Thursday, 30 August 2012

Sticky challenges

Not a bowl of glossy orange compote but a candle.  A little wobbly (I think the proper term is organic) perhaps but I made it myself and it pleases me.

A little while ago Laura from Homecrafts  e mailed me to ask if I would like to take part in a competition.  The website would send me and several other bloggers a mystery parcel, I would make something with the contents, blog about it and the winner receive a voucher to spend on the site.

Now, I’m a suspicious lawyer, trained to look gift horses right in the teeth so I needed to ask some questions.  Was the mystery parcel free?  Would I be signing up to receive more parcels which weren’t free?  You know, questions like this.  Well no it wasn’t a trick, but my caution meant that I missed the ‘mystery parcel’ that Karen thought would be ideal for me – a packet of miscellaneous woolly fibres and some sari yarn.  But she signed me up for the next competition

The parcel arrived while I was away – candle making materials, wax, wicks, colouring and candle crayons,  a small example of the many things that can be found on the website

I've done simple candle stuff in the past, melting and pouring into cups and dishes but never anything complicated, a BIG challenge then.  After thinking about it for a couple of days I decided to make three sorts of candles.  Beginning with a variation on what I had made before, candles in some of my pressed glass dishes, then some with simple straight sides and some with texture, decorated with the ‘candle crayons’.  Apart from the pressed glass the other containers came from plastic drinks bottles.

To make it easier to get the moulded candles out of the bottle moulds I split them and stuck them back together with masking tape.  Neat eh?

I bought a cheap jug to melt the wax in over a pan of simmering water

And now I shall draw a veil over proceedings.  This is the last tidy picture, you see...  

The jug was a messy pourer
I needed several jugs to mix colours – all available pyrex drafted into action
The tidily stuck together seams in the moulds leaked
I didn’t notice the leaks till orange wax cascaded off the edge of the kitchen work top and onto the floor
My carefully placed flowers, stuck to the side of the moulds with a little wax, floated off and sunk to the bottom

I eventually achieved wax stability by chilling the moulds and adding wax in layers (although this gave me a new opportunity to spill wax all over the place as I tried the run the hot wax up the sides of wobbly plastic bottles with sticky masking tape hanging off in all directions!)

I made 7 candles in all with varying levels of success.  I love the dishes of fruity flowery prettiness. 

The flowers pressed into the sides of the cylindrical candles don’t look as they did in my imagination but I like the effect.  

The candle wax if poured in one go sets to glossy perfection.  Unfortunately I can’t show you that, as the most perfect glossiness was stuck to the kitchen floor and it is lost a little when poured in layers as I did here but if you use one of the proper moulds that Homecrafts sell you would get exactly that

Lastly there is the textured candle with extra embellishment.  Least said about this the better really except perhaps ‘don’t run before you can walk’ and ‘less is more’.  I cannot blame the fact that the instructions on the crayons were only in French, they are short and clear and I understood them perfectly well

I could write a long list of how to make perfect candles, lessons learned and all that but I suspect you can work that out from where I went wrong, but it was all good fun.  Thank you Laura and Homecrafts



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