When the storm hits and the power goes dark, you doubtless have prepared your homestead with a vast array of generators, battery-powered flashlights, and maybe even crank-powered variants. But what if the darkness lasts even longer? Read on for an easy way to may your own candles, to store away in case of emergency.
There are many materials to make a candle out of, from ancient beeswax to new-wave soy. As these will be for emergency lighting however, we’re gonna stick with basic paraffin, which is cheap and burns well. Get about a pound, and that will make two candles of the size were after.
Next, get a large diameter wick. Amazon sells a number of these. Cotton or hemp work well, and length is unimportant, as you’ll likely be trimming it anyway.
Mason Jars make an excellent container for candles, yielding a rustic look to boot. Unless you want to make some large candles, Id recommend grabbing some small, 8-ouncers. You’ll need two for this “recipe.”
For the actual cooking, you’ll need a small sauce pan, a heat-proof metal bowl or small pot that fits into or on the pan’s top, a thermometer and a spatula. Gather these together and you’re good to go.
Often, paraffin is sold in easily-heatable pellets with candle-making in mind. If yours has arrived in bar form though, use a knife to trim it into smaller bits. Trust me, it’ll cut down on heating time immensely.
Put a fair amount of water in the sauce pan, and about a half-pound of wax in the bowl. Put the bow atop the pan, and begin to heat it. Stir as it melts, breaking any chunks with your handy spatula. This should take about a quarter hour to melt completely–keep an eye on the temperature with your thermometer however. If it climbs over 170-degrees Fahrenheit, take the pan off the burner and give the wax a rest.
As the wax is melting, take one end of your wick, and super glue it to the bottom of the mason jar. If you want to be real traditional, instead of glue, dip the wick in the melting wax, then quickly press it to the jar bottom. When the wax cools, it will be stuck there.
Were this not a candle for emergencies, it is at this stage you would add any fragrant oils you’d care to enjoy to the bowl–not a necessity of course. Just something to note if you’re thinking of making your special someone a candle of their favorite scent for Valentine’s day next week.
Next, wrap the top of the wick around an object placed atop the jar. Could be a pen, a stick, or anything else that spans the opening. Pour the majority of your half-pound of wax into the jar, but do keep some behind. An air pocket almost always develops around the wick during cooling, and you’ll want to be able to fill it.
After several hours, fill in the depression, taking care not to overfill, which could cause another hole. Just add enough to smooth the top. Trim the wick to about a quarter-inch above the surface and viola! You have your candle. Repeat the process with your second half-pound, and you’ll soon have two.
I do hope this has shed some light on a very simple, but useful process. The peace of mind that comes with knowing light is only a match-strike away, can be invaluable.
A humble homesteader based in an undisclosed location, Lars Drecker splits his time between tending his little slice of self-sustaining heaven, and bothering his neighbors to do his work for him. This is mainly the fault of a debilitating predilection for fishing, hunting, camping and all other things outdoors. When not engaged in any of the above activities, you can normally find him broken down on the side of the road, in some piece of junk he just “fixed-up.”