeswax. We chose BetterBee.com for our 1-lb. blocks of beeswax and our wicking material. You can also buy beeswax pellets which melt faster and cost about the same as the blocks (around $10 per lb).
It’s important to use the correct diameter wicking based on the size of the candle. This is explained at the Betterbee site. We ordered a 30-ft. length (the smallest amount available) of 44-24 zinc core wicking for the glass yogurt jars, that have a 3-3/8-in.-diameter opening.
Everything You’ll Need
Here’s what you need to make 4 candles from 1 lb. of beeswax:
- 4 clean yogurt jars (a single Oui glass yogurt jar holds 5 oz., so you’ll need 4 jars, filled with 4 oz. melted beeswax each, for each lb. of beeswax
- 1 lb. of beeswax
- Wicking material
- Flat-sided pencils or chopsticks
- Paper towels, newspaper or parchment paper
- Cloth and ribbon for covering the candles
- Compass for drawing circles on the cloth
Clean the Yogurt Jars
First, soak the labels in hot soapy water. Use a bucket so the labels doesn’t go down the sink drain and cause a clog. After the labels are off, scrub the residual adhesive off the sides and rims of the yogurt jars. We found that Orange Goop hand cleanser worked best when used with a copper Chore-Boy scrubber. The copper is tough on the adhesive and doesn’t scratch the glass the way sandpaper did. Rinse the jars well and dry completely.
Set Up a Double-Boiler to Melt the Wax
CAUTION: Melted beeswax is highly flammable and you should never melt beeswax on an open flame!
First, to break up the blocks of wax into smaller chunks that would easily fit into a container for melting, we used an old chisel and hit the beeswax blocks with a hammer (hard!).
Next, always use a double-boiler setup for melting beeswax. DON’T ever use a microwave.
We used an electric frying pan filled with water that we brought to a boil. We placed the chunks of wax in glass measuring cups and let the handles hang outside the pan to keep them cool. Melt the beeswax slowly at the lowest heat that will keep the water boiling. Once the wax is melted, you’ll need to work fairly quickly. If you heat the melted wax for too long, it becomes discolored.
If you don’t have an electric frying pan, you can create a double boiler with a medium-size saucepan and a smaller saucepan. Fill the medium saucepan halfway with water, then place the smaller pan on top.
Melt the Wax
This step takes patience, but you will be rewarded by the lovely fragrance of beeswax as it melts. Take your time here and melt SLOWLY. The melting point of beeswax is between 145 and 147 degrees F. The flash point (when it can ignite) is 400 degrees F.
Replenish the water in the frying pan as it boils off, if needed. Use something disposable, like chopsticks, to stir the melting wax. You can burn yourself, so be careful. Don’t let kids or pets play around melting wax.
CAUTION: Melted beeswax is highly flammable
Dip the Wicks
Before you pour your first candle, spread newspapers or parchment paper on your work surface. Pick up a pre-cut length of wicking and dip one end into the melted wax. Let it cool for a few seconds and then dip the other end. Lay the waxed wicks on the paper to cool. If you don’t dip the wicks to make them stiff, they will float around when you pour the melted wax in the jar.
Wrap the Wicks
Wrap one end of a waxed wick around a flat-sided pencil or chopstick leaving the long end just long enough to touch the bottom of the glass yogurt jar. Repeat for each jar.
Position the Wicks
Position the wicks on the pencils so that they are centered in the glass yogurt jars. Try to keep them as straight and centered as possible for better burning.
Cut the Wicks
When the wax has completely cooled, remove the pencils and snip off the excess wick that is sticking up above the candle.
For Gifts, Cover with a Cloth Top
Use any kind of fabric or burlap to cover the candle and tie it up with ribbon or twine. These little covers protect and keep dust off of the wax. Give the candles as gifts but be sure to keep one for yourself. And always remember: To avoid the risk of a house fire, never leave a burning candle unattended!
Follow these instructions if you get melted wax on your carpet. To get wax out of glass containers, pour in hot water and the wax will float to the top. Lift it out and repeat with more hot water if needed. Wipe off any leftover wax with a paper towel or newspaper, using vinegar or glass cleaner if necessary. Never pour melted wax down the drain.