A Collection Of Ideas Posted To The WAGGGS-L Mailing List
This info is just my summarization of what was sent to me. My thanks to Jane, Pat, Lela, May, and anyone else who sent me replies--the *real* brains behind these ideas! *grin*
I've divided up the candle-making process into a few different sections...
This is determined by the size of the container being used. If your wick is too thin, it will obviously be drowned by the wax--if it's too thick, there won't be enough wax to feed it and the wick will burn too fast. When you purchase the wick, there will be instructions on the wick that will help you. (Thanks, Jane!)
This is obviously one of those activities which should involve constant adult supervision, and the adults themselves should melt the wax and pour it to ensure no girl gets burned. The wax can be purchased at any large grocery store which stocks canning supplies (paraffin wax). May Miller suggested the wonderful idea of using a double boiler of sorts to melt the wax. If you do not have old pots that you *want* to ruin by melting wax in them, try using a clean, large, empty coffee can to place the wax in--then set the coffee can inside a large pot of boiling water. This method will avoid painful "splatters".
Now, what to do with the melted wax??
Pack sand into the bottom of margarine tub, ice cream tub, small baby food jar, bottom of gallon milk jug, etc. (I have read about troops using wet and dry sand...) Scoop out a hollow of sand in the inside of the tub (or other container). This means that the sides of the container are built up with sand more than the center. Be sure the sand is packed well. Tie a piece of wick onto a pencil or popsicle stick, with the other end of the wick buried in the hollow part of the sand. Carefully pour wax into the molded sand (preferably using a small pouring instrument to avoid any accidents) and allow to dry. When dry, remove candle from mold! Adults can trim off any overflow edges.
Follow the above instructions, but do not use sand. Instead, while holding the wick in place with a pencil, pour wax and wait for it to dry. When dry, trim the wick, and decorate the jar (if you already haven't), and you've got a great keepsake or gift!
This is the old fashioned style of candle-making that I remembered doing myself. Begin by melting wax. Place the pot of wax on a table covered in newspaper. Cut the wick to the desired candle length and tie to a pencil as instructed above. Each time the girls walk around the table, they dip their wick into the wax (now you know why the table is covered in newspaper!). This is great because the group can talk or sing or plan while the candles are being made. When the candles have reached the desired size, hang them to dry/harden by pushing two tables together with pencils bridged between them with candles hanging over newspaper placed below.
At a local pioneer festival they do a slight variation on this. They put the wax in three cans, and alternate the cans with cans of cold water. You dip the wick three times in the 1st can, then once in the can of water, three times in the 2nd can, once in the water, etc. Repeat until the candle is the desired thickness. The cold water makes it harden a little faster. At the end, the candle will still be slightly soft so you can flatten the bottom against a piece of foil before you hang it up to harden.
Use a pint size carton and cut the top off. Make a small hole at the bottom in the center of the cardboard. Push the wick up through the hole and tie a knot in it under the carton to hold it in place. You may want to place tin foil under the carton if you're worried about spilling--but definitely make sure you keep the hole small (I just found that out for myself--the hole wasn't as small as I thought it was!). Make sure to remember that the carton will *not* sit flush with a flat surface now. Tie the wick around a pencil or popsicle stick so it is tight. This can be placed across the edge of the top of the carton. Fill the carton with ice cubes and then pour in melted wax. This method cools faster because of the ice--but remember to dump out the small amount of water that will be left over! This method also requires much supervision because of the danger of hot wax seeping through the hole...
Try adding shavings of crayons for coloring. Try dipping candles in different colors for a prettier candle. Try adding perfume drops for scent.
You could also buy sheets of beeswax from a craft store (Michael's, Frank's, etc.). Use one roll per candle and simply roll a wick up in the sheet.