As Thanksgiving approaches, children are taught in school about the first settlers and the first Thanksgiving. Give them an insight into the colonial period by making simple dip candles with them – this is an activity that you will enjoy just as much as they will and it’s not as difficult as it might sound.
And I am here to guide you through the process with step by step instructions that are easy to follow.
And if you like this, don’t forget to also read our guide on making scented candles at home which take this candle-making to a whole new level.
Warning: If you want to perform this activity with your children, make sure you always keep an eye on them and that it’s you who handles most of the candle-making process because it involves being near an open source of fire! Take all the needed precautions!
How to make some Colonial Dip Candles at home
First, you will need the following things:
– Wax or other old candles to melt down
– Steel washers
– Double boiler or a coffee can and a cooking pan
– Coffee can full of cold water
– Candy thermometer (optional, but ideal)
Here is how to make some Colonial Dip Candles like the pioneers did (well, minus the thermometer):
1. Melt the wax in your double boiler or place it in a coffee can in a pan filled with about three inches of water. Use a wire rack under the coffee can to avoid it being too close to the heat source.
2. Heat the water in the pot on the stove. Be careful not to use high heat! Use your candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the wax.
180 degrees is optimal. Do not let the wax reach temperatures over 220 degrees as it could burst into flames!
3. Cut your wick a few inches longer than you want your candle to be. You can use a steel washer tied at one end for weight or use a steel nut.
4. Tie the other end of the wick to a stick so that your hands can’t accidentally come into contact with the hot wax.
5. When your wax is hot enough, dip the wick into the wax and pull it straight out again. Let the wax cool and harden on the wick. Dip the wick again and pull it straight out.
This way you will be adding the wax in layers. As the layers get thicker with subsequent dippings, you can dip the candle in the pan of cold water to harden it faster.
6. Continue to dip the candle until it has the desired thickness. Candles are then hung up to harden completely.
7. When your candle is done, you can use a sharp knife to trim the bottom end to make it even and flat. Trim the wick to about 1/4 inch.
And this is it! You have made your own dipped candles, just like the pioneers of yesteryear and, most importantly, if you did it together with your kids, they surely had a lot of fun and learned an important skill – that will hopefully never be required, though.
However, I always consider that things that you do yourself – like these candles – will always be better for bonding and having a nicer overall holiday. I mean… it’s not like many people can say during the Thanksgiving dinner that the candles are made by themselves.