here, here [PDF link], here, and from the local beekeeper of South County Honey who sold me the beeswax at the farmers' market.)
Materials: Quahog shells (that's what we call clam shells in Rhode Island), beeswax, wick (large cotton braided), hot glue gun, old pan (not used for cooking), and large tin can.
When I looked online for information on how to do this, I found lots of pieces here and there. I've put it all together in case you want to try this too. I'm not only loving the final product here, but I love how it's so very local. The shells were collected at a local beach, and the bees who made the beeswax live down the road.
To start, I rinsed any sand from the shells and boiled them gently, just to make sure they were clean. I used the same pan I later used for the water bath (same water, too). Once again, I borrowed the pan I long ago handed over to my kids' play kitchen. You don't want to use a cooking pan for this, just in case you get wax on it. Once the shells were dry, I used the hot glue gun to attach the lengths of wick to the bottom of the shells.
Next I needed to hack off some of that big block of beeswax so I could put smaller pieces in a clean tin can and melt them. Easier said then done. Eventually I managed.
I repeated this process until all the shells (13, some larger than others but none huge) were filled.
I have a corner of the original block of wax left. The beekeeper also told me that beeswax burns straight down, so as these burn it probably won't burn all the wax on the edges. He suggested two wicks in a large shell, but I ended up going with one in all of them. I think it'll be fine on the smaller shells; I'm not sure on the slightly bigger ones. There may be some unused wax around the edges--perhaps the recipients will collect it and make new candles?
Here are the candles, wicks not yet trimmed, in boxes on my slightly messy dining room table because it was time to feed the kids lunch and I needed my kitchen counter.
And one last photo, of a candle in hand so you can see the size.