Candles have been used for centuries to provide light, with early versions dating back to Ancient Egypt. While the composition of candles has evolved over time, their value remains significant in our modern world. One cost-effective and easily accessible option for creating candles is tallow, a rendered animal fat. Unlike paraffin wax, which is toxic and nonrenewable, tallow offers a sustainable and customizable alternative. In this article, we’ll explore the process of making tallow candles and the supplies you’ll need to get started.
Supplies for Handmade Tallow Candles:
The amount of supplies required will depend on your desired quantity of candles. For reference, two pint jars, two wicks, and approximately half a pound of tallow will suffice. You can adjust the quantities accordingly based on your preferences. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tallow (beef tallow, deer tallow, or any other type)
- Canning jars (or used jelly jars that can handle temperature changes)
- Cotton wicks
- Double boiler (or a DIY alternative)
- Pencils or popsicle sticks (two for each jar)
- Hot glue gun (optional)
Step 1: Melt
Begin by melting the necessary amount of tallow over medium heat in a double boiler or by creating your own makeshift setup. Once the tallow has melted, remove it from the heat source. Unlike beeswax, tallow takes a while to solidify, so you can allow it to cool while proceeding to the next step.
Step 2: Prepare Your Jar
While the tallow is cooling, prepare your jar to ensure the wick remains centered and reaches the bottom of the container. A useful technique involves placing a small dab of hot glue at the bottom of the wick and positioning it in the center of the jar. To keep the wick centered, you can balance a pencil or alternative materials on either side of it at the top of the jar.
Step 3: Pour
Carefully pour the melted tallow into the prepared jars, stopping just below the threads. Choose a location where the candles can cool undisturbed. The tallow will take some time to solidify at room temperature.
Once the candles have fully solidified, trim the wicks to approximately half an inch in length, and they’re ready to be lit.
A Few Tips
Here are some additional tips to enhance your homemade tallow candle experience:
- Burn the candles for at least two hours during the initial use to minimize tunneling. If tunneling occurs, you can remelt the tallow within the jar to reuse it later.
- Tallow candles do not emit a scent while burning. However, if desired, you can add a few drops of essential oils to create a pleasing aroma.
- Homemade tallow candles have an extended shelf life and do not go rancid easily.
With your own handmade tallow candles, you’ll not only enjoy the soothing glow of natural light but also embark on a sustainable and cost-effective journey. So why not try your hand at this simple yet rewarding skill?
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