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Photo by Ron Lach : https://www.pexels.com/photo/yellow-candles-in-clear-glasses-8272381/

Making candles

Making your own candles on a homestead or small farm can be a fun and rewarding activity. Let me explain how you can do it in simple steps:

Step 1: Gather Supplies

  • To make candles, you’ll need some basic supplies:
    • Beeswax: If you keep bees on your homestead, you can collect beeswax from the beehives. Beeswax is the natural substance that bees use to build their honeycombs.
    • Cotton Wick: You can either buy pre-made cotton wicks or make your own by braiding cotton string.
    • Containers: You can use mason jars, old glass containers, or even seashells to hold the melted wax and wick.
    • Double Boiler or Old Pot: You’ll need something to melt the beeswax safely. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use an old pot placed inside a larger pot with water.
    • Wooden Stick or Pencil: This will be used to hold the wick in place while the wax cools and hardens.

Step 2: Melt the Beeswax

  • Place the beeswax in the double boiler or old pot over low heat. Beeswax melts at a lower temperature, so it’s essential to use low heat to prevent it from burning.

Step 3: Prepare the Container

  • While the beeswax is melting, prepare your containers. Set the cotton wick in the center of each container and wrap one end around the wooden stick or pencil, so it stays in place.

Step 4: Pour the Wax

  • Once the beeswax has melted completely, carefully pour it into the containers, covering the wick. Leave some space at the top of the container, so the wax doesn’t overflow when it cools.

Step 5: Let it Cool

  • Allow the candles to cool and harden completely. It may take a few hours, depending on the size of the candles.

Step 6: Trim the Wick

  • Once the candles have cooled, trim the wick to about 1/4 inch above the wax surface. This will make it easier to light the candle next time.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Homemade Candles!

  • Now you have your very own homemade candles ready to use! Light them up whenever you need a warm and cozy glow around your homestead.

Remember, making candles is a creative and enjoyable activity, and you can experiment with different shapes, sizes, and scents. Beeswax candles are not only beautiful but also eco-friendly, as beeswax is a renewable resource. Have fun and get creative with your candle-making on the homestead!

Which fats to use?

On a farm, you can produce various alternative fats that can be used in candles. These fats are plant-based and can serve as sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives to traditional beeswax. Here are some options:

  1. Soy Wax: Soy wax is made from soybean oil, which is a widely available and renewable resource. It is a popular choice for candle-making as it burns cleanly and slowly.
  2. Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is rich in healthy fats and can be used to create candles. It may have a slightly greenish hue and a unique scent.
  3. Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil is readily available and can be used to make candles. It burns cleanly and has a mild scent.
  4. Olive Oil: Olive oil can be used to create candles, but it may burn faster than other oils, so it’s best to blend it with other oils.
  5. Hemp Seed Oil: Hemp seed oil is gaining popularity as an eco-friendly option for candles. It has a nutty scent and burns well.
  6. Rapeseed Oil (Canola Oil): Rapeseed oil is derived from the rapeseed plant and can be used in candle-making. It burns cleanly and has a mild scent.
  7. Tallow or Lard: Tallow is a rendered form of animal fat, usually from beef or sheep, while lard is rendered pig fat. Both can be used for traditional candle-making.

It’s essential to consider the availability and sustainability of the fats you choose. For the most sustainable option, consider using oils that are produced on your farm or locally sourced in an environmentally friendly manner. Always ensure that any waste fats used for candle-making are rendered and processed properly to avoid any negative impact on the environment. Using alternative fats for candles can be a great way to embrace self-sufficiency and reduce your ecological footprint on the farm.

Useful links:

Here’s a more detailed article on making your own candles.

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