Interest in beekeeping, even in urban areas, is on the rise so even if you don't raise your own, you should have access to a local source of beeswax through your farmers market. If you can't find any there, check online resources for beeswax and try to select an organic source.
I chose to explain how to make hand dipped beeswax candles, mostly because the amount of equipment you need is minimal. You don't need molds or any fancy wick suspension system or the like. Just a container of melted beeswax and some wicks.
I suspect this was also the main method of making candles back in pioneer days because of its simplicity. It would also be one of those projects that took time and could be done as a social event. I envision women sitting around the beeswax, making candles and talking. I suggest you host a beeswax candle making party to keep the tradition alive.
This also makes a good project for kids, as long as they are old enough to be careful around hot wax.
1. Fill the metal container about 3/4 full of beeswax. If you don't feel like chopping up large chunks of beeswax, which is, notably, a huge pain, you can use beeswax pellets if you can find them, but they are much more expensive than buying bulk beeswax. Place your metal container in a pot of water so that it hits about halfway up the container. Heat the water over medium heat until the wax is melted and turn the heat down to simmer.
2. Trim the wicks into 16 inch pieces. Dip each end of the wick about 6" into the wax, alternately ends, about a second in and a second to pull out. Wait 15 seconds in between dips for the previous "layer" to cool. Once you get the hang of it, you'll get into a candle dipping rhythm that can be quite meditative.
3. When your candle has reached the appropriate diameter (1/2 to 1 inch), it's time to cool them. If your candles are looking a tad too rustic for your tastes, you can roll them in wax paper on a hard surface for a smoother finish. Let them cool by hanging them over a thick rod. Trim the bottom of the candle if you like.
*If you are finding the the wick is floating in the wax during the first few dips, you can tie some washers or other weight to the dipping end.
*If you want to speed things up a bit, you can dip the candles into cool water in between dips.
*If you are having issues with clumpy wax or remelting your candle as you are dipping, keep the temperature around 160 degrees F. 150 to 180 is a safe range for dipping.
*For a clean finish, increase the temperature of the wax to 180 degrees for the last dip.
How to make hand dipped beeswax candles
Making hand dipped candles