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Candle-making Part 1: Ingredients

soy wax flakes as Candle-making ingredients
Soy wax flakes

Candle-making ingredients

At Mill Cottage, the home of Craftsteading, we strive to provide products and services that are ethical, organic, cruelty-free and sustainable. This is why we offer SOY WAX and COCONUT WAX as candle-making ingredients.

They’re available at our online store.

Coconut wax, obtained by a simple extraction process, burns slowly and it is good at giving off scent. It’s probably the most sustainable and ethical of all commonly available candle waxes. but it’s quite soft. Blending it with soy wax helps make it firmer.

It is not easy to source soy wax that is verifiably 100% non-GMO and sustainably farmed, and we cannot guarantee that this is the case, but we have done the best we can.

What’s the problem with palm wax and palm oil?

Avoid palm oil unless you’re sure it comes from a sustainable source! Palm oil comes from the fruit of oil palm trees, whose botanical name is Elaeis guineensis.
Palm oil has been and continues to be a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino. This forest loss coupled with conversion of carbon rich peat soils are throwing out millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. There also remains some exploitation of workers and child labour. These are serious issues that the whole palm oil sector needs to step up to address.

What’s the problem with beeswax?

Beeswax is natural and sustainable. Many people, however, say that beeswax is not ethical, because bees are exploited so that we can get it, and that is a viewpoint we respect.

We prefer to help honey-bees by growing bee-friendly plants in our garden and not using any pesticides.

Popular plant waxes as candle-making ingredients

Candelilla wax

Candelilla wax comes from small shrubs native to Northern Mexico and the Southwestern regions of the United States; botanical names Euphorbia cerifera and Euphorbia antisyphilitica.  

Referred to as the candelilla shrub, the name means “little candle”, as candles were the first products made from the plants.

Wax is obtained by boiling the plant, which separates the natural wax for processing.

Myrica fruit wax 

Myrica fruit wax is derived from Myrica cerifera, the Wax Myrtle. It’s a hardy, deciduous (occasionally evergreen) tree, native of eastern North America and growing to about 40 feet. Also known as Candleberry, candle bush or Bayberry, it’s a fast-growing shrub found on most continents. The tiny fruits have a natural powdery wax coating which is extracting through boiling, separating and extraction. The wax yield is one of the highest of any plants, making bayberry a popular source for candle making. 

Wax-bearing plants

This list of other plants that provide waxes suitable for candles is from Plants for a Future. You might be surprised to learn that sugarcane is among them!

BOTANICAL NAMECOMMON NAMES
Asclepias incarnataSwamp Milkweed, Swamp Butterfly Weed, Marsh Milkweed
Ceroxylon alpinumWax Palm
Copernicia albaCaranday Palm, Caranda Palm, Caranda Palm Wax
Copernicia pruniferaBrazilian Wax Palm, Carnauba Palm, Carnauba Wax
Euphorbia antisyphiliticaCandelilla
Fraxinus bungeanaXiao Ye Qin
Irvingia gabonensisDika Nut
Jatropha curcasPhysic Nut, Barbados Nut
Juniperus osteospermaDesert Juniper, Utah juniper
Juniperus scopulorumRocky Mountain Juniper, Weeping Rocky Mountain Juniper, Colorado Red Cedar
Ligustrum japonicumJapanese Privet, Japanese Ligustrum, Waxleaf Ligustrum, Texas Privet, Waxleaf Privet
Ligustrum lucidumChinese Privet, Glossy privet, White Wax Tree, Tree Ligustrum
Ligustrum obtusifoliumBorder privet
Myrica californicaCalifornian Bayberry, California Wax Myrtle, California Barberry
Myrica ceriferaWax Myrtle – Bayberry Wild Cinnamon, Southern Bayberry, Wax Myrtle, Southern Wax Myrtle
Myrica galeBog Myrtle, Sweetgale
Myrica heterophyllaBayberry
Myrica nagiBox Myrtle
Myrica pensylvanicaNorthern Bayberry
Rhus chinensisChinese Gall, Chinese sumac
Rhus succedaneaWax Tree
Rhus sylvestrisWoodland Rhus
Rhus trichocarpaHairy-seeded Rhus
Rhus wallichiiWallichii’s Rhus
Saccharum officinarumSugarcane, Purple Sugar Cane
Santalum acuminatumQuandong
Sapium sebiferumVegetable Tallow, Chinese tallow, Popcorn Tree, Chinese Tallow Tree
Stipa tenacissimaEsparto Grass, Esparto
Wax-bearing plants

PLANTS FOR CANDLE WICKS

[Source: PFAF] Wicks for candles and lamps can be made from the following plants, both natives of Britain:

  • Eriophorum angustifolium – Cotton Grass: A hardy perennial growing about two feet tall in peat bogs, acid meadows and marshes.
  • Verbascum thapsus – Aaron’s Rod: A hardy biennial growing in sunny positions in cultivated fields and waste ground. It is also often grown in the flower garden.
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