Friday, July 11, 2008

Candle light....

I think that these are my favourite of our wedding DIY projects - soya jam jar candles. We have made about 40 of them in different sized jars, from the below organic pesto which is rather neat and dinky, to a couple of very large beetroot jars (The Boy's, I won't touch the stuff).

Love candles, love glass jars, love recycling, love soya. So it's all good.

We had a tonne of glass jars around the house (I knew I'd been saving them for something) and we bough 5 kilos of soya wax on ebay, as well as 5 meters of wick and lots of little metal thingies that attach to the end of the wick.

I made candles years ago with paraffin wax and let me tell you, soya wax is heavenly in comparrison. It has a much lower melting temperature than paraffin wax, so instead of melting it in a pan over the heat you can put in in the microwave in a jug, or if you don't have one (like us) you can rest the jug full of wax flakes inside a pan of hot water and it will melt like that too. As it doesn't get so hot it doesn't hurt half as much when you get it on your fingers (of course you don't have to get it on your fingers at all. But I'm clumsy. And messy).

It also washes off everything - clothes and the jug. Stick the jug in the dish washer and it comes out as good as new. Once paraffin wax touches your clothes it is a fight to the death to get rid of it, but not the delightful soya wax.

But those are just practicalities, the real beauty of soya wax is that it's natural. It has the most gorgeous soft texture and a beautiful opaque ivory colour. It is warm, tactile, silky, heavenly. Paraffin wax is hard, cold, mean, and hideously industrial in comparison. And it smells bad. Also, it burns twice as fast, releasing carcinogenic soot as it does so. Yuck.

Soya wax is more expensive to buy, but it's definitely worth it.


Practical bits.....

5 kilos of wax = about 30-40 candles, depending on how deep you pour the wax. We made them between one and two inches.

10lb of wax = about $40 on ebay.

We didn't buy a little whatsit for holding the wick in place, so as a result most of our wicks are not quite central.

Pre-waxed wicks (above) are much easier to use than wick that comes in one long length as they stand up in the jar, whereas unwaxed wicks just flop straight over. Unless you buy a whatsit.

Top tip -

if you're recently poured candle acquires a bit of fluff sitting on its surface, do not turn it upside down and bang the bottom of it to remove said bit of fluff. That is a sure fire way to get wax that looks like it has set but hasn't all over your hands, your jars, your kitchen work surface and the floor. Soya wax may be easier to clean up that paraffin wax but it's not that easy.