Bottle tops can be used make colourful tealights to brighten up the dark winter nights.

by Pauline Aslin

Each one takes just 10 g of beeswax, so you do not have to be a large-scale beekeeper to have enough wax to make a few and, because it is enclosed in the bottle top, you can use discoloured wax that you might not normally use for candles.

Beeswax has a higher melting point than other candle waxes (63 ºC), which means it burns more slowly. These tealights will burn for about two hours.

wick sustainersA wick sustainer is important, as it will keep the wick from falling over, which would cause the flame to go out. These can be purchased from candlemaking suppliers and some beekeeping suppliers. The postage is usually more expensive than the wick sustainers themselves.

Making the tealights is simplicity itself.

wicks in tops

You will need:

  • some metal bottle tops
  • some wick (suitable for beeswax candles with a diameter of about 12–25 mm (0.5–1 in)
  • one wick sustainer per tealight
  • some reasonably clean beeswax
  • a double boiler (bain marie) or other means to melt the beeswax
  • a jug for pouring (not a precious one – it is unlikely ever to be quite the same again).

First acquire your bottle tops. There are some lovely colours and some interesting designs out there and, if you can’t drink enough wine yourself, I find there are usually others who will help!

Melt your wax in a double boiler (or a Pyrex glass or stainless-steel mixing bowl over a saucepan of hot water). Cut the wick into small pieces about 25 mm (1 in) in length and dip each one into the hot wax before threading it into a wick sustainer. You can then use pliers to squash the sustainer around the wick if you want, but I find the wax holds it in place quite nicely. I then give the wick and sustainer another quick dip in the wax, just to get enough wax onto the sustainer to make it stick to the bottom of the upturned bottle top.

Bottle top t-lights (640x570)

When you have a few wicks set into bottle tops, pour wax into each one to fill.

(A protective table cover is quite a good idea.)

Leave to cool.


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