Some things only make sense when you have kids. For example, if I told my friends that I recycle my old candle wax, they would think I was one step over the thin green line of get-a-life. But, if you have kids, the most insanely minute recycling habit becomes a perfectly logical way to keep them busy doing arts-and-crafts during a long holiday break. Try that with a lump of coal, ha!
Here’s an easy rainy-day candle project you can do in three simple steps:
Nobody wants to run out in the rain to buy candle-making supplies. You don’t have to. You can scrounge around the house for everything you need, simply:
Old candle stubs and pieces of candle wax.
A small old glass container (juice glass, jelly jar).
A small old pot or tray (metal, or oven-proof glass).
Tip: no crayons! Just use candle wax.
By the way, this might be a good time to rid your house of kids’ toxic art supplies. No, not in the trash can — give them away to adults who can use them safely.
Set aside a few candle stubs (with wicks intact).
Put the other pieces in a pot or tray. Melt them – slowly and carefully, over low heat – on the stovetop, just enough to melt the wax.
Safety Tip: remove the pot from the heat while small bits of wax are still floating in it. This will help keep it from overheating.
Pour the melted wax into a small glass jar or cup. Put that container in a shallow bowl or tray in case of spills and drips. Have the kids – slowly and carefully – take turns dipping their candle stubs into the melted wax.
Tip: reheat the wax when it starts to congeal.
Total shortcut: Wait until the wax starts to congeal, then put the entire candle stub into the jar or glass. Hold it upright until the wax starts to solidify around it. Now you have an instant candle-in-a-glass. Works great with old teacups, too.
You could also start your candle from the bare wick. Don’t use kitchen string or yarn, just salvage some wick by breaking apart or melting another candle. Starting with the wick takes a really long time, though. When you start with the stub, you get an impressive result after just a few dips.
While we’re on the subject of candles, the mind naturally wanders over to spiritual topics. If you belong to a house of worship, take a look at Georgia Interfaith Power and Light for some great ideas on greening your congregation.
Friends: If you have an insane recycling habit, let me know. I’ll be happy to share it in a future post.
Image: indiamos at flickr.com, public domain through Creative Commons.