Making homemade candles can be a lot of fun. There are many different ways to make them, and there are many different waxes they can be made out of. For a quick and easy craft project to do at home, in this Instructable I specifically show how to make candles from chunks of beeswax by using a small glass jar. I think making candles this way is a great way to re-purpose small glass jars. I picked beeswax because they’ve long been used for making candles, I've been thinking of getting bees and wanted to explore bee-related craft, I love the natural smell of beeswax, and the creamy, light-yellow color of the candles are perfect for the other aspect of this project… making a Minecraft Glowstone.
In the video game Minecraft, Glowstone is a block that provides a soft, yellow-colored light. The appearance of beeswax candles reminded me of Glowstones, so I thought it’d be perfect to turn a beeswax candle into a Glowstone block. So, if you’d like to have fun making a beeswax candle and create a real-life, “functional” block of Minecraft Glowstone in the process, then this Instructable is for you!
Warning: This project involves heating beeswax on the stove — beeswax is flammable at high temperatures, so be sure not to heat the beeswax too hot (above medium-high heat) or it may catch on fire! Only use the stove, and light the candle, with adult assistance. Light the candle on a surface that is not flammable, keep the candle away from flammable objects, and never leave the candle burning unsupervised. Also be careful about putting your hands above the candle when lit because the air will be very hot. Lastly, melted wax can make a real mess – for this reason, when pouring the melted wax (and otherwise moving around melted wax), I recommend doing it over newspaper to catch any drips.
Step 1: Materials You’ll Need
You just need some beeswax and some simple, common household materials to make your own Minecraft Glowstone beeswax candle:
- Glass jar with square sides. I had an empty basil pesto jar that worked perfectly for this (see the picture above).
- Note that you’ll be filling the jar about 1/3 to ½ full. This is so that the Glowstone block appears to be lit up from the middle. My jar was 10 ounces, so it was only filled with about 4 ounces of melted wax.
- Beeswax. I got one-ounce bars of beeswax from Amazon, but using smaller pieces would melt quicker. If you use bars, you’ll also need a cutting board and knife.
- You can mix the beeswax 50:50 with palm oil or coconut oil, which will make the candle softer, or you can use pure beeswax.
- Figure out how much you’ll need based on filling your jar about 1/3 to ½ full. For example, I used 2 ounces beeswax and 2 ounces palm oil to fill my 10 ounce jar. That said, I ended up melting 4 ounces of each so I could make extra candles, because making candles is fun!
- Palm oil or coconut oil (optional).
- For the amounts to use, see the notes above with the beeswax. I used palm oil. If you want to use it, be sure to find palm oil produced in a sustainable way.
- Essential oils (optional). I’ve seen people recommend not using these for beeswax candles, so I skipped them.
- Pre-made wick or cotton string and a metal washer. I show how to make a wick using cotton string and a metal washer in the steps below.
- Pyrex cup with spout. One with a handle to hook over the side of the pot is ideal.
- A cooking pot that the Pyrex cup can sit in
- Oven mitts for handling the hot Pyrex cup
- Skewer or disposable chop stick
- Foam craft brush
- Regular white school glue
Step 2: Preparation: the Beeswax, Jar, and Wick
Preparing the beeswax
If you’re using bars or large chunks of beeswax, you’ll want to cut them up into small pieces. I used a plastic cutting board and a knife to do this. Pieces around 1 cm (or about 1/2 inch) per side should be plenty small enough.
Preparing the oil
If you want to use coconut oil or palm oil, I recommend measuring it out in advance. I used 50:50 beeswax:palm oil, specifically 4 ounces of beeswax and 4 ounces of palm oil. Since 4 ounces equals 118 mL, and this equals ½ cup, I just measured out ½ cup of palm oil (and set it aside for now).
Preparing the Jar
If your jar has any kind of label, remove it now. If there’s a lot of glue holding the label on, you can warm the surface using a hairdryer (to melt the label’s glue) and then the label should easily peel off. (It’s a good trick to know!)
Preparing the wick
If you’re making your own wick, take the cotton string and cut it so that it’s around 10 cm (or 4 inches) taller than the jar (it’s better to have a wick that’s too long than too short!). Then tie the end of the wick around the metal washer – this will hold the wick against the bottom of the jar when you pour in the wax.
