Did you ever try to make homemade candles? They're not that hard to make. If you make beeswax candles they burn efficiently with a nice bright flame.
Nothing compares to the sweet scent of beeswax candles. When you burn other candles, it releases toxic compounds that pollute the air, but homemade candles with pure beeswax and a clean wick are much safer for your health.
Here are three easy ways to make candles with a hard wax such as beeswax or paraffin.
Have the hot wax in one container and cold water in another. Take turns dipping into the warm wax, cold water, and another layer of warm wax. You usually make two at a time this way using both ends of the wick string. When they're as fat as you want them, hang the candles to dry harder over a couple of days.
We actually tried making hand dipped beeswax candles at age 7. We used the Beeswax Alchemy book to guide us. We melted the wax in a clean soup can sitting in warm water. It took about an hour and a half to warm up until it was all clear! We had several wicks to dip and hung them on a clothes rack to cool instead of a cold water dip. Now we enjoy homemade beeswax birthday candles!
You can get really creative and make any shape you can imagine. A simple yet interesting homemade mold is to fill a clean empty milk or juice carton with ice cubes around a center wick or wicks. Pour the hot wax in. Allow it to cool then remove the carton. The candle will be left with decorative holes.
A fun way to make really easy homemade candles very quickly is to roll a sheet of wax around a center wick. You can buy (or make) beeswax that has been in a mold to create a thin honeycomb pattern.
Simply lay a wick along one edge
and roll it up. The secret is that you need to warm the beeswax sheet slightly in your hands so that it rolls without cracking. The warming is best done by large adult hands, but little hands can roll the wax around the wick.
We asked for and received a rolled beeswax candlemaking kit, and it was a really quick and easy homemade craft. We made several to give out as gifts. We also kept some for ourselves and have burned them by sticking them in a little cup of sand. They burn well and last longer than you might expect even though they are small.
Hint: After a candle is made, take it away from the 3 year old before they play with it too much and break it. We lost one or two that way, but we still managed to make enough for gifts!
Just remember to never leave a burning candle unattended, and make sure your house has a fire safety plan (smoke detectors, fire extinguishes, etc.). There's a useful candle fire safety website provided by the National Fire Protection Association with lots of information and tips.
Fire safety is always a topic in our homeschool, not just one "fire safety" month. We constantly review stop, drop, and roll from an early age, then at kindergarten we have started talking about what a fire needs to burn and hence the different ways to put them out.