Make a Picture Candle for Christmas, and Surround
it With Fluffy Snow
Just before Christmas, my mother would
bring out the box of "picture candles" from the big box of decorations
in the attic. With the
flames lit, the familiar holiday images would dance in the soft candle
You can create your own treasures
with this simple candle-making technique. We also have a
creative variation - a bed of fluffy whipped-wax "snow!"
Pyrex or metal wax container, large enough to
dip the candle into
Cooking pot, large enough to hold the wax
container and some water.
Stove or some other controlled blaze.
"mass displacement" in science class? Before you start this
have the right size wax container and the right amount of melted wax
to immerse your candle. Put your candle in the
wax container. Hold it
down and add water until the
pillar is just
pillar and mark the water
level on the container. Pour out the water and dry everything.When you
melt your paraffin, make sure it
just reaches the marked level.
Print your image on the vellum paper, and
cut it out
Glue the image in place on the candle
(see Tips). Let it
Put a few inches of water in your pot,
place your wax container in the water, and put the paraffin in your
container. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the
wax melts (about 15 minutes).
Hold the candle by the wick (you may want to use
pliers) and dip it straight down into the hot wax. Lift it
out after a few seconds and let it dry. You can dip it a
second time if you wish, but the image will become more obscured with
each dip. Let it cool for an hour before lighting it.
with Whipped Wax Snow
Whipped wax is the coolest stuff. It is also among the
messiest, so fair warning. To give your candle a bed
of "snow," gather together:
Materials for Whipped Wax
Electric hand mixer - hopefully an old
one you don't treasure.
Pyrex or metal bowl.
Forks or spoons for manipulating the
Dropcloths, safety glasses, suit of armor.
Instructions for Whipped Wax
Place the candle on a piece of
aluminum foil on a paper plate.
Pour the melted wax (left over from your
dipping) into a Pyrex or metal bowl. Let it cool for about 15
minutes, until the surface begins to solidify.
With the mixer on low, begin beating the wax
until it begins to thicken and froth. This will take as long as 15
minutes, but you don't need to mix constantly. Let it sit and
for a few minutes now and then.
When there is a layer of whipped wax
about 1" thick on the top, begin to spoon it around your
candle. It will be workable for only a few minutes, so shape
it with a fork until you get it the way you like it. You can
sprinkle lightly with glitter at this point, if you wish.
Let it cool (or pop the paper
plate in the refrigerator for a few minutes). Gently
remove the aluminum foil. If you sprinkled with glitter, give
it a quick spray with varnish to keep it in place.
Vellum paper is translucent, and your printer
needs to know that you are using it. When printing your image, be sure
to set your printer's paper option or media type
to "transparency". Your printer will adjust the
color and inking accordingly.
Short pillar candles (2.75" tall with 2.75"
diameter) are easiest to work with because taller candles
require a very tall container for the melted paraffin.
You can find blocks of paraffin with
the canning supplies at the grocery or hardware store. You
can also buy it in quick-melting granular form at craft stores.
The easiest way to attach the image to the
candle is with thick craft glue. We tried the "paint on some
hot wax" technique and the "burnish with the back of a hot spoon"
technique, but really, just glue it on. Spread the glue
over the back of the paper with a brush. Cover it with a
small piece of aluminum foil or wax paper (so it doesn't stick) and
press it on for
a minute until the glue sets.
Whipping hot wax with an electric mixer will
distribute little blobs of hot wax everywhere. Guard your
eyes, cover everything and wear old clothes. Keep the mixer
Don't put leftover wax down your
garbage disposal. Keep it in a plastic container for your
next project, or put it in the garbage. Your dishwasher should
remove remnants of wax from pots, utensils and mixer beaters,
but you will be better off using old or disposable things.
If you are "burning" to know more about holiday candle-making, I
suggest you visit The Richly Scented Candle. Gail
has brought together ideas and instructions on all kinds
candles and candle crafts, and can even provide the supplies you will