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Glowing candles

This Christmas, try your hand at candle making

CANDLELIGHT. NOTHING quite says peace as well as the glow of a candle in the dark. Flickering candles engender warmth, hope, relaxation and comfort. And, they are quite easy to make. With Christmas just around the corner, they can make a wonderful gift for family and friends.

"Candle making, though simple, provides unlimited opportunities for creativity," says Meghna Kodange, who makes and supplies candles to five star hotels. Candles can put through any combination of processes. They may be coloured (dyed, painted or tinted), scented or even embellished with dried flowers, leaves, beads and shells.

Here's how you can make your own candles

Materials needed

Plain paraffin wax - for floating and other opaque candles. Available in craft shops.

Stearin - helps bind the candles and allows them to burn longer. (Proportion of wax to Stearin - 80:20)

Wooden spoon - for stirring

Vessel - aluminium baking dish/square vessel lined with aluminium foil.

Wick - available in most craft and hobby stores

Oil - for greasing. (Any cooking oil will do)

Colour - crayons

Scents - you can use fragrance oil available at craft shops. (The oil you use must be pure and have no water or alcohol base.)

Cookie cutters - for use in moulds for floating candles.

Moulds - moulds of various shapes are available in the market. Plastic/paper cups and glasses also make excellent moulds. For oval shaped candles, you can use eggshells. To make a perfect spherical candle, make an oval one and peel off the layers gradually with a kitchen peeler.

The process

1. Cut the wax into small pieces; it will melt faster.

2. Heat water in a wide vessel and bring to a gentle boil.

3. Put the wax in another vessel and place on boiling water. Don't use high heat or heat the wax directly - it may catch fire.

4. Stir the wax till it melts. Add the stearin and let it dissolve. Turn the heat down.

5. Ensure water is warm enough to keep the wax molten. Add the crayons for colour. Add a little at a time until you have reached the desired shade. (When cool, the wax takes on a lighter colour - test by allowing a spoonful to dry on a plate.)

6. Add scent for aromatic candles. Stir until well blended. Make sure the wax is still in the liquid stage.

7. Cut the wicks (desired length of candles plus a little extra). Dip in wax for a few seconds.

Allow to cool a little and smoothen with fingers to form a layer on the wick.

For floating Candles

Grease cookie cutters and baking dish with oil. Place cookie cutters in the baking dish and pour in the hot wax, filling only half of each mould. Allow to stand for a while till a thin film is formed. Pierce the centre with a long needle and let the wick inside the semi-set wax. The tip of the wick should not be very long (the candle will burn out faster). It takes about three hours for the candle to set completely.

Unmould and grease the outside for a glazed effect.

For other candles

Grease mould and follow the same process. For inserting the wick, tie the wick in the centre of a stick and lower into mould. Let the stick rest on the mould. Now, pour in the wax and cut off the wick after the candle is set. Always grease the tip of the wick.

Pack your candles in transparent wrappers and tie using thin ribbons or in small baskets with dried flowers and figs. You can gift floating candles in the traditional Kerala uruli or an earthen one.

A word of caution - don't pour wax down the drain, it will result in blockage.


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