Bayberry candles were made from real berries in Colonial times and were considered “Good Luck.” Learn how to make them and the special good luck saying.
When my sister and I owned the herbal gift shop, selling bayberry candles at Christmas time was a big hit. They smelled really great, and we offered a little “good luck” tag (shown below) to go along with the candle.
History states that the early settlers first made their candles from tallow which was in short supply. Then someone discovered the waxy berries on the Northern Bayberry or Myrica pensylvanica. found all over the coastline.
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This native deciduous shrub was also very fragrant. When boiled in water the berries sink to the bottom and the scented wax floats to the top. The fragrant wax also burned much cleaner than the original tallow based candles. The only problem was that it took many, many berries, as much as 15 pounds to produce one pound of wax. Therefore, the candles were often saved for special occasions like Christmas and New Years.
You don’t see many real bayberry candles on the market, though some foragers and homesteaders still make them. Instead, you can purchase some bayberry fragrance oil and make your own bayberry candles for fun, and “good luck” at the holidays.
Most of the supplies came from candlescience.com. They have a great FAQ section that really helps you determine how much you need.
All in all, I think I ended up spending around $180 and made 60 candle tins, which comes out to $3 a candle. This also included the cute labels I bought from swankpress.com.
A couple of tips:
- Use a bit of hot glue to hold the wicks in place in the center of the tin.
- Once your wax melts, add the fragrance oil around 185 degrees F before pouring into tins.
- I used straws with a slit cut in the middle to hold up the wicks and keep them straight.
- Once they are completely cool, trim the wicks.
Bayberry Candles – For “Good Luck” in the New Year
The tins worked so well for this project and made a great fun affordable holiday gift.