Candles can be oh-so-romantic and smell good too, but fans of their mood-enhancing and aromatherapeutic properties are often all too oblivious to the dark side of tea lights. Every time a tea light is lit, it’s a mini crude oil combustion in the home.
Paraffin wax—the material that makes up most candles (even the fancy French ones)—is a byproduct of petroleum. While the Food and Drug Administration considers paraffin safe for use, its origin isn’t the only freaky thing about mass-produced candles. Sniffing every scented pillar in the store to find the one that will bring on the bliss can quickly turn into a nauseating affair, due to the many artificial fragrances used. And 95 percent of these scents are derived from petrochemicals as well, including phthalates and other allergenic, organ- and hormone-disrupting, and even carcinogenic toxins.
The safer alternative? Beeswax candles. Beeswax emits negative ions, collecting positively charged dust, dirt, and other pollutants from the air—so lighting beeswax candles can actually help purify the environment within the home.
Getting all fired up on this enlightening info? It might be time to go from candle consumer to full-blown candle maker. Making your own scented beeswax candles is a DIY anyone could master—and all it takes is a few relatively affordable items.
The two key ingredients: beeswax and coconut oil. This MVP oil cuts beeswax to make this project even more economical, and also adds a natural fragrance. The rest of the materials are just a trip to the craft store away, and you may even already have some of them at home.
Ingredients and Materials
8 ounces beeswax
1/3 to 1/2 cup of coconut oil
50 to 75 drops essential oil
Heat-resistant glass jar (12-ounce)
Pencil or chopstick
Melt wax in a double boiler over medium heat until fully melted. Monitor the temperature with the thermometer until it reaches about 145 to 150 degrees, then remove from heat (the temperature will continue to rise to about 170 degrees).
Blend in coconut oil until fully melted. Add essential oils to desired scent, starting with about 50 drops. Stir to incorporate. Cool wax to 160 degrees.
Meanwhile, tie one end of the wick onto a pencil or chopstick, and cut it to a length long enough to hang straight and taut and ending just ¼ inch above the bottom of the jar when you lay the pencil down across the rim.
Once wax has cooled to 160 degrees, slowly pour it into the jar, readjusting the wick to stay centered as needed. Fill jar to one inch below opening.
Let the wax to dry for one to two days. Once completely dry, cut the wick to ½ inch, and voila! Told you it was easy!
A word on scents: Lavender and coconut are totally a dynamic duo, so lavender essential oil is a pretty foolproof way to go. Wanna take it a step further into real aromatherapy territory? Try incorporating these exquisite essential oil blends.
Want to experience euphoria in a whiff? Try this tantalizing combo.
5 drops bergamot
5 drops lemon
5 drops tangerine
5 drops ylang ylang
5 drops geranium
5 drops jasmine
5 drops Roman chamomile
5 drops palmarosa
5 drops rose
This alluring scent can transport you to a seaside cabin surrounded by California redwoods.
25 drops lavender
25 drops pine
Photo credit: Paul Delmont