Make your own bayberry candles at home

For many, the spicy fragrance of bayberry candles brings warm holiday memories. It is easy to make traditional bayberry wax for candle if you have access to a bayberry, or wax myrtle, shrub (Myrica cerifera).

Make your own bayberry candles at home

What you need

  • Bayberries
  • Water
  • Strainer

What to do

1. Pick bayberries in November. Put berries into a pan of water large enough to accommodate the quantity you've picked. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the solution is thick and syrupy.

2. Strain the berries and seeds from the solution. Allow the solution to cool in a heatproof bowl. When the bayberry wax floats to the top of the liquid and solidifies, lift it off and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator until you have collected enough to dip or mold candles.

Molded candles

  • If you love making candles, you may want to invest in metal molds for tapered candles.
  • You can, however, make many molded candles in containers that you already have around the house.
  • A soup can, for example, will mold a fine pillar candle.
  • Look around and see what other shapes you have.
  • Buy wicking, paraffin and mold seal at a craft shop or on the Internet.

What you need

  • 1 packet wicking
  • A 5 kg (10 lb) block paraffin
  • Crayons (colours of your choice)
  • Scented oil (scent of your choice)
  • Molds
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 packet mold seal

What to do

1. Cut wicking 10 centimetres (four inches) longer than the height of the mold. Melt some of the wax in a double boiler over very low heat and soak the wicks in melted wax until saturated. Lay the wicks out straight on a piece of wax paper to cool and dry.

2. Lightly spray the inside of each mold with nonstick cooking spray, and if it doesn't have its own seal, use a mold seal product.

3. Stick the wick to the bottom of the mold with a bit of mold seal. Tie the other end to a small stick or skewer, pull the wick taut and lay the stick across the mouth of the mold.

4. Melt the rest of the wax in a double boiler. Never let the wax exceed 93ºC (200ºF); use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. Use pot holders or mitts to handle hot wax to prevent burns. Lower the heat, add crayon bits and a few drops of scented oils, and stir to distribute evenly.

5. Pour wax into molds, stopping one centimetre (1/2 inch) from the top. Place the molds in a pan of cold water (use pot holders), taking care not to splash water into the mold. Let cool one hour.

6. When the mold is cool, remove the candle. Trim the wick and smooth the bottom of the candle by standing it in a pot of warm water. If you used a two-part mold, trim any ragged seams with a paring knife.

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