Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Candle Making

     I started making candles in my hippy dippy days.  I used tuna cans, sand casts made in a beer flat, milk cartons, sea shells, and a cake roll pan and leftover  or thrown away candles for wax.  I thought I was truly cool.  Making candles lead to candle gift giving, and candles for hurricanes that looked like they came straight from the head shop! 
     I still like to make ice candles.  You stack ice cubes along the sides of a candle mold and pour the wax over it.  It melts some of the ice, and the ice cools some of the wax at a speed that gives you a laced effect.  It's just a favorite trick of mine but not a skill needed to make a working light.  

     For the purpose of prepping, candle making is a skill you may want to acquire.  To make a candle, you need a wick and wax.  It sounds absolutely simple until you go to Youtube and start watching the videos posted by the pros.  Some of them have huge vats of melted wax and talk the science of candle making in a workshop environment, or they talk way too happy to be standing so close to hot wax!  I cannot recommend any one of them in particular.  But, if you have never made a candle, before you go buying candle making supplies, watch a few videos and talk to a home crafter first. 
     It is fun and easy after you make sure you are taking all the precautions for safety working around heat and a wax that will combust if left unattended.  For my grandchildren, the first lesson they get in candle making is rolling bees wax around a wick.  It is easy and safe and very impressive as a gift for a parent! 

     You can buy beeswax sheets at a hobby store like Hobby Lobby, JoAnn etc. or Michael's.  LAy a wick down at one end and roll tightly.  That is it!  I have put a link at the right under the photo because they show a child making these candles.  Safe and easy and great to have in the prepper skill library.
     Next step up from the cold process beeswax candle is the sand candle.  Place sand in a container (a box or bucket), dampen the sand to make it hold it's shape, dig a hole, put a tea light wick or weighted weighted wick in the hole, fill with hot wax.   This photo shows using a wick tied over the hole and a used candle suspended over the hole!  Cool Idea and easy way to use those candle end pieces!  When the wax cools, remove candle and use as you would any store bought expensive boutique candle!  You can line the hole you have made with shells, marbles, found objects or charms as they do at expensive boutiques, for gift giving.  

     I went to a grand opening of a Hobby Lobby store last week and made a mental list of the crafts that could be taught to a child that would serve them well even in an off the grid life.  Candle making was on top of the list.

     As I am all about saving money and not buying the supplies unused at top price in stores without a coupon....I get my wax at thrift stores, and yard sales.  Most thrift stores sell the big block or pillar candles at a fair price considering they cost four or five times that at retail, but, if you look in the thrift stores bag or miscellaneous bin area you may find a bag of broken taper candles or candles that have been in the store too long.  They bag them up and mark them down and you can get several pounds of wax to use for two or three dollars.  Also, at yard sales, if you are shopping for wax and not for designer candles, go when it is noon or the heat of the day and make an offer for ALL the wax candles melting in the sun!  

Before I leave this section, I do not care for gel candles for prepping.  I know they are smokeless, but the supplies do not store well and take up a lot of space. 
Floating candles are a great alternative, if you have stocked a lot of oil or if your oil stores go a bit beyond their best date.  Float oil on top of water in a container.  Add wick and you are done! 
Yes, I can make my own wicks that float, but I have no time or video to share that will make the explanation short.  You can go to this instructables site for some ideas.


     I bought several spools of 100% cotton twine at the Dollar Tree today. I think I need four more!  This twine is perfect for wicks.  I wax my own instead of buying pre-cut pre-waxed craft store wicks.   

    Waxing the wicks; I cut the wick I need and tie it to a wood bead or to an old nut from the hardware drawer.  I place the wick on a candle and holding it down with my thumb, I pull the wick through thumb and candle and that coats the wick with wax making it stiff, and, when tied to a dowel over the mold, it keeps the wick straight in the mold.

    Wicks can be purchased in bulk for storage, crafting sales or gift giving from many sites.
 Here are two.

No comments: