Roll Your Own

What makes rolled candles so easy to produce is the availability of commercially produced sheets of wax made specifically for rolling. Although it is possible to make sheets of wax for rolling candles yourself, this is not advised. Wax sheets are available at craft shops and from candlemaking suppliers and they come in dozens of lovely colors.

There are two types of commercially prepared wax sheets for making rolled candles: the majority are made of pure beeswax, which, although more expensive, are longer burning than paraffin or paraffin with stearic acid. The second type of sheet wax is a mixture of beeswax and paraffin, which is less expensive than pure beeswax.

Also available, though less often, are sheets of paraffin without beeswax. These are the least expensive of all, but have the disadvantage of a much shorter burn time.

Be sure to check the label to determine what wax or blend you are getting, as the price will vary accordingly. Don't pay the pure beeswax prices if paraffin has been added to the mix!

Plain or Honeycomb?

Most wax sheets for rolled candles are formed in a honeycomb pattern. This type of sheet is embossed with a hexagonal (honeycomb) indentation — it looks like the wax from a honeycomb! The most common size is 8″ × l6″. You can cut the sheets to suit your specific purpose. The honeycomb-patterned sheets are rolled out under an embossing wheel. You can purchase these in the natural beeswax colors (pale honey to dark brown), or you can purchase them in various colors that have been dyed after the wax was bleached.

Another type of wax for making rolled candles is smooth and flat. These are useful when you don't want a textured candle. The pure-white smooth sheets make an elegant-looking candle that gives a stylish appearance.

Keeping Your Sheets Warm

Sheets of beeswax bought preformed in a honeycomb pattern are ready for use. However, they need to be warm enough to be pliable before you start to roll. A blow-dryer is a handy tool to keep on hand for warming sheets of wax. Beeswax is the easiest to work with because of its natural flexibility.

Paraffin or beeswax/paraffin blend wax sheets are used in the same manner, but paraffin tends to be brittle. Therefore a blend or straight paraffin will be a bit more difficult to handle, requiring extra attention in order to keep the sheets warm enough to be pliable. If your wax sheets have become cold and aren't pliable enough to roll, you can do several things:

  • Using your blow-dryer, waft warm air over the sheets of wax

  • Iron them with a warm iron between sheets of paper

  • Quickly dip the sheets into hot water

If you have a buffet warming tray that can be set on low heat, you can use that to keep your paraffin or beeswax/paraffin blend sheets warm and pliable. Just make sure that it is a concealed-element warming tray as you don't want the sheets near an open heat source.

Here are some tips for preparing to roll your own candles.

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