Hey folks!! I wanted to share an activity that I had fun with over the weekend during this crazy 2013 Blizzard. I usually try and save the weekends for some creativity action unless we are traveling somewhere so this project fell right into that plan.
I also want to start of by mentioning that I'm not a candle-making expert by any means! This was only my 2nd time making beeswax candles, and my first time using molds. I'm sharing my experience with this project because it was relatively easy and fun for me, and I got to use my new candles in the evening already. It feels really rewarding to create a light vessel and then be able to use it!
I generally like to use beeswax candles most nights at our house. Because we are off-grid, and our electricity comes from our solar powers during the day - and electricity we use at night is coming from whatever we were able to charge to our batteries during sun hours. We are super mindful about having lights on at night, so we've gotten used to having a pretty dark house at night. I really enjoy it because we're not creating too much "artificial light" by having lots of lights on around our house. Some nights are quite bright in our house because of the moon shining in - we have huge passive solar windows on the south side of our house. Lately, we end up having one light on with a few candles and that feels plenty bright to us. Even last night, I was painting something for a project and I just used candles for my light source.
First step: create a working space. I encourage this as to not make a huge mess in whatever room you are working in, etc. I was working in the kitchen to be near the stove, but I didn't want to get any beeswax on our counters, so I made sure I had a big enough space to get messy in. We happen to have a big roll of parchment paper at our house so I used that to protect the counters – newspaper or any paper would be great. Since it was my first time making candles with molds, I wanted to get everything ready since the beeswax can start to harden within a couple of minutes of taking it off the stove.
I started off by using a stainless steel pitcher and a pan of water as my double boiler. The pitcher came from the website where we purchased the rest of the candle making supplies. I used a metal mason jar (wide mouth) ring lid - not the middle part to give the pitcher a boost in the pan. The beeswax melted down in this setup quite easily.
I had only a spool of wick like you see above, not any of the pre-waxed wicks with the metal bases. So I had to get crafty with holding the wick for each votive. Instead of pouring the wax in all at once, I poured a tiny bit in the bottom to secure the wick in the center, and then repeated for each one. I went back and poured a bit more in each one, but this time made sure to soak the wick in wax. The wax immediately hardens making the wick stiff and able to remain centered!
This is right after pouring the last of the wax into each votive:
They aren't the most beautiful votives on the planet, but I feel pretty good about them! It was my first time making them after all. They easily solidified in about 5 minutes at the temperature it was in our kitchen, then fully hardened enough to remove from the molds in 20 minutes or so. Depending on how fast you want the mold emptied (maybe you are making lots!) - you can put it in a cooler place in your house - the basement, root cellar, mud room, or even the freezer would get them done very quickly.
I also attempted some taper candles in the mold, but the wick I currently have is too thick for this mold, so I was only able to get two of them done. Next on the list - the right wick for the tapers and molds for pillar candlers (much larger and taller candles - round or square)!
I'll be back soon with progress on my candle skills. For now, I'm encouraging you to find a fun homesteading-like activity that you can get excited about and produce something!