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Title: Dip Candles
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Rank:Diamond Member

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Posts: 5631
From: USA
Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:01/13/2009 06:41 AM)
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Dip Candles
     I thought maybe you would like a little hands-on time in our "Candles 101"... I wondered if any of you ever dipped candles...

In the 1800's pioneer women made candles to light the house at night and in winter months. Most candles were made from beef fat (tallow) and beeswax. The beef fat was cheap and readily available, but burned very quickly. They added beeswax when possible to make the candles burn longer. The women melted the tallow and beeswax in a large iron pot and dipped string in and out until it was coated enough to make a candle. They hung the candles to dry and harden. Some households used candle molds, which were quicker to use and made more uniform candles. 

Native North Americans showed colonists how to make candles by cooking berries - little red and white berries from the bayberry bush  to make candle wax. But a candle had to have a wick, too, and string was precious. So they gathered and stripped milkweed plants to get a fine white thread that could be used for candle wicks.

To dip candles, a willow stick was tied with several pieces of wick made from the milkweed plant. The wicks were dipped a number of times into a tub of hot wax, each time allowing the wax to dry and harden. This way, thick candles could be made that would burn a long time. Tinsmiths made metal candle molds that could be used, too

     Just for the fun of it, let's see what you can do to make an original hand-dipped candle...

Try making candles at home.


  • An old pot  
  • A tall can (a fruit juice can that has been opened up will work...if it is a tall, slender can..that is best)
  • Paraffin wax (from the canning section of the grocery store)
  • Cotton string cut into 4" to 6" lengths
  • Long straight sticks
  • Some newspapers to cover the work area

    1. Melt the wax by putting the chunks into the can and then the can into the pot which you have put water into... gently bring the water to boil on the stove. Watch this carefully as the wax melts in the can.
    2. Remove the wax from the heat.
    3. Tie one piece of cotton string to the end of the stick.
    4. Dip the sting into the can briefly and lift out again. (this is the time, if you wish to put an incantation to your candle,,,you can do this as you dip...resite the purpose, etc.) or...Count to ten, allowing the wax to cool a bit, before dipping it again.
    5. Repeat step 4 until the candle is the desired  thickness. Note--the depth of the can will limit the length of the candle. Although, you may tip the candle diagonally into the pot as it grows.
    6. If your wax starts to harden, simply reheat it. But, remember, the hotter the wax, the longer it takes to collect on the string.
    7. Unite the string or slide it off the stick. Hang it to cool.

     It is fun to drape the string or wicking over a wider stick or a pronged stick to dip two candles at a time, but that is an experiment you can do as you get to be better at this.  Remember, this is just a beginning project and a little fun while we learn more about making candles.

     If you want to, tell us about making your first candle in this way...We would love to hear (and see if you have a picture) all about it.

Have fun...

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