I know I talk a lot about needing a little extra light during these dark days, but I don't think it's a sentiment that can be too often repeated. Especially in the wake of Friday's tragedy, there is even more need to extend a comforting hand and offer a bit of light to a friend in need. This past weekend, I rolled beeswax candles to give as small gifts. Here, a few tips on making your own:
Making your own rolled beeswax candles is almost laughably easy. I used natural medium brood beeswax foundation (the stuff that can actually be used inside bee hives) and cotton wicking from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm to make my tapers. Brushy Mountain has loads of bee-keeping and candle-making supplies and they're my favorite spot for supplies. Truly, the honor is all mine to collaborate with them on this post.
Beeswax foundation comes in long sheets (8 1/2" by 16 3/4" long). Cut in half, each sheet yields two 8 1/4" tapers. When your sheets arrive in the mail, bring the box inside and let the wax warm up to room temperature before handling it. You can use a knife to cut each sheet in half or do what I did and carefully fold each sheet in half to score it and fold again in the opposite direction to break it in two. If you're worried about tears, bring out a knife. Next, cut a length of cotton wicking to be just a bit longer than the length of your sheet.
The wax is slightly sticky, so you can press the wick into place along the edge and carefully begin to curl the edge of the wax around it (if you didn't use a knife, begin rolling on the side with the rough edge). The wax is very pliable, but to get a nice neat roll you'll want to work slowly at first. Once you've rolled the wax over the wick a few times, things gets easier and you can use the flats of your fingers to roll up the rest of the way. (Be prepared for a heavenly smell and super soft hands by the time you're finished).
If you prefer a thicker candle, don't cut your sheet in half and just keep on rolling. Thicker still? Start the process again with a second sheet of wax. The best part about rolling your own candles is that you can make them any size you'd like: short and squat or long and lean. When you're finished rolling, gently press the edge of the wax sheet to the candle using your fingertips. Because the wax is sticky on its own, you don't need to mess with heat or blow dryers or anything else fancy. A few gently presses will work just fine.
Once you've finished rolling your candles, tie two together to make a sweet little gift. I wrapped mine in a small length of parchment paper and tied it up with grosgrain ribbon and a sprig of boxwood.
If you're in the mood for for something a little extra special, you can use the same boxwood to make festive candlesticks for the table.
How-to: Take a long boxwood branch and bend it into a circle. I like to allow the smaller shoots to branch off in different directions. Use a small bit of wire to secure the top of the branch to the bottom stem and then place the miniature wreath at the base of your candle before putting it into your candlestick.
As always, make sure not to leave your burning candles unattended. And isn't that the hope after all? Here's to many long meals shared at tables lit by candlelight. Wishing you and yours many of them.
Materials for this post were generously provided by Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.