candles from canning paraffin? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

Is it

possible - reasonable - cost-effective - advisable - inadvisable - dangerous - a truly lousy idea - etc., etc., etc.

to make my own candles from regular Gulfwax canning paraffin?

What about wicks? Do I have to use some special la-de-dah material, or can I just use plain ol' STRING? I keep thinking of the pioneer women, and somehow I don't think they went to craft shops for their supplies . . . .

Your recommendations will be appreciated, as always.

-- peg (, November 11, 1999


When I was a kid, I used canning wax all the time to make candles. I would save up old candle ends and put one or two in with the canning wax. There is some sort of chemical used in candle wax, the ends of old candles provide enough of this chemical.

As far as the wick is concerned, I would think that if you braided the string for thickness and soaked it in wax it would work ok.

-- Mabel Dodge (, November 11, 1999.

I believe the paraffin wax is okay for a container candle, it doesn't need the hardness. It just melts in the container as it burns. For example, I've been making candles in mason jars with out adding stearin(?, I think that's the name of the additive). The size of the wick depends on the size of the candle. I think string is okay for votives, but you definitely need something thicker for a candle of 3- 4 inch width. There are lots of sites on candlemaking, just search on candlemaking. Also, wick is cheap at craft store or WalMart.

-- cmd0903 (, November 12, 1999.

If you use string instead of getting a package labeled candle wick at the craft store, make sure it's cotton string. At a historical festival locally, kids could make their own hand dipped candles. The demonstrator used a combination of old candles, parrafin and a little beeswax. There was a coffee can of melted wax and a coffee can of water. Kids took plain cotton string, dipped it into the wax and then into the water, then back into the wax. We burned one later and it burned fine, although some water was trapped and we got some sputtering. If I was going to do this at home, I would dip, allow the wax to harden in the cooler air, then dip again instead of using water. You can melt little pieces of old crayons in the wax to give the candles some color, instead of buying candle dye at the craft store.

-- Bingo (, November 12, 1999.

OOPS! I'm sorry! I tried making a votive with a single strand of rope for a wick, and it wasn't thick enough, so the wick drowned. I'm afraid if I braided the string, it might burn too hot for the candle. I'm sticking to the bigger candles. I don't know how long a pint mason jar candle burns, but it's a long time (with a store-bought medium wick).

-- cmd0903 (, November 12, 1999.

From this forum and another, I got the idea of making candles in a cat food or tuna can. I've saved months' worth of cans and bought paraffin, and saved newspaper for this project. Doesn't even require wicks, though these are optional. I made a sample one and will have a "workday" for making these candles. The instructions are very simple:

Take two full fold-&-all sheets of newspaper (b&w) and fold them along the fold-over edge in a fan-fashion, to just the height of the can. Then roll up the long strand you'll now have into a tight circle, put it into the can and let go. It will "spring" and fit snugly.

Melt paraffin wax IN A DOUBLE BOILER...NOT ON STOVE BURNER...has low flash point and some who tried this had it flare up in a big flame and warned us. Pour into can until paper is saturated.

You can now apply a match and you will have a long-burning candle which will not tip over. To extinguish it, you can use a can top held in a prong. (I like my cat food cans because they have a tab-top I can nicely hold in a prong.)

-- Elaine Seavey (, November 12, 1999.


Thank you very much for the candle instruction! I have been looking for something like this for a long time. I have wax but was unsure with some other instructions I have. This forum is great!

-- Sammie (, November 13, 1999.

I save tuna cans to make candles. They hold a lot of wax, and do not tip over easily. At your local grocery buy stout 100% cotton twine and GulfWax pariffin. To make the wicks soak a length of cotton twine overnight in one tablespoon salt and two tablespoons borax in one cup water. Next day hang wick to dry. When wick is dry, dip in melted wax to stiffen, let cool, cut to desired length. Pour melted wax into tuna cans. When wax has gelled insert three or more wicks equally spaced. I keep several tunacandles in each vehicle to provide heat and/or light if stranded. Be sure to leave a window down a little for ventilation.

source of info to make wicks pae 224 How to Live on Nothing by Joan Ranson Shortney

-- Vlad Strelok (Strelok60@yahoo.,com), November 13, 1999.

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