Friday, December 18, 2009

How NOT to Make Candles

Yesterday I mentioned that we made the tags in the middle of another adventure. That was our first attempt at candle making. I think I have recovered sufficiently enough to be able to talk about the experience.
What didn't work:
  • Buying the 10# glacier of paraffin at Hobby Lobby. My attempts to break it into manageable chunks with a chisel and hammer would have given Martha Stewart heart palpitations. I was considering the reciprocal saw at one point.
  • Using the wax dye to color the paraffin.
  • Using a pyrex bowl to melt the wax in since we didn't have a metal coffee can. (Do they even sell coffee in metal cans anymore?) Pyrex bowls don't pour very well. In fact, Pyrex bowls pour just about everywhere except where you want them to.
What did work (or would probably work):
  • Buying the smaller packages of Gulf Wax. It would likely cost more, but be much easier to work with and involve less bruising.
  • Lots more dye.
  • The metal coffee can. Crimping a pour spout in the rim first would be a great idea too.
  • The pine needle essential oil smells great. In fact, my kitchen floor will smell good for a long time to come.
  • Allowing about four times longer for the project then you think it will take.
  • Buying your candles from Pier One.
Our first project was Pinecone Firestarters. Tie a wick on a pine cone and dip it in melted wax several times. How hard could that be?
No comment.
These were the pinecones we made.

These were the pinecones in the Gooseberry Patch Christmas book. I'm going to go out a limb and guess that I don't have much of a future in candlemaking. It remains to be seen if they will start a fire or not. And will the wax leave residue in the fireplace?
My biggest question however involves the warnings on the paraffin. They went to great lengths to inform you that you should not, under any circumstances, not ever, no we mean it, never use the paraffin near an open flame (which we didn't). And yet the product is labeled for use in making candles; which by their very nature involve open flames.

I think I'm going to stick to sharp, pointy objects from now on.


  1. Getting a kick out of your humor, as usual. The "oops" label/tag made me grin.

    I wish you could see our first (and only) candles -- you would be so proud of your pine beauties!

  2. What an absolute HOOT! I remember making candles in Girl Scouts, but I was a kid, not the supervisor - different, I'm sure! lol!

    I'll be chuckling about this all day...


  3. Oh, Stacy, that is sooo dang funny!

    Having made candles when I was young, I can relate! That mondo sized paraffin is a total pain to work with.

    I think yours look lovely - my first attempts at candles were not nearly so nice... no need to elaborate.


  4. Oh no...better luck next time? :)

    Your question about the paraffin is a good one. Since it's flammable when overheated, you'd want to keep your in-progress firestarter supplies away from flame.

    However, once they're finished, they help start your fire because they ARE flammable. Does that make sense? Hope so! :)

  5. Oh my goodness! Gooseberry Patch read my blog! I think I'm going to go hide under the bed now.


  6. Lol :) Good post, especially for me since I'm supposed to be in charge of organizing a candle-making craft activity for New Years... I've been looking into the starter kits and trying to figure out what I need. Guess I'll make sure I get the metal coffee can. ;)

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Sounds like quite the adventure! Glad to hear you survived the experience. (Gooseberry must have someone that does a Google search each day on the company name - interesting)

    I made several candles back in the 70s - used cylidrical molds and layered different colors. I wonder if I still have that stuff out in the garage somewhere...

    Hey CB - you guys don't plan on drinking on New Years Eve, do you? If so, do the candles EARLY!

  8. I should have taken pictures of the candles I made. I don't have even one. *sigh*

    Maybe I should make candles again after I finish my gingerbread barn. =)

    -- Ryan

  9. for the coffee can, go to the local school and ask the lunch ladies to save some #10 that the green beans come in. My parents cater and saved me some for cub scout projects. As for the paraffin, I feel for you, we made buddy burners over an open fire. Not such a good time. Happy B


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