*Making Your Own Candles*
By: Solar
25 June 2003

Making your own candles at home can be both an inexpensive, enjoyable hobby and a basic survival skill.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

1. Wax

A good, general all-purpose wax is plain old Paraffin Wax, often found in the canning section of grocery, craft, and hardware.

2. Wick

Very basic, all candles need wicks. You can purchase wicks from craft stores or make your own by dipping cords or heavy string into warm wax and allowing themto dry on a sheet of wax paper.

3. Mold

This is what you will pour the hot wax into. No need to get fancy, recycle your cans, glasses, small cardboard boxes, and/or hard plastics.

4. Container for Melting Wax

Once again, no need to get fancy, you can use a saucepan filled with water as an alternative, placing the actual wax into an old coffee tin and then into the water for heating.

5. Thermometer

A candy thermometer will be fine.

6. Releaser

A substance which allows you to remove the hard wax from the mold without damaging the candle - Cooking oil, silicone spray will work well - do not use anything with a petroleum base, as it may emit toxic fumes while the candle is buring..

7. Pencils or dowels

To be used as wick holders.

8. Wooden Spoon

For stirring wax.

9. Wick Cutter

Knife or scissors

10. Optionals

Scent is optional ingredient , however, herbs (rosemary, basil, mint) and spices (vanilla) work very well - no need to buy expensive artificial scent. Remember, Citronella repels bugs!!! Color is optional - however, it might be fun to experiment with natural plant dyes, food coloring, ink, or crayons. Although not necessary, you can add things to your wax for decorative purposes, such as leaves, herbs, plastics and beads, broken pieces of tile, or dishes, seashells, small pretty stones, even jewelry to add a little something special to your creation.

SOME BASIC SAFETY PERCAUTIONS - Never leave melting wax unattended. Never place wax directly into a saucepan or heating device on it's own. Never put water on a wax fire. Never overheat wax because fumes from overheated wax can cause severe illness.

In addition, KNOW YOUR FLASH POINT. Use a thermometer when working with wax. Flashpoint is the temperature at which wax will combust. The Flashpoint is the absolute maximum that a given wax can be heated to. Typically, If you're using Paraffin or simple canning wax, the Flashpoint is 375-degrees. That means you should keep your temperature well below 375-degrees for safety reasons.

Instructions

1. Making Wicks

You can use common white string. Braid in two or more strands, soak in a solution of 2 Tablespoons salt, 8 ozs. water and 2 Tablespoons borax. Allow to dry completely. OR buy commercial candle wicks.

A Word about Wicks - the size of your candle determines the thickness of your wick. If your wick is too small in diameter, it will fall over into the wax while burning. A little bit of trial and error is called for here if you are making your own wicks. Just start out making them at least three widths of string in diamter. Commercially purchased wicks are labeled as to the size of candle they are to be used with.

2. Heat Wax

Heat the wax container slowly to the proper temperature, placing the unmelted wax into your carrier. Generally, a temperature of 140-degrees is sufficient for all forms of Paraffin.

3. Releaser

As the wax is in the beginning stages of melting, spray or coat the inside of your molds with your releaser and set them aside in an area where it's safe to pour the wax.

4. Wooden Spoon

Stir the melting wax gently with a wooden spoon.

5. Time for Your Optionals

Once the wax is completely melted, this is the proper time to add scents (a little goes a long way! No more than one teaspoon of oil or herbs is usually necessary.) and coloring. Gently stir the wax for a few moments, allowing the color to blend and the scent to mix.

6. Pouring Wax in Mold

Using a hotpad, lift container of melted wax out of the water and pour slowly into the molds. Remember, do not fill to the top. Leave at least a one-inch margin on the top of each mold.

7. Placing Wicks

As the wax hardens, get the wicks, tying one end to the middle of a pencil. Slowly drop the free end of the wick into the wax, and rest the pencil on top of the mold. This will prevent the wick from falling into the wax as it's hardening. This is the time to add the other interesting nonflammable bits and pieces of interesting things, however, donít forget not place these things around the perimeter of the candle, not near the wick!.

Typically, It will take several hours for the wax to harden to the proper consistency. Many experts recommend allowing the wax to harden overnight before removing the candles from their molds. Once the wax has hardened, the candle should slide out freely from the mold when turned upside down.

8. More Optionals

You can add decorations such as ribbons or flowers to the outside of the candle for gift giving, or place it in a decorative tray or box.


Solar



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