To make a candle you need:
- Sufficient beeswax
- A mould
- A wick
In a developing country these are most likely to be made from available local materials. It is possible to purchase a wide range of candle moulds, but they are expensive and frequently do not last for very long. In country sources are always most likely to be sustainable.
A good mould might be a piece of plastic pipe, a hollow stalk from a large plant (such as a coco-yam) or a piece of bamboo. Depending on how easily obtainable these items are will depend on whether the mould is preserved after the wax moulding or destroyed to get the candle out. If the mould is a hollow tube it must have something that fits tightly to close one end. The end closing must be absolutely tight or the hot wax will run out all over the place. A plastic bottle top or cork of the right size is good.
Wicks can be made of jute string, lamp wick, string form bank bags or a variety of other suitable locally available materials. A double boiler for melting the wax can be made from a cooking pot and an old tin can.
Once a producer becomes skilled, very good candles can be produced using simple local materials.
- Melt a good quantity of beeswax in double boiler
- Prepare the mould by rubbing the inside with soap so the wax does not stick to the mould
- Position the wick carefully in the centre of the candle mould. It may need to be made straight by dipping it in wax. It should just touch the base of the mould and be exactly the correct length to fit the length of the mould.
- The wick should be clipped at the top so that it rests on the top of the mould to keep it in place. A small piece of stick cut part way through is sufficient for this.
- Put the mould securely in place where it will not be disturbed before the wax is set. This will be several hours.
- It may be helpful to stand the mould in a tin of cold water. This will give it stability and also help it to set.
- Pour in the melted beeswax carefully until the mould is full to the top.
- Watch the wax level and if it drops then add a little more wax immediately.
- Leave undisturbed until it is set. This is best left until the next day.
- Remove the supporting stick at the top and release the candle from the mould by removing the bottom block and pushing it out.
Small emergency light candle
Support a small piece of lamp wick in a tomato paste or other small tin can. It should be exactly the right length to reach to the bottom of the tin. Fill the can to the top with melted beeswax. Leave to set. The candle is burned inside the tin. It does not have to be removed. Leaving the candle in the tin extends the time the candle will burn. When the candle is finished the tin can be reused to make another emergency light
For dipped candles a dipping tube is needed to contain the wax and a tall container for hot water for the dipping tube to stand in so the wax will melt and stay liquid for long period of time. A second double boiler may be needed to keep melting more wax. A good supply of wax is needed as well as a wick of a suitable size for the candle to be made. When putting wax into the dipping tube it is important to remember that the when the candles are put into the dipping tube, the wax level will rise so it is important not to have so much wax in the tube that it overflows. Wax is very flammable and burns easily.
- Cut the wick to the size for the candle.
- The wick needs to be about two inches longer than the candle size (or 4 inches if the candles are to be made in pairs).
- They need a place to hang in between dips so the wax can set before the next layer is put on.
- The first dip needs to be dipped into the melted wax until all the air bubbles have risen to the surface.
- Lift out gently allowing all the surplus wax run back into the dipping tube.
- Hang it up to cool.
- Pull the wick straight before dipping again.
- Repeat the dipping to the same level to build up the wax on the candle.
- As the candle grows it should be rolled on a hard, flat surface to keep the candle straight.
- As the candle grows a drop shape will build up at the base of the candle.
- This should be trimmed off or it will prevent the candle being dipped to its full extent.
- Once the candles are at the required size trim the wick to size and if possible finish the bottom by running it across a hot, flat metal surface
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- Language English
- Author Bees for Development
- Publisher Bees for Development
- Published Date October 2016
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