Post #502: Craft candles without a tarp

Posted on December 18, 2019

I like to burn beeswax candles during the holiday season,.  I suppose that’s because the scent reminds me of my grandparents’ church.

Candle-making is also a nice craft to do with your kids.   The process is satisfying, it requires parental supervision, and the results are “consumables”.  You aren’t stuck with them, because the whole point of making a candle is to burn it.

That said, most instructions for making traditional candles with your kids omit the most important part:  The tarp.  That is, the tarp you should lay down on your kitchen floor before you start.  Because if you don’t, you get little tiny drips and flecks of wax everywhere, and then you can skate across your kitchen floor for the next week until that wears off.  After an episode or two of that, I learned that traditional candle-making, using liquid wax, is for the garage, not the house.

But there is a way to craft candles that involves no mess:  Beeswax sheets.  My kids made the candles above (years ago).  The process could not be easier.  Take a sheet of colored beexwax and wrap it tightly around a wick.  Strange as it may seem, those burn just like a regular candle.  The candles pictured above are burning now, as I am writing this.

It’s certainly not the cheapest way to make a beeswax candle.  If you’re going to make a lot of beeswax candles, it’s far less expensive to buy beeswax in bulk and either cast or dip the candles using melted wax.  Currently, bulk beeswax seems to be going for $7 to $8 per pound.  Kits with colored beeswax sheets and wick included seem to run about three times that much, per pound.

But it is by far the easiest.  Cut up the sheets as you desire, warm them in your hands until they are pliable, and carefully roll up the wick in the wax sheet.  That’s it.  When you are done rolling up the sheet, the candle is ready to burn.

What’s not to like?  It’s non-denominational, because as far as I can tell there is no religion that’s against using candles.  Little kids can do it.  Bigger kids can get creative when they do it.  And it involves bright colors and fire, both of which are child magnets.  If you run out of ideas about what to do with your kids this holiday season, consider making candles.