My mother’s church had a big ‘ol box of used candles they weren’t going to keep after their candle-light Christmas service:
A solid 8″ deep of free wax, my friends.
So, Mom came on over and we decided to
cover my kitchen in wax make candles.
Having never done this before we decided to do a lot of research and come at this project with good instructions, proper materials, and end product goals.
Ya, no. We threw a handful of candles in a pot and winged it.
Hang on to your butter churns, people! We’re crafting old school.
Tip #1: We thought we had to cut up the candles or at least take out the wicks before throwing them in to the pot – Nope! They melt just fine whole and the wicks will float around in there and wait patiently for you to fish them out whenever you darn well feel like it. Seriously – wax is so freaking forgiving.
Tip #2: You really don’t need to have the heat up that high. Wax will melt if you just stare at it too long. Put that burner on low and let it mellow. You’ll have a pool of wax in minutes.
I had two mason jars. Well…technically I had two jars of five year-old fruit stand preserves. But, very quickly I had two empty mason jars. I also had a handful of metal cookie cutters.
We put the cookie cutters on some wax paper and poured a little test wax in to one.
Mistake #1: If the path of wax is not impeded by some sort of barrier, it will go wherever it darn well pleases.
Next, we tried putting the cookie cutters on some wax paper on a cookie sheet with edges.
Mistake #2: If you do not create some sort of seal around the cookie cutter you will simply have a cookie sheet full of wax.
Next, Mom had the brilliant idea to wrap the bottom and sides of the cookie cutters in foil, creating a mold for the wax. We kept them in the cookie sheet, which turned out to be wise because one of the foil molds sprung a small leak at one point. Lesson: Contain! Contain! Contain!
We got smart! Foil, baby!
We poured the wax into the molds in stages. I don’t think this is necessary if you are doing all one color, but we broke out all my kids broken crayons and started having fun 🙂
We didn’t want to color a whole pot of wax, so we put a little of the white/clear wax in a mason jar, added a crayon or two, and nuked the concoction in the microwave for a few seconds (remember, wax doesn’t take much to melt).
Viola! Colored Wax!
This reminds me of Mistake #3: Apparently you can’t color wax with food coloring.
Food coloring sinks in wax – who knew?
When the wax was dry we nervously attempted extraction. We could have left them in the cookie cutters and they would have made adorable little gifts (after you burn the homemade candle you have a cookie cutter – sweet!). However, I use these things and I wanted them back.
We weren’t sure if the candles would come out of the cutters. If they did come out, we weren’t sure what condition they would be in. Would they just fall apart? Would we damage the cookie cutters?
Tip #3: To remove the candles, simply pull at the sides of the cutter a little to break the seal from the wax. Push from the firmest side of the candle (since we did ours in layers, the bottom was much firmer and cooler than the top). With a little wiggling and gentle pushing, it should shimmy its way out of the cutter in great shape.
Out it comes!
That was it! Suddenly we were the proud owners of homemade candles. So ridiculously easy! (Minus those mistakes…)
We had a bit of wax leftover so I decided to try my hand at dipped candles (hypnotically enjoyable) and a mason jar candle (straight forward and kinda boring).
I am a freaking pioneer woman now!
But, honestly, we were super proud of the cookie cutter candles.
Suitable for gifting!
Layers – Oooo!
One more thing…Mistake #4: Don’t trip while holding a mason jar full of wax and spill it all over the kitchen floor. That’s a real bummer.