Yesterday afternoon we had no plans and everyone started to get a bit irritable, so we wrapped up warmly and hit the garden for a hour or two. While we were out there I planned on making some hot chocolate to warm us up when we went back in, then allowing the boys a half hour of TV while I made dinner.
But instead, by some complete fluke, we ended up making candles. I had taken my candle basket out earlier in the day, meaning to root out some scented candles to brighten the place up now that the days are so dull. It was still on the kithen table when we came in and, boys being boys, they had to poke about in it and see if there was anything interesting in there.
To my amazement, they found two sheets of beeswax in a bag with a length of wick and some plastic bees. We bought them at an agricultural show last year and hadn’t used them all up. “Can we make candles again Mammy?” they chorused. It was on the tip of my tongue to say no, but then I thought, yeah, why not. So we made candles. Just like that. I even let them have my phone and take their own photos.
If you’ve ever used beeswax sheets, you’ll know what a quick and easy craft it is. There is absolutely no mess and from the age of three upwards children can make their own candles with very little instruction or help.
The boys designed their own candles after I explained briefly how they should roll the wax to get different types of candle. Number One chose to make tall, narrow candles but regretted it once he saw Number Two’s tapered candles.
If you want to try this out at home, here is what you need:
Rectangular sheets of beeswax (available from craft shops and farmers’ markets)
A length of wick
A sharp knife
Decorative plastic bees (optional)
To make your candle, simply lay a length of wick along the short end of the sheet of beeswax. Press the wick gently onto the wax to hold it in place. Then roll the wax as you would a swiss roll. Depending on the size of the sheet and the thickness of candle you want, you may want to cut the sheet in half. Then you can make two thinner candles.
To make a tapered candle, cut the sheet of wax in half diagonally. Lay the wick along the shorter straight side and roll up. This makes a prettier candle but bear in mind it will burn quite quickly.
We have made beeswax candles using this method as Christmas presents for the grandparents a couple of times. I find them a really good choice for homemade gifts for the following reasons:
– there is no mess or fuss in making them
– the lucky recipient gets something made specially for them
– they don’t clutter up anyone’s house
– there is no pressure on the recipient to keep the gift on display for the child to see every time they visit. In fact, the child is quite happy to see the candle be lit and to watch it burn.