It’s my son rather than my daughter who more frequently joins me in my craft room. Ever since he was very little he has loved projects — the messier the better! Of course, since he’s a guy, there has to be some “extra” element to them.
Last summer I introduced him to candle making. It was sort of round about and sneaky. We started out making fire starters.
Of course anything that involves fire is an instant hit with a middle school boy! If you’re into camping and cooking outdoors, these are a must and they are so simple to make. This “recipe” comes from my days as a Girl Scout Leader. Here’s what you need:
- Cardboard egg cartons
- Dryer lint
Cardboard egg cartons are somewhat a rarity, but I try to buy my eggs that way whenever possible. It takes quite a lot of lint so that takes a while to collect as well. The wax is easy. Since the firestarters don’t have to be beautiful, just functional, any and all sorts of candle leavings work fine.
Heavily pack the dryer lint into the egg cartons. Melt the wax using a double-boiler method. I have an old electric skillet that I fill with water and then set metal pitchers in with the wax inside. The pitchers make it much easier to pour, but coffee cans or other metal cans will do. Once the wax is melted, it is poured over the dryer lint to saturate it and fill the egg cartons. Let it cool and then break apart the cartons.
To use the firestarters, place them stategically when building a fire and light the cardboard edges. Since they are made from items you would normally throw away, there really is no cost involved so you can use several at once.
I think we made 48 of them that day. If you can imagine, we ran out of lint!
Well my son was hooked and our activities progressed to dipping candles. Of course that wasn’t enough. I had collected an abundance of wax and he soon wanted to know what else we could make.
I showed him how to make “ice” candles using crushed ice and milk cartons. Again, another easy project. A regular taper candle is placed in the center of a milk carton and then the carton is filled with crushed ice. Wax is poured over the ice to fill the carton. The wax cools very quickly and as the ice melts, the water is poured off. When the candle is completely cool, the carton is torn away.
Next we pulled out actual candle molds and made some traditional style candles until we ran out of wax.
I’ve been well stocked with candles this winter!
We have plans to play in my craft room this evening. My son designs and sells earrings and he has a couple of orders to fill. From there, I’m not sure what direction we’ll take. In the past we’ve experimented with making paper, mosaics, soap, faux stained glass and collages. It will pretty much be up to him and as I’ve learned, anything goes!