Lighting a candle is one of those timeless ways to create a sense of romance, atmosphere or sacredness that despite electricity, we will never outgrow. But as conscious greenies, the natural act of lighting a flame can bring to mind the question – what is the fuel being used for this flame?
Most candles we buy commercially these days are made from paraffin-based wax a by-product of petroleum processing, and when burnt release chemical toxins. In fact it has been found that paraffin wax releases 7 documented toxins when it burns, two of which are carcinogenic – toluene and benzene. Add to that the colour dyes and synthetic fragrances in some candles and you’re burning a little chemical cocktail, pretty as it might be. Knowing this, it may be a good idea to make sure you light your candles in a well ventilated area, especially of you use them often.
Another solution is to go for alternative materials that don’t release nasty toxins into your breathing air. Enter beeswax candles.
Not only does beeswax not release harmful toxins when burned, it releases negative ions and these lovely negatively charged little things mop up positively charged toxic particles in the air, drawing them back into the flame or helping them settle to the ground. This means that beeswax candles can actually help with problems such as asthma, allergies, and hay fever. They also don’t smoke the way paraffin ones can – another bonus. They smell divine without even having to add fragrance, though you can use essential oils to create delightful aromatherapeutic effects.
MAKE YOUR OWN BEESWAX CANDLES
Making your own candles is such a therapeutic and fun thing in itself and they make the perfect homemade gift of love. When working with beeswax always be aware that it’s very flammable. Never heat it straight in a pot on the stove – use a double boiler or a wax melter and keep a watchful eye on it. You can make your own double boiler by putting a pot or heatproof glass bowl inside a pan filled with water. And of course, if you have kiddies around, teach them about the dangers and how to be safe.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Makes 2 candles
- 150g beeswax, roughly chopped
- 150ml coconut oil
- 2 Glass jars or heat safe containers (you can even use pretty vintage cups picked up at the second hand store)
- Candle Wick
- Wooden skewers, pegs or pencils – to keep wicks in place
- Newspaper for covering work areas
- A glass bowl for melting ingredients
- Add about 2 cups of water to a large pot or pan (depending on the size of the pot).
- Place on the stove.
- Bring to a medium heat (Do not heat your beeswax over high heat or it could ignite).
- Once the water is hot, place the glass bowl into the pot of water.
- Add 150g beeswax and allow to melt.
- Add 150ml coconut oil, stirring a bit while it melts.
- Stir carefully with a skewer.
- Pour about a cm of hot wax into the bottom of one jar, then immediately place a wick into the centre of the jar so it just touches the bottom.
- Hold wick in place gently until wax hardens enough for the wick to stand on its own.
- Set aside to harden completely.
- Repeat this step with all your jars or containers.
- Resting a peg on top of each jar, gently clip the wick to the peg, making sure it’s positioned straight, if using a pencil or skewer do the same and wrap the wick around it.
- Once wicks are secured, finish pouring hot wax into each jar, evenly distributing the wax between the jars.
- Set aside to cool and harden completely (12 – 24 hours)
For those who are vegan – take a look at our lovely range of Soylite Candles, made from biodegradable soy wax. These candles are a classic gift that can’t go wrong if you’re looking for ideas. Enjoy the beautiful scent and sight of natural, air cleaning candlelight delight!