From Antivist

day time = passive solar lighting. lots of windows. skylights. south facing windows.

night time = candles, solar powered lights.

Making candles is fun and easy. Remember that wax can get very hot and burn.

Rolled Beeswax Candle

Here's what you'll need:

  • Some beeswax sheets (they usually come in about 8" x 16" sheets
  • Some primed wick appropriate for a 1" candle
  • A matt knife, sharp knife or razor blade (I use a small kitchen paring knife.)
  • A suitable cutting surface

Lay out your beeswax sheet and cut the wick to about 3/4" of an inch longer than the wax. Lay the wick along the edge of the sheet and start rolling the candle by bending over about 1/8" of the wax. With this small channel, you'll enclose the wick. Working from one end to the other, press down firmly to make sure the wax is tight around the wick. Once the wick is pressed firmly into the wax, it's time to be gentle with the wax. You don't want to compress or warp the honeycomb pattern on the wax. Start rolling the candle slowly and straight, making sure that you are keeping the ends even. Keep rolling until you reach the end. Gently press the final edge down onto the side of the candle. It should form a fairly smooth edge. You can use your thumb or thumb nail to press down. Pick which end is the best "top", cut the wick off of the bottom and trim the top wick to about 1/2".

Soy Wax Candle

Soybean wax offers a more sustainable alternative to traditional petroleum (paraffin) wax, provides a boost to agricultural economies, and releases less toxins into the air when burnt as a candle. Soy wax is also able to contain oil scents in stronger portions, leaving many to say that the fragrance from soy candles lasts longer.

You will need:

  • 1 pound of soy wax
  • 1 mason jar
  • 1 ounce of fragrance oil (optional)
  • Wax dye (optional)
  • 1 cotton wick, for example HTP-105

Melt the soy wax in a pan on medium heat. Remove the pan from heat. Add fragrance oil and stir well till absorption. You can also add wax dye according to instructions on label. Use the proportions indicated for fragrance oil and dye. Pour the liquid into the jar and position the wick in the center. Metal supported wicks are easily balanced. Wait for the wax to turn solid. Then trim the wick to 1/2 inch. Burn your soy candle and enjoy it!

Recycled Wax Candle

Save all wax drippings and leftover ends [of candles] in a heatproof Mason quart canning jar. When the jar is close to full, place it on a potholder (or several thickness' of towel) in a soup pan filled with cold water up to the level of wax. Be certain that the wax jar won't overturn -- lower the water level if necessary. Turn on the heat. The water will eventually boil and gently heat the wax within your Mason jar until it liquefies. Remember that wax can burn, too, so don't let it get too hot.

Use an oven mitt or other protection, and carefully remove the jar of melted wax from the water. Use a fork to stir the wax, and pick out any foreign materials (bits of wick, bugs, etc.) On a heat-proof surface, such as a platter, a cookie pan, or a Pyrex-type baking pan, spray a very light layer of non-stick pan coating (PAM or something similar). Cut a half-dozen 10" to 12" wicks from butcher's string or other cotton string. Now, carefully pour your hot wax onto the surface -- it will spread and begin to cool immediately.

Keep a close eye on this. As it begins to cool, the wax remains pliable --carefully lay a wick across the wax and begin to lift and roll the wax into a tube with the wick in the center. You may need a dull knife or spatula to scrape the last wax off the surface. If you do this correctly, you will end up with a rather rough but serviceable candle in only a matter of minutes.

Lay flat to cool and form you new candle, or place in the refrigerator or outdoors if it's cold out. Trim the wick to about 3/8" on the end you intend to light.

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