Candle Making

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Make candles dipping and rolling, and shaping


Available from most large craft shops
For dipping - ordinary paraffin wax (recycle old candles - cultivate your local vicar!) or buy wax pellets from craft shops
For rolling - beeswax sheets, either bought, or made by melting and pouring thin layers into baking trays lined with greaseproof paper.
Candle wicks - or cotton string
Tall jar for dipping (e.g. a jar for storing spaghetti)
A large pan to melt wax - a double-boiler is safest
A wax thermometer may be useful.


Rolled candles are easiest - any age group can make these. Take a thin sheet of beeswax and a length of wick. Roll the sheet around the wick.
If the temperature is too low, warm up the sheet with a hairdryer until it becomes more pliable. Ready-made beeswax sheets tend to have corrugations looking like honeycomb which allow it to bend more easily. If you have made sheets yourself, then warming them will almost certainly be necessary. An attractive effect can be made by cutting the sheet into a wedge shape so that as it rolls up a spiral effect is made leading down from the top.

For dipped candles be prepared for major mess!
Melt some candle-wax. Be careful, it may get very hot and it will take quite a while to do - may need to start well before a normal Scout evening.
Ideally do it in a double-boiler, so the temperature cannot get above 100C. It needs to be less than this for dipping - around 80.
To reduce the amount of wax needed, you can float the molten wax on top of hot water. This can help if you want to use different colours as you can make small amounts of concentrated colour.
When you are ready, fill your jar with hot water and molten wax, so there is about 3 inches of wax at least on top of the water. Prime a wick by soaking it in wax and straighten it out and allow it to cool. Then quickly plunge it into the jar and remove it (allowing any surplus to drip into the jar). Leave for a few seconds to cool, then repeat. Each time a small layer should build up until you have a candle.
If the wax doesnt build up, then it is probably too hot. Try leaving it to cool down for a while. Also practice a very quick in-and-out dipping motion.
If it builds up in thick blobs, it has probably cooled down too much! Warm it up again (a wax thermometer takes away some of the guesswork)

It can get very messy! Aprons are advised, and lots of newspaper on floors and tables.

Another technique it to take boring ready-made candles and make them interesting by dipping in different coloured layers. Or dip them in warm water to soften the wax, then shape them. For example, use a rolling pin to partially flatten a normal cylindrical candle, then twist it into spirals. You may need to repeatedly dip in warm water to keep it soft enough to work with.


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