(Note: The wicks in this project are just made by dipping them in hot wax. This simple, quick approach worked great for me – the candles burned quite well. That said, other people recommend making wicks using Borax. For details on this latter approach, see this website on making candle wicks.)
Step 3: Making the Wick and Candle
Preparing the pot
Fill the pot with about 8 cm (3 inches) of water. Place the Pyrex cup in the pot and make sure the cup does not easily tip over (it will be more steady once the wax is added). If the Pyrex cup has a handle, hook it over the side of the pot to hold the cup in place. (Note that you’re basically making a simple double-boiler here.)
Heating the wax
Put the pot on the stove and turn the burner on to medium-high heat. Do not turn the burner to high heat because wax is flammable and can catch fire at high temperatures! The wax will start melting as the temperature increases.
Making the wick
Depending on how hot your burner is (and how big your wax pieces are), you may see liquid wax after around 20 minutes of heating. Once there’s a good puddle of wax (but not all of it has melted), carefully dip the cotton string, with the washer-end going in first, into the wax puddle, completely submerging the string except for where you’re holding it. Be very careful as the wax will be very hot!
After dipping the string, quickly lay it flat on a sheet of newspaper (keep this nearby to reduce the chance of getting wax drops all over). Immediately pull the string straight so you get a straight, stiff wick. Let it dry (it will just take a couple minutes).
Once dried, the wick should be nice and stiff. (If it’s stuck to the newspaper, carefully use a knife to slide between it and the newspaper to free the wick.) Place washer-end of the wick in the jar and lay a wooden skewer or disposable chop stick across the jar’s opening. Then wrap the free end of the wick around the skewer to hold the wick in place while you pour the hot wax. (Place the jar on a sheet of newspaper to prevent wax spills.)
Adding the oil
Once almost all of the wax is melted (this may take about 30 minutes of heating), add the palm oil (or coconut oil) (if you want to use it). Just scoop it on in and mix it using a wooden skewer or disposable chop stick. Mix it well and allow it all to melt.
Pouring the candle
Once everything is all melted, put on some oven mitts and carefully and slowly pour the melted wax into the jar. It helps if you have one person pour while another person holds the skewer in place, but be careful not to spill the hot wax on anybody! Pour until the jar is about 1/3 to ½ full.
Let the candle cool and harden. Depending on the size of the candle, this may take just a few hours or up to 24 hours. (Do not move the candle while it hardens.)
Once it’s hardened, cut the candle’s wick so that it’s about 0.5 cm to 1.25 cm (or about ¼ to ½ inches) long. I recommend using very sharp scissors, such as hair-cutting scissors, to cleanly cut the waxy wick.
Most tools used can be easily cleaned using very hot water (to melt the wax). For the Pyrex cup, it’s easiest if you wipe down the inside using paper towels right after pouring the wax (but be careful because it will still be quite hot!), and then clean with hot, soapy water.
Special thanks to this very informative website on making beeswax candles and this useful video on making beeswax candles.
Step 4: Turning the Candle Into a Glowstone
Printing the Glowstone texture
In this step there is a Glowstone texture picture (the last picture above, and attached as a PDF) that you can print out and use to glue onto your candle to turn it into a Glowstone (be sure to print it landscape-style). The texture was made to fit the 10-ounce jar I used, which had square sides that were about 7.0 cm (or 2.75 inches) per side. If the sides of your jar are not the same, you can use an image editing program to change the size of the attached texture so it fits around your jar.
Cutting and folding
Cut out the rectangular Glowstone texture (cutting away the arrows) and then fold along where the arrows are pointing. Make sure it fits nicely around the jar.
Use a foam brush to spread a thin layer of white glue on one side of the candle. Carefully place the first square panel of the Glowstone texture on the side of the candle. (Do this on a flat surface so you can be sure the panels going on the candle are completely straight.)
Special thanks to this website on mason jar crafts.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Minecraft Glowstone Candle!
Light up your candle and enjoy the soft yellow light from your “functional” Minecraft Glowstone!
Because it can be challenging to harvest it in The Nether, your Glowstone block is a rather novel lighting alternative to Minecraft torches, so show off your Glowstone block with pride!