The Evolution of My Corn on the Cob Candles and the Use of Beeswax

My first corn on the cob, 2015

“What is it?” asked my colleague.

“What do you mean?” I asked as I held out my latest creation. “It’s a corn on the cob candle.”

The art teacher squinted at it. “Oh yeah,” she finally said with the patient tone of an instructor who was observing the substandard work of a less than talented student. “I see it now.”

I sighed.

The kernels of this candle were admittedly vague and poorly formed. As a novice with using silicone in 2015 I had made the first timer’s mistake of using a defrosted corn cobette for the production of this silicone mold. The problem with using defrosted corn was that the kernels were soft which was why the kernels were poorly formed and indistinct.

Four years later I found an Etsy vendor who sold corn on the cob silicone molds. Unlike the mold I had made four years earlier, this mold formed a half cobette. The detailing of the individual kernels was exquisite. To form a candle, I would first have to create two halves which would then be “glued” together using warm wax.

Pictured below is the first candle I made using this mold. In the background can be seen samples of my first “grilled corn” cobette candles.

Although I was pleased with the way this candle turned out, the process of hiding the seam where the two halves were joined was time consuming and cumbersome. To hide the seam, I literally had to painted the edges with melted wax. I then used a smoothing tool from a sculpturing kit to rub the wax down to make the joined edges look seamless. To watch a short film about how this candle was made, click here.

Three more years passed. After having developed a lot more experience with making silicone molds, I decided to revisit the idea of making a corn on the cob candle. Instead of using a defrosted cobette, I used a frozen one. The frozen kernels were firm and would help with making a sharply defined mold. To keep the corn from moving or worse yet, floating to the top of the poured silicone, I glued it in place to the bottom of a plastic container.

Pictured below is the third (and hopefully final version) of a corn on the cob candle.

My latest corn on the cobette candle, 2022

Since I am currently out of the pillar wax I need to make my novelty food candles and am unlikely to be resupplied until early March due to supply chain issues with the company that produces my wax; I decided to make my latest version of corn candles using beeswax that I purchased through Amazon. Beeswax is an all natural ingredient that’s a residue byproduct of honeycombs. This wax is secreted by the bees from eight glands that open onto each insect’s lower abdomen. After the wax hardens, the bee chews on it to make it soft and pliable. The softened wax is then used to form the hexagonal cells of the honeycomb.

Beeswax was first used to make candles by the ancient Egyptians sometime around 3000 BC. They remain popular with candlemakers today for many reasons. One of the best things about this wax is that when they are burned they release negative ions that bond to microscopic contaminants in the air. These contaminants then fall out of the air to become dust which can easily be cleaned up. While there are electric air scrubbers that will clean the air in your home, beeswax candles do this naturally.

Unscented beeswax candles have a sweet honey scent. Since this wax is quite dense, they also burn much longer than paraffin or soy wax.

While soy wax candles will lose their scent and their colors will fade in time especially if they’re kept in sunlight, beeswax will last for years without going stale. With a melting point of 149° which is higher than paraffin or soy wax, these candles will also burn a lot brighter.

The two major drawbacks to using beeswax is that they only have a fragrance load of 6%. Other types of wax have the ability to hold more fragrance which means that they will have stronger aromas. The other drawback to using beeswax is that this type of wax is quite expensive. Whereas paraffin wax costs about $2.01 per pound (based upon who the supplier is) and pillar wax costs about $2.99 per pound, a pound of beeswax costs about $8.99. That’s three times more expensive than the CC-35 wax that I’ve been using to make most of my candles.

Pictured below is a timeline and side by side comparison of my corn on the cobette candles.

I used beeswax to make this initial production run of just four candles. Since I have been unable to find anyone who makes a cob candle fragrance, I scented these candles using a carnival corn aroma. Also known as fiesta corn, carnival corn is made by pan frying corn kernels with diced onions and red and green peppers.

Having run out of the yellow candle dye that I had used to make the corn candle in 2019, I used a colorant from another supplier and belated discovered that different manufacturers make different shades of yellow. The yellow dye provided by my current supplier is a few shades darker than the one I had previously used.

While I don’t think this shade of yellow is unattractive, the darker shade will limit the range of options for future usage. For example, if I were to make a glazed berry tart with a yellow custard filling, I would prefer to use a lighter shade of yellow.

A lighter shade of yellow would also be useful for simulating the yolk of a fried egg. Pictured below is a production test model for a fried egg with ham on Texas toast candle.

I also need a lighter shade of yellow to make baby corn and pineapple. Pictured below is an orange chicken candle with pineapple.

The need for a lighter shade of yellow candle dye will be moot if I am unable to resupply the wax I need. Assuming my candle supplier is able to restock the ingredients needed to make the wax I use to make my candles, I should be able to order a resupply by the end of next week. Depending upon where I fall on the supplier’s order list, I could receive this wax sometime in early March.

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