Homemade beef tallow candles add a beautiful glow to any room of the house.
Unwind with a few candles around your bathtub at night or read your toddler to sleep by candle light. However you enjoy candles the most, this will be a good fit!
Benefits of Non-toxic Tallow Candles
- Tallow candles do not pollute the air like conventional candles
- There are no artificial scents and dyes, which release additional chemicals when burned and lead to indoor air pollution
- Non-toxic candles will never be linked to asthma or compared to being as harmful as second hand cigarette smoke like paraffin based candles
- Unlike some conventional wicks, natural wicks are lead-free and do not contaminate your home with dangerous levels of lead
- Homemade candles give an opportunity to source local and sustainable resources from farmers
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What’s wrong with store bought candles?
Unfortunately, there are many hidden ingredients in low-quality, mass produced candles.
Paraffin wax is the major ingredient in most conventional candles. It is a by product of petroleum and coal processing and technically considered a waste product from these industries.
When paraffin is burned, it emits benzene and toluene which are both highly toxic and known carcinogens. In 2001 the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that burning paraffin candles emits harmful amounts of toxins in the air, considered dangerous with multiple exposures. Some claim the black smoke emitted from paraffin candles is on par with inhaling diesel fumes.
Even through the EPA officially banned lead wicks in 2003 there are still many candles on the market with lead-core wicks. Candles made in China, for example, have no regulation of lead content and continue to to fill the market.
Since the 1970’s different agencies have issued warnings over health concerns of petroleum (and other chemicals like acetone, tetrachloroethene, chlorobenzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, xylene, phenol, cresol, cyclopentene, lead, and carbon monoxide) that are constitute mass produced store bought candles.
The big problem? Candle manufacturers are not required to list or disclose hazardous, toxic or carcinogenic compounds used in their products. It is up to the individual to be an educated consumer.
After reading up on the modern candle making process and concerns over certain chemical constituents, I was eager to find an alternative.
Tips for Homemade Tallow Candles
The method is flexible, it’s best for me to give a general guideline so you can adjust in proportion to your mold.
Mold options vary, I often recycle plastic water bottles into candle molds. Dixi cups, muffin tins, or mason jars are also possible choices. Silicon candle molds work well also.
At night, we use salt lamps, a red light therapy device, and candles as our main light sources. I can say from first hand experience, these tallow candles burn slowly and one large candle will last through the entire week with heavy use. A pint size candle burns for about 14 hours.
Save the wax as it melts down around free standing candles (not those in mason jars) to melt again and reuse in future batches.
Homemade Tallow Candles
- Double boiler or DIY solution
- Hot glue
- Candle wicks and stands
- Candle Molds: plastic bottles, dixie cups, silicon molds, or mason jars
- Popsicle sticks or pencils
- Melt enough tallow to fill your mold. I melt my tallow at a low temperature in a glass pyrex in the oven, you can also use a double boiler.
- While the tallow is melting, dab a small bit of hot glue on the wick stand and attach to the bottom of your mold or use a wick sticker.
- Arrange two popsicle sticks with the wick resting in between, this keeps the wick straight in the container.
- Allow the tallow to cool a bit, while still liquid pour into the candle mold.
- Add optional essential oils and stir them in, careful not to disturb the wick.
- Cool in the fridge or at room temperature. Once the tallow is hard, remove from mold but cutting it away or popping out of the silicon rubber. If using mason jars, the candles remain in the glass to be burned.
- If stored in normal conditions (not too hot or damp) the can easily last a few months.