I think a big part of gaining freedom in our lives is to gain skills we can use. We gain true independent freedom when we are able to do things on our own. You can find this freedom in many areas – being able to fix things around your house, work on your own car, do your own cooking, or any useful art or skill you can use for yourself, your family, or to trade with others. It’s typical in our modern lives that we have one thing we’re good at, our job. Then we buy products or pay someone to do the thing they’re good at. Well, it wasn’t always this way. I think we can do many practical activities, provide for ourselves, and even make money. From an economic standpoint, we still have the division of labor. I don’t want to try to do ALL things, all equally at the same level. But, I think it is greatly useful to diversify our talents and to make sure we have more to offer to ourselves and to others than only our day job. In doing so, we also gain the freedom that we don’t have to rely on others all the time for everything. We can feel confident and capable in a variety of situations.
One small craft anyone can pick up is making candles at home. Everyone likes to burn candles. They smell good. They provide a pleasant light, and in the case of bad weather and power outages, they could be a necessity.
You know when you burn freestanding candles, you have some amount of wax leftover. Well, don’t throw it away. You can use it. Below will be a step by step tutorial, with pictures on how to turn that wax back into new candles.
What you need:
- Wicks (something like these wicks)
- Empty Glass Candle Holders (or metal candle molds like this, available in different shapes and sizes)
- Aluminum Wax Melting Container like this.
- Simple kitchen pot
- Glove or hot pad
Fill your pot with a few inches of water. Put on the stove at medium heat. Put your aluminum wax melting container in the pot of water. Then add in your first batch of wax into the melting container.
While the wax is melting, prepare to pour your first candle. I’m using empty glass candle holders from standard store bought candles. You’ll want to use some kind of tool to scoop out the majority of the wax, as well as the small metal wick base at the bottom.
Once your wax is melted, you can turn the heat down to low, to keep it melted, but not to boil away all your water.
Using a glove or hot pad, pour a very small amount of wax into your first candle holder. This is to set the wick. If using long wicks go ahead and cut one to a little longer than you’ll need for the candle. Run your fingers down the wick, making it as straight as possible. Then hold it by the top and gently settle it down into the warm wax. Don’t push down too hard or you’ll bend it. Once it’s in place, pop it in the freezer. This drastically speeds up the cooling and hardening process.
After a few minutes take it out and slowly pour in more wax. If it’s a short candle, go ahead and fill it mostly full. If it’s taller, you might want to pour in multiple rounds so it settles more evenly. Either way, between pours or when it’s done, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes, or just leave sitting out if you’re in no hurry.
Once the wax has mostly hardened, it probably will have settled in and formed a sort of crater where some of it has sunken in. Just pour in a little more wax to even it off on the top.Finally, once the wax has mostly hardened, cut the wicks to around 3/4 of an inch.
And that’s it! Repeat and get creative.
- Be mindful of the candle width. For wider candles, you’ll need thick wicks, or use 2 or 3 wicks.
- These are just basic instructions. You can get more into it, mixing different kinds of waxes, fragrances, using various molds, etc. Do more research or just try something.
The above steps were just the method I figured out at home. There are probably many ways to do it. If anyone has any tips, questions, or comments please feel free to share.
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