The rising use of tablets and smartphones has turned British children into a nation of technology junkies, meaning more and more children are losing out on outdoor play and other fun activities. According to a recent poll by Channel 4, 43% of parents fear their children are addicted to screens, and 47% believe their children spend too much time in front of them.
Sometimes it can be difficult to encourage your children to step away from the TV… but, it’s worth persisting! If you haven’t tried it before, candle making is a fantastic craft activity that challenge them, keep them engaged for hours and give them a sense of satisfaction when their hard work pays off. And, once made, you can burn your candles at home or give them to friends and family as thoughtful gifts. With a variety of available, they’re easy to make and come in a number of designs to compliment your home. Here’s how to make your own…
You will need:
· Wax (soya or beeswax, or old candles)
· Paraffin beads
· A mould set
· A wick
· A double boiler or candle wax bot
· Dyes, glitter and essential oils (optional)
First, melt the wax. You can do this in the double boiler or candle wax pot.
Then add the wick to the mould by threading it through. Ensure you leave a few centimetres sticking out the hole in the bottom. Firmly hold the wick and fix it to the pin that sits at the top of the mould.
Add a scent and colour dyes. If you’d like to create a scented candle, add a few drops of the essential oil to the melted wax. Candles made at Christmas benefit from a drop of cinnamon, and bergamot and lemon myrtle are lovely for the spring and summer.
Pour the wax into the mould. To minimise air bubbles, pour it in quickly! Make sure you keep a little of the wax melting in the pan to top up the candle as it hardens and sinks (see next point).
Release bubbles and top up. Once the wax is in the mould, air can often become trapped inside. It’s important to regularly break the skin that forms on the top by topping up with the spare wax.
Finally, remove the candle from the mould. You can do this after you’ve left it for 4-5 hours, checking that it’s hardened before you remove it from its casing. Snip the wick and leave enough (about half a centimetre) for lighting it later. Using a hot pan, even off the bottom of the candle so that it stands without wobbling over!
Note – it’s worth leaving the candle to fully set for a day or so before using it. The same applies if you’re giving these lovely homemade candles as gifts to your loved ones, and will win extra bonus points if you wrap it the candle in ribbon or put it in a fancy gift box!
As you can see, candle making is fairly simple to do! Kids will love spending the time creating a beautiful set of candles, and according to Parenting.com craft activities like this can add to their arsenal of life skills. A fun hobby, a vital skill and no screen-time? It’s a win-win!
We’ve never tried candle-making at home, but I think after this we’ll give it a go! Have you ever made candles with the kids at home? They’d make for great gifts!