Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Art of Home Front candle-making

There is no Art about the way I make candles. Essentially I recycle wax. If that doesn't sound glamorous, well, hey, it ain't. But it does work and costs pence, especially if you use your woodburner's heat and string you have saved from parcels like they did in the 40s.

To make Mumtopian candles, you can go down one of two routes. 

The Tealight method.
For this, you will need a collection of "oh-that-didn't-last-very-long, did-it?" tealights; the kind you are always compelled to buy whenever you visit an Ikea store. Remove the metal outer casing and recycle it (if possible), then break up the (cooled-down) tealights and remove the wicks and metal wick holders, retaining one. 

Thread a length of string through the wick holder and set aside. You will need enough string to act as a wick in the candle you are going to make, so bear in mind the size of the container you will use for your candle and the number of old tealights you are using. 

Using a heatproof receptacle that you don't mind possibly spoiling, melt the broken up candles on the top of your woodburner.

Once melted, get your string tied onto a fork, lolly stick, pencil etc and dip it into the liquid wax. This will be your wick. Rest the fork on the outside of a container to house your candle - I used an old pate dish. The wick will now be standing in centre of the the dish. Obviously your container will have to be able to cope with heat and molten wax.

Slowly pour the liquid wax into the candle container, without getting it on the fork. 

Allow to cool completely. 

Trim the wick and start hunting for the matches. 

The Salvaged Candle method
For this you will need a huge, half-melted, bashed up (church-type) candle which one of your neighbours has thrown away and has been salvaged from the back alley by your evacuees (a.k.a children), and given to you as a present.

Saw the candle in half and use the unmelted, less damaged bit as a normal candle (retrieve the wick by melting around it with a lit match).

Take the remaining bashed up candle and saw it into pieces, removing the wick. 

Melt the wax in a large heatproof container on the woodburner.

Use an old passata carton (the kind that is lined with a foil-type substance) as a candle mould, a piece of string as a wick, and a lolly stick to tie the string onto. Strain out any road grit as the wax melts and thank the evacuees for their thoughtful gift. 

Dip the string into the molten wax and position in the middle of the carton. Pour the molten wax into the carton and allow to cool down completely. 

Peel away the passsata carton, having trimmed the wick,.

Light your rectangular homesteady candle and enjoy the warm glow of Home Front living. 

 The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

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