During a recent full-day pioneer program, the group of children loved dipping candles. Before we began, I read to them how Almanzo helped Mother Wilder make candles using molds and tallow (from Farmer Boy). It's important for children to understand a variety of methods (molds vs. dipping and paraffin vs. tallow vs. bees' wax) produce candles. (Learn more about my programs at my website.)
How to Dip CandlesMaterials Needed
paraffin wax (Affiliate links. Available at some grocery stores near canning supplies and some craft stores.)
candle wicking (Available at some craft stores. The link is the product I purchased.)
slow-cooker (You don't want to use this for food after this. I bought my Crock Pot at a thrift store for $8.)
cold water in a deep, open container
scissors (They may be ruined after making candles.)
drop cloth (An old tablecloth or shower curtain liner work well. Optional, highly recommended.)
apron (optional, highly recommended)
Please note: You need enough wax to mostly fill the slow cooker. Mine took five pounds of wax.
- Place the wax in the slow cooker. Place the lid on the slow cooker and turn on low or high. Use caution and common sense. Do not leave the wax unattended. Wax is a highly flammable substance. Each slow cooker is different; it may take two to three hours for the wax to melt on high or low.
- Let wax cool slightly. I allowed the five pounds of wax to cool for about an hour before we actually dipped the candles. It had not begun to solidify, just cool. Cooler wax is safer for children to dip candles.
- Cut candle wicking to length. Each piece makes two candles. Twelve or more inches may be a good length.
- Prepare area. Place the drop cloth on the work area, especially if making candles indoors. (As seen, we worked outdoors and did not use the drop cloth.) Wearing an apron, remove crock from slow cooker exterior with potholders and place in work area. Do not dip candles when crock is still in the slow cooker. Place the cold water a bit of a distance away. The water does not need to be on the drop cloth. (As seen in the picture, elevating the wax is an option.)
- Place candle wicking around middle and ring fingers as seen in the photo above. Adjust wicking so even lengths hang. Hold it in place with other fingers.
- Keeping fingers parallel to the ground (and wax), carefully and quickly dip the candle wicking into the wax.
- Next, place the candle in the cold water.
- Dip into wax again and then the water. Repeat until candle is near appropriate size.
- Use the scissors to cut the bottom half inch from each candle.
- Dip one or two additional times.
- Hang to cool.
- To light the candles, cut into two separate candles and trim wicks. Place in candleholder and light.
Please note: You can also melt wax in a double-boiler. Consider using a large aluminum can to hold the wax and an old pot to hold the water and can. Use caution when wax is on the stove. Do not dip candles directly on the stove.
The children loved dipping candles. Despite their excitement, they were able to use great self-control. They understood the importance of safety while they made candles and did not want to miss out on such a great opportunity.
~ Annette Whipple
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