Jar Candles From Deer Fat

Deer Fat Candle

Deer Fat Candle

A couple of days ago, I posted about rendering animal fat and used deer fat as my example.  There are many, many uses for rendered fat, and although I know the birds are hungry for some suet and we need more soap, I decided to take the easy way out and highlight deer fat jar candles today.  So, without much instruction needed, here is how to make a jar candle from rendered deer fat:

Step 1:

You will need the following supplies:

  • Glass jar – shorter and wider is better than tall and slim.  The more air that can get to the burning wick, the better.  In this example I have used a baby food jar, because, of course, I saved them.  (???)
  • Candle wick – this can be a true store bought candle wick or just a length of household twine, as is used here.
  • Stick to hold the wick in place.
  • Melted deer fat.
Deer Fat Candle - Supplies Needed

Deer Fat Candle – Supplies Needed

Step 2:

  • Tie your string on the stick at a length that just barely allows it to dangle at the bottom of the jar. An easy way to do this is to tie the string to the stick and then trim the bottom until you have it where you want it.  Make sure you have it centered because where it is will be where it stays.
Deer Fat Candle - Setting the Wick

Deer Fat Candle – Setting the Wick

 

Step 3:

  • Very slowly, pour in your melted deer fat.  It isn’t necessary to get the fat very hot, just enough to melt and pour it.  Make sure you leave enough room at the top of the jar to have about a half inch of wick showing.  Also when you’re pouring, make an effort to coat the string with the melted fat. A coated string lights and burns better once you’ve cut it to length in step 4.
Deer Fat Candle Cooling

Deer Fat Candle Cooling

 

Step 4:

  • Once your candle is completely cool, cut the wick to a length of  1/4″.  It’s now ready to light!  **Like other candles, keep the wick trimmed to 1/4″ to keep it burning efficiently.
Deer Fat Candle

Deer Fat Candle

 

 

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20 thoughts on “Jar Candles From Deer Fat

  1. Great question! Although it smells “game’y” (spelling there ?) when you’re rendering and melting it to pour, the fat doesn’t have much smell left when you start burning it. You can definitely add some fragrance. 2 or 3 drops of essential oil will do the trick. 🙂

  2. This is wonderful! I’ve had candles on the brain lately. I have a question on the directions. When you talk about pouring the fat in, you mention pouring “wax” over the wick – do you mean, pour the fat over the wick. Or should I melt a little beeswax to coat the wick.
    I suppose you can do this with any fat? I have always wondered if the “tallow” candles you read about in books had some wax mixed in or if they were straight fat, like these.
    How long do they burn?

  3. Thank you! Yes, it is fat that you’re pouring over the wick, there isn’t any actual wax in these. I guess I was just thinking in terms of it being wax in its new life. 🙂 I think I’ll go back and edit that in the post so that it’s not confusing! I do imagine it would work with any fat, tallow would definitely make a better taper than softer fats, though. I haven’t timed how long a burn time they have, but we’re still burning the one I made for this article, so it’s quite a while. Maybe I’ll pull out one of the others, light it and just let it go and see what we get! Ann

  4. Natalie

    If you don’t use the deer fat right away how long will it keep in the freezer for the purposes of candle and suet making?

  5. Oh man, I hate to admit to being so inefficient, (yeah, right haha…) but I can say from experience that a Ziploc bag of unrendered fat (just rough trimmed from the deer and stuck into a bag) will keep in the freezer for at least 2 years. Even if it gets a little ice accumulated on it, it doesn’t matter since you add a tad of water to the rendering pot anyway. We usually have several bags going at a time since there isn’t enough fat on one deer to make anything with. Also, I just made soap with some fat that was rendered and kept in the fridge since last year. I’m sure it would’ve been fine for candles, but maybe not suet since the birds would be eating it. An unintentional procrastination experiment? Haha!

  6. Thanks, Jayne! I need to update this post with the burn time. I had a lot of people ask about that and it turned out to be more than 8 hours for a babyfood jar size candle. I took pics and it is really interesting! 🙂
    Ann

  7. Hey Stephanie! The pig fat should render really well. There is a post about rendering fat on here but I’m not sure how to link that to this message. It’s just a few posts earlier than the jar candles post! Low and slow is a good rule and make sure to trim off any bits of leftover meat. Meat tidbits make the rendering more smelly. You can add a bit of water in the bottom of the pot to help get it started because the water will cook off anyway. Good luck, let us know how the pig fat does for candles! 🙂

  8. v

    We home educated, and when the guys were smaller made hand dipped deer tallow candles while studying the colonial and yankee clipper/whaling period of US history. They had no smell, burned the brightest of all the candles in the house, and were absolutely a breeze to make. I love ’em and when dh gets another deer (we’ve had a few sparse seasons), I claim the tallow…. candles and winter skin salve… what a great thing to use! 🙂

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  13. Michelle Rene

    My husband received lotion and salve rendered from bear fat from a customer he delivered to. He delivers propane. There was a slight smell to the lotion, but not bad enough that I wouldn’t use it.

    We always save deer fat for the birds. Hmm, the deer had an unusual amount of fat on them this year so the freezer is stalk piled with deer fat for the birds. I think I could manage to relocate some of it into my rendering pot and make us a few candles. Thank you for the idea!

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