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Bees make the wax!

Don Farrall / Getty Images

The History of Bees Wax:

Mind your own beeswax
Eat your own fish
And don’t poke your nose
Into my little dish!

The original candle wax, beeswax has been a part of candle making for as long as wax candles themselves have been made. (I'm not counting the rushes dipped in tallow as "wax" candles.) The ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Persians all had many uses for beeswax - dolls, death masks, sculptures, writing pads, as a painting medium, and of course, as candles. Beeswax has been found in ancient tombs, deep underwater in shipwrecks - nearly as good as the day it was made.

Where Does it Come From:

Well, as you might guess, beeswax comes from bees. But it's the worker bees inside the hive that make the wax. The worker bees eat honey and then excrete the wax out of glands on their abdomens. It takes about 10 pounds of honey to produce one pound of beeswax. The wax is then used to construct the honeycomb - which stores the honey, and serves as the home where the queen, honey, worker and baby bees live.

What Kind of Candles Does it Make?:

Pretty much any type of candle can be made with bees wax, from votives, pillars, containers and molded creations. It's a heavy, sticky wax, so it seems to work best in molds that are either small or flexible, like silicone molds, or in two part molds that easily come apart.

One of the most common ways that beginning candlemakers make candles out of beeswax is in pre-made sheets. These sheets are rolled out and often stamped with a honeycomb pattern. It's easy to just lay a wick on a piece of the beeswax sheet and roll it up to make an instant candle.

How It's Generally Packaged or Sold:

Beeswax generally comes in three ways:
  1. In solid blocks or bricks - usually 1-2 pounds - almost like a big brick of butter
  2. In "pastilles" or pellets - basically the same wax as the block...just in tiny pellet form
  3. In the pre-made, pre-rolled sheets - generally 8" x 16"

Suppliers of Bees Wax:

Here are some suppliers of candle wax that sell different forms and kinds of beeswax for candle making:
Related Video
How to Make Beeswax Candles

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