President of the Cullman Beekeeping Association teaches candle making class at the Agriplex

(Photo from Facebook)

CULLMAN, Ala. – As a part of the Cullman County Extension Office and North Alabama Agriplex’s Prepare for the Fair Series, Phillip Garrison, president of the Cullman Beekeeping Association, taught a candle making workshop Tuesday evening at the Agriplex. He taught the class to make candles out of beeswax and soy. Garrison’s father and grandfather were both beekeepers, so he kept the family tradition going with his own 120 colonies of bees.

He said, “I’ve been around bees all my life. One of the byproducts of beekeeping is the wax.”

He described the process of capping beehives and frames to get the beeswax. “If you’ve ever seen a frame of honey, the outside, the bees cap it off, that’s what I use for making candles. It is called cappings wax.”

He explained the process of melting and straining the wax to clean it. Natural beeswax will come out a bright yellow color. Garrison explained that the candles could be dyed different colors, but purple and light colors were difficult to dye to because of the original bright yellow color.

Several participants of the class made their own hand dipped candles by repeatedly dipping wicks into wax and water alternatively.

Garrison stated, “Beeswax burns very very hot. When you burn a beeswax candle, it needs to be in a good quality candle holder.” He said that beeswax is meant to be a good healthy burning candle. He also recommended using flex molds instead of hard plastic ones, because while the flex molds are more expensive, they last for several years. Garrison demonstrated making taper, hand-dipped and poured candles.

Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune

For the fair, Garrison said the judges will look for perfection in the candles. He said he would love to see more people participating in displaying their candles at the fair. “I’m looking forward to some variety that we’ve missed out on at the fair.”

Phillip recommended using the companies Betterbee, Mann Lake and Candlewic for bee supplies. To purchase any of Phillip’s candles, contact him at 256-507-0262.

The Agriplex will be hosting bi-monthly homemade crafts and goods workshops in order to increase participation at the Cullman County Fair. The July and September events will be held at the Cullman County Extension Office. The next events will be:

March 22- Growing Gourds

May 17- Jams & Jellies

July 7- Seeds for Fall

Sept 15- Fair Registration

For registration information, call 256-737-9386.

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