candlemaking with kids



These shots are from the Winter Craft Fair at our local Waldorf school.  
When I'm old & gray & wishing so much to remember these crazy days of shirt-buttoning, nose-to-nose kissing, toothbrushing, hamper-schlepping, "go-help-your-brother-ing" & non-stop soup-stirring, I will ask for a bit of beeswax.  It will be warm to the touch, it will feel heavy & happy in my palm.  And it will remind me of D's assuring hand, & everything that was good at this time; the sweetness of their hair in my face, the family meal, the unexpected smile at what's for lunch.  And I will be happy.

Hand Dipped Beeswax Candles
Safety Stuff:

*Try to set it up at the kids height.  If you are using your stove, stay with them.  Since wax doesn't bubble or steam, they may not know how hot it is.  And stay with the wax!  So you know what it's up to.  Have a fire extinguisher!  Just sayin'.

You Need:

* 1/2 pound plain beeswax - we get our supplies here.

* Wicks - we used 1/2" wicks, cut into 22" lengths

* A tall crock pot or A large coffee can for melting wax in, sitting on a wire rack in a large stock pot of hot water (best to have both)

* cooking chopsticks or a wooden spoon

* Stove top or portable burner

*12"x2"x1/2" wooden sticks for each child - a strong wooden ruler works, too.

*masking tape



How To:

a. Chop the wax into 2" chunks to help it melt down

b. Bring the water in the stockpot to a gentle boil.  Add the wax to the coffee can.  If you are using a crock pot, go ahead & melt the wax right in there at medium-high heat.  It's nice to have both, so you can take the wax in the coffee can & add it to the crock pot to keep the wax level the same.  But that's not neccesary for lovey, organic-looking candles.

c. Give the wax a good stir to help it melt down, then lower the heat to medium-low.  Keep an eye on it, to insure the wax stays liquid.

d. Make your candle-dipper: Fold each wick in half & tape the middle across the width of a stick.  The ends should hang equally over each side.  You will be dipping two candles at once.

e. Dip the wicks into the wax for just a moment, then life them straight up & out.  Our boys kept trying to keep them in there, "to get more wax," but this just melts the wax off the wicks.  Once they dip they can go to the back of the line so they can cool down.  (The boys + the candles)

f. Just keep dipping & cooling until the candle is the desired thickness.

g. If they get too lumpy, you can roll the warm candle a bit between your palms.  Or you can let the candle sit in the wax bath for 4-10 seconds to smooth out.

h. Hang the finished candles over the clothesline. 

i. Adult: Use a sharp knife to cut the bottom so it's flat.  Save that extra beeswax to use again.