DIY time with Philip: Candle resurrection

After a small hiatus, our go-to DIY guy, Philip Washington is back!

Good candles are expensive. When I say good candles, I mean candles that don’t disappear after eight hours of burning. I ask for candles for Christmas because I’m too cheap to buy my own, and I like to spend my money on other things.

I also make them as Christmas gifts because it’s not expensive to make them from scratch. I won’t be giving away this batch because they are used, the offspring of a burned down Christmas gift from a few years ago.

The first part of the process is optional as pre-made wicks can be purchased at most craft stores, but I made my own because I had the supplies available.

To make candle wicks mix 2 tbsp. salt and 4 tbsp. borax in 1 1/2 c. warm water (photo 1). Soak 10” lengths of twine in the solution for 15 minutes. Let dry for several days (photo 2). Store extra wicks in rolled newsprint.

Supplies to make candles (photo 3):

o saucepan
o aluminum foil
o newspaper
o mixing bowl, to fit in saucepan snuggly
o wax
o fork or tongs to stir break up wax
o molds: cans, bottles, cartons, glass/ceramics, etc.
o stove or alternate heat source
o hammer, to help break wax
o measuring cup, ladle, pouring vessel
o tape, clothespins, rubber bands

Begin by filling the saucepan with water, place a sheet of foil over the pan and press mixing bowl down into the saucepan. Fold the foil down the sides of the pan (photo 4). This ensures the wax does not overheat and combust, it will only reach the boiling point of the water.

Place the wax pieces into the mixing bowl. The water will begin to boil and the temperature may need to be adjusted if pressures builds in the pan. As the wax melts, stir it, removing and old pieces of wick or wick tabs, etc. Break up the wax to speed up the melting time (photo 5).

To continue making wicks, soak the dry wicks in the wax, one at a time, ensuring the string is saturated with wax (photo 6). Lay the waxed wicks straight on a piece of newsprint to set.

To finish making candles, using the pouring utensil, fill the molds will wax. While the wax is still liquid, place the set wicks into the candles and secure them in an upright position using a clothespin, tape, or rubber band (photo 7).

Let the candles cool and set for several hours, and then remove the molds. Now when these candles burn down, they can be reborn (photo 8).

Written by: Philip Washington

For more DIY time with Philip, click here.