Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 20, 2015

Do It Yourself

Emergency candles

I am so excited about spring being here! This was the first week it actually felt like spring in the air, and of course with warmer weather comes thunderstorms. Yes, we have had those too, but I was not the least bit worried about it; I was just happy that it was not freezing cold outside.

Not too long ago, I was browsing the Internet and came across emergency candles. I thought they were brilliant: a long burning life, basic, not to be pretty or scented, just made for the sole purpose of providing light. What was not so neat though was the price. The price can run about $40 for six candles.

Of course, this led me on a personal mission to figure out how to make them much cheaper. 

Items needed:

• natural soy wax (5lb. bag sold on Amazon for $14.82)

• Canning jars (if you can catch the glass on sale at Hobby Lobby you will have many different styles to choose from inexpensively)

• wicks 

• scissors

• double boiler (or two pots)

• measuring cup

 A pound of wax will make a 24-ounce candle, so plan accordingly when buying the jars. 

First, gather the jars and the wicks; if the wicks are quite a bit longer than the jars then go ahead and trim some of the excess off, but make sure to not trim them too short. Put the wicks in the jars; do not worry about centering them as this will be fixed later.

Once the jars are prepared, ready the double boiler to melt the wax. If a double boiler is not available then two pots will work just as well. Simply fill the larger pot with some water and place the smaller one in. This will act as a double boiler and melt the wax slower and more gently, to avoid possibility of fire. 

Melt the wax and transfer small amounts into a measuring cup. Really, anything could be used to pour, this is just what I had available. Do not fill the jar up all the way; leaving some room between the wax and top of the jar. Next, place the wicks in the center. 

When melting wax always maintain safety first. Wax is very explosive at a certain point; unfortunately, I know this from a first hand experience. Always stay in the kitchen while melting the wax and as soon as it has all melted, transfer into the jars, always keeping a safe distance from children. 

The candles need to sit somewhere that will be unbothered by anyone as the wax cools. Once the candles are completely cooled and solid, trim the wicks as needed. 

These candles will burn for around 50 hours in an 8-ounce jar. Considering the final cost will be less than two dollars a candle, I would consider that a huge DIY accomplishment. These are great to have around for those times the power goes out. 

Happy spring (well not technically, but close enough for me).

April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.