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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Heaven   » Candle Making advice

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Candle Making advice
Lionel Pugh-Critchley
Apprentice
# 18700

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We're thinking of doing candle making at church for a small mixed age group activity.

We thought that this might well have been done in other places. Anyone any tips on how we can get going - such as a good starter pack?

We also wondered if its possible to recycle candle stubs to somehow use in the candle making.

Posts: 5 | From: St Oggs | Registered: Dec 2016  |  IP: Logged
kingsfold

Shipmate
# 1726

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I understand you can re-use candle stubs (someone took a whole load off our hands just before Christmas to do this!).

I think you need to melt them down and filter them to get rid of the leftover bits of wick and any sooty/discoloured bits.

Disclaimer: I've never done this, but it's what I was told when I was looking to find a way to recycle left-over candles at church.

[ 12. January 2017, 12:24: Message edited by: kingsfold ]

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I came to Jesus and I found in him my star, my sun.
And in that light of life I'll walk 'til travelling days are done


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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Yes, we have done this. In the day, our church used only tall beeswax candles in services, and there were mounds of candles too short to be reused. Someone acquired a candle mold in the shape of a dove, and we melted down all the short ends and made dove candles, which were sold for years. The money went to, yes, buy new tall candles.

If you do this yourself, it's important to sort out the real beeswax candles (if any) from the artificial wax ones, because they won't mix well. The odds are very long against your having any genuine beeswax candles -- you would know because they are eye-poppingly expensive. You don't actually have to strain out bits, because they all sink to the bottom of the pan and you just pour the liquid wax off (use a dedicated pan for this kind of work, a cheap one that you won't miss). Set up all the molds and wicks before you begin.

Also think about colors; colored candles can be melted together to get crazy psychedelic blends, or you can buy coloring agents for plain wax, or you can add crayons to the mix -- broken ends of old crayons are ideal for this. Many a preschool has demonstrated candlemaking by melting down straight crayons and nothing else.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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Two warnings, especially since this is for "mixed ages" --

Candle making is messy! Wax is a real challenge to clean up if it is spilled, and it usually heads straight for hard to reach crevices once it spills. If it gets on your clothes, good luck getting rid of it. Children, especially, should wear an old smock or something that you don't have to worry about.

Also, wax can be dangerous. Be sure to melt it in a double-boiler type set up (I used to use a large metal can inside an old pot with water in it) so that it doesn't get too hot or, at worst, catch fire. (That also means that if you're doing more than one color, you can have a different can for each one.)

However... candle making can be a great deal of fun with wonderful results. I used to do a great deal of it and have thought of taking it up again. Please keep us posted on how it goes!

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."

~Tortuf

Posts: 8400 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Graven Image
Shipmate
# 8755

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Warm not hot wax whipped with an old egg beater becomes like fluffy icing and can have glitter added in or not. When spread on the outside of a candle you have made looks very festive. We did this when using square milk cartons as the candle mold. Cheap and easy. You can also glue decorations to the outside using warm wax as glue or better yet a hot glue gun. Our youth group did candles with a holiday theme for a Christmas sale and they sold out.

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OddJob
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# 17591

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Use the correct thickness of wick for the width of the candle. To avoid molten wax leaking out alongside the wick when poured in, surround the wick with plasticene or that stuff used to hold posters on walls. After pouring the molten wax, tap the mould a few times to dislodge air bubbles which will otherwise mar the surface. You'll be amazed how much the wax contracts as it cools, and how many topping-ups it needs.
Posts: 93 | From: West Midlands | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Lothlorien
Ship's Grandma
# 4927

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Pigwidgeon's advice is timely and I would add that not only can wax catch on fire, it also makes extremely nasty burns on skin. Please be very careful, even more so if children are involved.

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TonyK

Host Emeritus
# 35

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Also made candles for some years - and sold the results at Christmas bazaars.

A bit expensive to start - you need moulds of some sort or other. Fancy moulds - usually rubbery - can be very difficult to remove. Plain straight moulds are much easier!

Used church candle-ends to start with - there was a small mountain of them! - but found it all getting a bit expensive when I had to buy the wax, and difficult to recoup the cost when candles were sold.

Eventually lost interest and gave the equipment away. Still have one or two of my candles though - the ones I couldn't sell!

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Yours aye ... TonyK

Posts: 2694 | From: Gloucestershire | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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I did this with a church group as a teenager.

The wax used was largely prepared wax pellets although old candles were melted. That said we use two methods of making candles. One was with moulds and another via dipping. Dipping oddly is the more long lasting as an activity as you dip, cool, dip again. You can dip in different colours if you want. While with moulds you fill the mould and leave.


Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Walking 18 miles to help Refugees get an education.

Posts: 20232 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Huia
Shipmate
# 3473

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Jengie's post reminded me of Trade Fairs that used to be held in Wellington over the school holidays when I was growing up. There was a local candle making firm who used to sell plain white candles and provide hot coloured waxes for dipping them into. It was exciting to see the colours change with repeated dipping. They also had hot metal shapes that could be branded onto the sides of the candles before a last dip, so that they stood out as a different colour.

When we cleared out the family home about 4 years ago we found a heap of these candles along with emergency supplies in case of a power cut. Mum being practical with our "works of art".

Despite all the side shows and attractions our family always headed for the candle dipping first.

