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.
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.
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.
YOU WILL NEED:
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
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.
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
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.