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Christmas candle

Photo: thskyt

Candles are a big part of holiday decorating around your home. They also make really neat gifts when you make them yourself. Scented with vanilla, cinnamon or other seasonal flavors, they help set the mood for when company comes over.

Instead of going to the store, you might want to try an afternoon of candle making with the kids! Be forewarned, though: you’re probably going to devote some time to cleaning up and you’ll need to follow some basic safety rules.

Getting started with candle-making: what you’ll need

Here are a few essential candle-making items:

• Wax (You can probably pick up a big brick for just a couple of dollars)
• Wicks
• Candle colorant (or in a pinch, crayons)
• Scent (Vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom – whatever you like
• A double boiler pot
• Old newspapers (to lay down to prevent wax from dripping everywhere)
• Candle molds (if you’re using glass, also have some olive oil on hand to line the inside so it’s easier to get the candle out after). Pop cans with the tops removed can also work just fine.

Making the candles

1. First, lay out the newspaper over your workspace (not touching the boiler, obviously). You’re going to drip wax on something. That’s inevitable. You just want to minimize your cleanup.

2. Next, cut off a chunk of wax – if it’s hard to cut, warm it up a bit. The double boiler is better for melting the wax to prevent searing or burning. It provides steady heat. Just don’t get the wax too hot. 200 degrees is fine.

3. Get your molds ready by rubbing the inside with a little oil using a paper towel. Otherwise, it could be hard to get the candle out without ruining it.

4. Now that your wax is melted in the double boiler, add your color and scents. Stir them in.

5. Dip the wick into the wax (except for the extra inch or so that won’t go inside your candle). Pull it taught as it dries. It should harden straight. Put your wicks aside.

6. By now, your wax should be ready to pour into your molds. Let them cool. When they’re just starting to look firm, poke a hole in the top with a toothpick or a skewer. Lower the wick down until it touches the bottom. Melt a tiny bit of wax over the hole to seal it and voila – you’re almost done.

7. Let the candles keep cooling until they’ve totally hardened. Pull the candle out of the mold and you’re finished!

Now you can use the candles to decorate your home or give them to friends and family for the holidays.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.