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

Posts: 9360 | From: Te Wai Pounamu | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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I've made candles with Guides - one of the craft activities that can be done for the craft badge - and it was an activity for the girls to take home for Mothering Sunday.

It isn't one I want to repeat in a hurry - too hot and difficult to handle with 10-14 year olds. We didn't use pans, but used a slow cooker and a rice cooker.

I bought in kits and we filled scallop shells with either gel or wax with smaller things to fit in the clear gel and floating wicks.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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lily pad
Shipmate
# 11456

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Dipped candles take a lot of time to make and yet can hold the attention of 8-12 year olds. Much safer than any type where you pour the wax.

You can buy beeswax sheets in many colours. Cut with an exacto knife and roll up around a wick to make a rolled candle. Can be decorated with cookie cutter cutouts and with glitter. Popular and safe for the younger members.

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Sloppiness is not caring. Fussiness is caring about the wrong things. With thanks to Adeodatus!

Posts: 2191 | From: Truly Canadian | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Arethosemyfeet
Shipmate
# 17047

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I've dipped candles in the past (we melted down an old paschal candle and made baptismal candles). It's pretty straightforward. You need a tall, reasonably heat resistant container (spaghetti tins and the like are good) at least an inch longer than you want the candles to be. Chop up your left-over wax and put it in the tin. Put the tin in a pan of water and heat it until the wax melts. Candle wick is cheap on amazon or eBay. Measure the length you want and then a bit more to tie round a pencil or stick longer than the width of the tin. Turn off the heat, but you can leave the tin in the pan. Dip the wick into the wax and hang it somewhere to cool (spaghetti racks obviously ideal, but any to parallel rails should do). Do a few more while you wait for the first to cool. Then start from the beginning and dip again. If during the first few dips the candle cools crooked, don't be afraid to gently snap the wax straight before the next dipping (wick on its own tends to float). Keep going until the candles are the size you want (though be aware that different wicks have different recommended sizes).

This doesn't have to be done in one session, you can let the wax solidify and then melt it again, no harm done.

Posts: 2528 | From: Hebrides | Registered: Apr 2012  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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One hint about dipping candles: the hotter the wax, the thinner each layer will be.

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."

~Tortuf

Posts: 8400 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
Shipmate
# 13338

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Just an aside... if you don't need candles per se, but are just looking for a craft to do with kids, you might consider soap making. Much easier to do-- you can use a microwave to melt the glycerin-- but similar-- can use different molds, experiment with colors, additives, different ways of slicing to get fun results. But best of all the clean up is almost miraculously easy! You end up with stuff splattered all around just like you would with candle-making-- but the stuff that's splattered all around is soap! So a quick wipe-up with a wet sponge leaves the area cleaner than it was before.

Just a thought.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10280 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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I have fond memories of various episodes of candle-making--especially making sand candles, at a beach, with a youth group. I don't know if that's even allowed, now. But, basically, you started a fire; melted the wax; dug candle molds/pits into the sand; set up a wick; poured in the melted wax; and relaxed until the candle was cool enough and solid enough to be moved. Best to put it in something sturdy, like a box.

The beeswax sheets are fun.

I don't know if this is a safe method; but, when I was a kid, people would use a paper milk carton as a candle mold: open up the top; set up the wick; carefully pour in the wax; and peel the carton off the cooled candle. A variation involved putting ice in the carton, after putting in the wick (IIRC) and before pouring the wax. You got a candle with holes! But I'm not sure of the safety of combining ice and hot wax. Steam???

Plus some kinds of candle wax release unsafe fumes, when burned. And many people are sensitive to scents.

Some supply sources to check out:

S & S Worldwide has craft and project supplies for groups.

Betterbee, for beekeepers, has candlemaking supplies.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 16397 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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I've made milk carton candles and ones with ice -- never had any problems.

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."

~Tortuf

Posts: 8400 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
lily pad
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# 11456

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
I have fond memories of various episodes of candle-making--especially making sand candles, at a beach, with a youth group.....

Thanks for that memory! I can remember several summers worth of those while working at a camp. It was always a real favourite.

The ice and wax milk carton candles are quite safe to make - except for the pouring part as the wax is very hot. No steam that I recall. They make a very pretty candle.

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Sloppiness is not caring. Fussiness is caring about the wrong things. With thanks to Adeodatus!

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cliffdweller
Shipmate
# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by lily pad:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
I have fond memories of various episodes of candle-making--especially making sand candles, at a beach, with a youth group.....

Thanks for that memory! I can remember several summers worth of those while working at a camp. It was always a real favourite. .
Oh yes! And they can be made in a playground sandbox as I recall if you aren't able to get to the beach.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10280 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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This discussion is getting me thinking if this is a hobby I'd like to try again -- even though it would now mean messing up my own kitchen rather than my long-suffering mother's.

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"...that is generally a matter for Pigwidgeon, several other consenting adults, a bottle of cheap Gin and the odd giraffe."

~Tortuf

Posts: 8400 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
ArachnidinElmet
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# 17346

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This is interesting stuff. I was talking to some crafty friends about this at the weekend at one of them found on a quick internet search a kit that came with a purpose-made kettle that plugs into the wall. Presumably it's for safe heating of the wax pellets away from gas flames.

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'If a pleasant, straight-forward life is not possible, then one must try to wriggle through by subtle manoeuvres' - Kafka

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