The first thing you should never do when starting a new homesteading hobby that could be potentially messy is skip the research step.
However, my kitchen is not totally trashed. It’s only a little sticky and splattered with beeswax. One pan in the sink looks particularly challenging to clean but not impossible. I have a feeling research might have provided a more efficient method.
Here’s what happened..
My dad is a beekeeper (more info about the honey we sell here) and gave me several pounds of beeswax. He use frames in his hives and it does not come off in nice, neat honey comb. Instead, it consists of lots of little pieces of wax, debris and honey leftovers.
I took this and heated it up in old (clean) spaghetti jars in a boiling pot of water. I figured this wouldn’t be too messy. I was half right.
It took a little while for the wax to melt down. When it was melting, I added a little bit of the boiling water to help it finish melting. I figured it would evaporate eventually anyway. I think I was right on that point.
Then came the difficult part. How to strain the debris and honey out? I ended up using an old tea leaf strainer ball.
This was the messy part. I ended up dripping wax all over the stove as I dumped out the bits that wouldn’t go through the strainer. And some of the wax went into the pot, leaving a waxy film for me to clean up later on the pot.
Eventually, it was all strained twice. I did it twice to make sure that the wax was pretty clarified. I added a few shakes of my pachouli essential oil for fragrance. Then I poured it into repurposed glass jars (one was from jam and the others baby food).
It looked so pretty and dark. Eventually, it cooled and started to look like the beeswax blocks I have seen before, golden brown and still smelling like honey. When there was a thin film over the top, I inserted the wicks my dad saved from somewhere and given me during the summer. I tried adding the wicks earlier but they floated. With the waxy film, they stayed in place better.
I can’t wait for them to fully solidify so that I can try them out. I’ll keep everyone posted on how they work and how the fragrance turns out. I might have needed more essential oil.
Turns out I did not put enough essential oil. It only faintly smells like patchouli. Also, I underestimated the non-wax stuff that I needed to filter out. Turns out (and you’ll even see this in the above photos) that the dark bottom part wasn’t really wax. It was honey, water and some other bee goo. So what I ended up with is wax floating on top of brown gunk. I drained it, rinsed it and burned it anyway. Much to my delight it still works okay even though the candle is in the top half of the glass below and the bottom half is just air.
Next time, I will use some old bowl or something to pour all the liquid in and allow it to cool. Then I will take the wax that hardens off the top and remelt it before pouring it into the jars I want the candles in.