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beeswax candles

The flickering of soft candlelight is synonymous with cozy ­winter evenings. But most candles emit a range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can lead to headaches and respiratory problems. Candles made from petroleum-based paraffin wax have raised health concerns, and scented varieties often contain formaldehyde.

To create a comfy ambi­ance anywhere in your home, you can purchase natural, unscented beeswax candles — or follow these steps to make your own with the optional essential oils of your choice.


  • Beeswax, about 1 lb. pastilles (or 1 1/2 lb. for candles without add-ins)
  • 4 wicks
  • 4 mini tulip jelly jars (or any small jars)
  • Lightweight sticks or pencils (for wick placement)


  • Essential oils
  • Coconut oil
  • Dried herbs or pine twigs and twine or ribbon, for decoration

Step 1

step 1 illustration - warming beeswax

Melt beeswax in a double boiler or in a bowl set inside a saucepan or stockpot with a few inches of water. (Melted beeswax is tricky to clean, so use a dedicated glass or tin bowl.) Stir pastilles frequently to break up clumps of wax.

Step 2

step two illustration - string in jar

While the beeswax is melting, secure a wick to the bottom of each jar (wicks come preassembled from online retailers). Wrap the loose end around a pencil or stick until taut and straight; rest pencil or stick on jar so the wick is centered.

Step 3

step 3 illustration - pouring wax into jar

If desired, stir 1 to 2 tablespoons of your chosen essential oils into the melted beeswax. (Mixing in 1/2 cup coconut oil will help retain the scents.) Slowly pour the melted wax into the jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of clearance at the top. Let cool overnight. Once the candle is solid, shorten the wick and decorate the jar by tying herbs or pine twigs with twine or ribbon to give as a gift.

Photography by: Andrea D’Agosto; Styling by: Alicia Buszczak; Illustrations by: Colin Hayes
Profile picture of Courtney Lewis Opdahl
Courtney Lewis Opdahl

Courtney Lewis Opdahl is Experience Life’s managing editor and a member of the Inclusion Council at Life Time.

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