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Basic Candle Making

This was posted to the list by Vira several years ago. It was such a good starting point for candle making that we had to put it in the home page. Well done Vira!

There are some excellent and easy-to-follow craft books available in libraries and stores on the subject, but here are some unusual ideas:

First off, I seldom bother with strings of wicks, unless I need a thick one for extra large candles. I'm not sure if this is available where you live, but I buy packs of *el-cheapo* (grin) candles which cost next to nothing, because they have nothing added - no colour, no scent, - just purely functional. I break the wax off those and melt it in a pot, but keep the wicks for re-use. They're much easier to work with that way because they already have a wax coating and retain their stiffness. For colour, throw a piece of wax crayon into the melting pot. For scent some essential oil, but wait until the wax is slightly cooled, if possible.

Nice, frothy-looking candles, esp for Christmas, are made by taking a plain white 'el cheapo' candles and securing them on a saucer/holder with a few drops of melted wax. Melt some wax chunks in a saucepan or clean tin . Remove from heat. Just as this starts setting, take a whisk/beater/hand mixer, and beat it till frothy. Now you need to work quickly so it doesn't get too hard. With a fork, apply mixture to prepared upright candle. Before it is completely set, you can sprinkle some glitter, herbs etc on for decoration.

Another method I like to use makes imaginative "ghostly" looking, swirled candles. Here you incorporate movement into the making, which seems to freeze it into the work, like some sort of Baroque masterpiece.

Secure an upright candle into a deep-ish saucer or holder. Melt some wax in pot with a bit of colouring. Take the whole works to a kitchen sink or bucket filled with cold water. Pour the melted wax into the deep-ish saucer and then plunge the works into the water. As you do so, keep your hand moving in circles (in a deosil pattern if you like). You may chant simultaneously, but that chant is likely to turn into a scream, as it requires a little practice to avoid the hot wax getting onto your fingers. Never mind, it soon blows over. These candles are very conducive to the imagination - it's easy to *see* all sorts of shapes in them.

Here's another : use those strong cardboard food containers which have a waxy inner lining (we get dairy products in them ). Make a small hole in the bottom for wick, and close it up again (Prestik works), or clay or anything to stop wax pouring out. The top of the wick is turned around a pencil which rests across top of container. On each of four sides you can place pressed flowers, pictures, whatever you like, then pour wax and let it set. What also looks nice is crumpled up small pieces of tin/kitchen foil pushed into wax (but keep these towards the outer edges as they might start burning rather violently in centre).

You can decorate candles by sticking anything onto them with a bit of melted wax. Any container which can stand the heat can be used, providing it is well greased. Baking utensils in star-shapes etc are nice. Sandwich 2 candles together with more wax.

Heavy tin foil makes imaginative moulds. Form it into any shape you like, embed in a bucket of sand (to give stability) and pour wax in. Its also an idea to crumple it first, so that when you pull it off again later, little bits of the foil have become embedded in the outer layer of wax.

I apologise if I've *waxed* on for too long. Am new around here so please forgive me for any posting misdemeanours.

Enjoy your candle-making, V.

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