Monday, November 14, 2011

Candles for Candles

Yesterday, I decided to make candles.  The old fashioned way.   I needed a certain size candle that is no longer readily available.  I wanted the natural shape of hand-dipped tapers.  I wanted red.

I find the cost of paraffin to be ridiculous at the craft stores.  And since I prefer beeswax (which is even more expensive,) I was very happy when I found a HUGE beeswax candle at the thrift store for $1.  It had some odd bits of dried fruit and lemon grass in it, but I knew I could strain those out after I melted it.  I began by using a chisel and a hammer to break the candle into small enough pieces to put in my melting can.

Wax should never be heated directly on the stove.  It should always be in a water bath.  And even then, a shallow steamer tray of some sort will give extra safety against the wax getting too hot on the bottom.   Wax that gets too hot can not only catch fire, it can explode.  I kept a fire extinguisher nearby.  Baking soda is also useful on a wax fire, but water is useless.

I knew I would need some sort of rack to hang the candles on.  I found an old wall CD rack and took a sledge hammer to break out the middle rungs.  This made a perfect cooling rack!

After my recycled wax was melted and strained of the bits and pieces, it was time to add color.

I bought a wax dye at the craft store that I melted into the melting pot.

I also bought a roll of wicking.

I cut pieces twice as long + 6 inches of the size candles I wanted to make.  A few dips in the wax and I was on my way.  Each string will become two candles.

Dip after dip after dip.  The first ones cool by the time I get to the last ones.  The rack held them separated just like I hoped.

Patience is required!  It is also important for your wax pot to cool down.  If it is too hot, you melt off as much wax as you put on with each dipping.

They are getting fatter!

Because the wax drips off the bottom, it is necessary to cut off the extra after a while.

Finally they are done!  Just the right diameter.  Just the right color.  Just the right handmade look!  I can't wait to use them for Christmas!

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