Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I love candles. I burn so many candles that my husband finally bought me a candle making kit. Since then I have made a batch of candles almost every week. I give candles for gifts. I sell candles online. I have sold candles at a few local craft fairs. I love to burn candles. But I wonder what it would be like if we had to burn candles. My son recently took a class called “No Electricity, No Problem”. They talked about what life was like back in the days before electricity. People used oil lamps in their homes and they used candles. They didn’t have the fancy oils that we have today. They used kerosene, which was pretty smelly. Today we can buy beautifully scented candles for our oil lamps. I have a lamp that belonged to my grandfather that is over 100 years old. Last spring when our power went out, we used it for light. It still works after all this time.

The candles they used were usually made of beeswax. Beeswax has a wonderful scent. You can almost smell the honey still in the wax. In the class that my son took, the kids all made hand dipped beeswax candles. The smell in the room was wonderful. They had a pot of hot wax at one end of the table and a pot of water at the other end. The kids formed a circle around the table. As they walked past the wax pot, they dipped their candles quickly in the hot wax. Then they walked around the table and dipped them in the water to help cool them a bit. You could tell when the wax level started to drop in the pot. The kids were not able to dip the candles as far into it. So their candles were more like very fat teardrops than like tapers. Nevertheless, everyone was so proud of his or her finished product.

They also made a tiny oil lamp. They had a small metal tealight candle cup. They twisted a piece of wire around so that it would stand up. Then they threaded a piece of wick through the wire. They sat this wire down inside the candle cup. The teacher said to fill the tiny cup with olive oil. She said this would burn for two hours. We have not burned ours yet.

Candles have changed so much since the days of dipping beeswax. The candles I make today are made out of soy wax. Soy is much more environmentally friendly than paraffin was is. And it burns cleaner and for longer periods of time. Well, I think it’s time to go make some more candles.

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