Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween Candle Making: 3 Fun Projects for the Holiday

Halloween Candle Making: 3 Fun Projects for the Holiday
By Jason Kinech

Halloween is like almost all of the holidays: it makes people start to get crafty. Those that never touch construction paper are all of the sudden instant Martha Stewarts, desperately trying to out-craft their neighbors. Unfortunately, this usually results in excellent attempts, but with sometimes pitiful results. So how do you ensure that your spooky candles turn out well? Start simple!

Instead of immediately going for the bleeding skull candle, start with much simpler candle making projects that are just as appropriate for Halloween. To make it easy, here are 3 dead simple projects that you can do:

The Mini Pumpkin Tea Light

Alright, I'll be honest. There is actually no candle making involved in this particular project. However, it costs less than 2 dollars and you can make as many as you want to. All you need is a mini pumpkin (3-4 inches), a tea candle, and either a candle carver or a biscuit cutter. You could also just use a knife or screwdriver.

First we need to pick out a good mini pumpkin. No need for perfection here, we just need something that is going to be level and easy to work with. Next, choose your weapon! Whether you choose the candle carver, knife, or screwdriver, the goal is the same: cut out a circle the same size as a tea light candle.

If you aren't exactly sure on size, just cut a little bit off of the pumpkin so that it is level, then rest the tea light on top and trace around it. This will give you a good indication of the exact size area that you need to cut. Cut straight down then just chisel out inside the circle with a screwdriver, butter knife, or an actual chisel. Remember: safety first! Please be careful whenever using anything sharp. Once you have the area chiseled out for the tea light, drop it in and light. These make great gifts of the neighbors, or you can set up out along your driveway on trick or treat night.

Pumpkin Pie Floating Candles

This project is very easy and goes quickly. Even better, you'll actually be doing some candle making! We're going to make 3 scents: cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin. When all 3 are lit it will smell almost identical to a fresh pumpkin pie. Of course if you don't feel like making 3 different candles, you could easily just blend the scents together.

As with most candle making projects, we're going to start by finding and preparing the mold. To make floating candles I usually just use a heat proof bowl and only pour the wax about.5 to 1 inch thick. This makes for a candle guaranteed to float without any problems. Just rub your heatproof bowls with some vegetable oil to make sure that the candle releases easily.

After your molds are prepped you're ready to focus on the scents. For the cinnamon and nutmeg candles you'll just add the fresh spices to the wax, so those are easy. The only scent that we need to make is the pumpkin, and it is much easier than you'd think.

Simply warm about a cub of vegetable oil in a saucepan to about 100 to 150 degrees, it shouldn't be hot. Next, wash and peel the skin from a pumpkin then add it to the oil, you want about a cup of peelings. Let it steep for about 10 minutes, and then remove from the heat. If possible, let it sit for a week at room temperature (optional, but will result in a much stronger scent). If you don't do a whole week at least let it sit overnight. Then just strain out the solid pieces and you're left with your own pumpkin oil.

To make your floating candles just melt enough wax for all 3 candles, then sprinkle cinnamon into one mold and nutmeg in another. Shake them around to let the spices coat evenly in the mold, then dump out any extra. Just pour in the wax, then set your wick in the center (using pinned wicks with a tab). This little cheat means that you don't have to actually mix the scents in with the wax, saving you a step.

After the cinnamon and nutmeg candles are poured, add about a tablespoon of your pumpkin oil to the wax and mix thoroughly, then pour into your third mold. Let these all cool then float in water and light. Since you didn't add color this can really confuse your friends (everyone is used to pumpkin candles being brown), enjoy!

The Bleeding Candle

This Halloween candle making classic isn't as difficult as you'd think, and we're going to stick with our trusty bowl molds. Ideally, we want molds that have a smooth bottom as well; you'll see why in just a moment. But first:

Prepare your molds! I know; big surprise. Rub a little vegetable oil on the inside of one of the bowls and on the outside of another. Melt some white wax to the proper temperature and pour it into the first bowl, then insert the second bowl until there is only a 1 inch gap between them, and let cool. After it has cooled, remove the inner bowl; this will leave you with a white shell.

Melt and pour red wax until it us.5 inch below the top of the shell, then let cool again. Last step! Pour a final layer of white to cap the red (the wick should have been placed into the red pour), and let cool a final time. For a real bleeding effect drill holes up through the sides of the candle so that the melting red wax can escape.

These are just a few basic Halloween candle making ideas, but you can do almost anything you can think of. Get creative! Make a snowman from pumpkins, made a bleeding pumpkin, or even experiment with cookie cutters to make fun Halloween tarts. Once you've made a few that you're proud of, light them and show them off!

If you need specific candle making instructions just check out our free guide on how to make candles, and have fun!

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