Making your own Candles

How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice. 

A candle is one of the basic components not only for spellcastingbut also for a romantic meal. There is no better way to create an atmosphere of safety and relaxation than to light a room with candles, and of course everyone looks more attractive in candlelight. But candles are so much more than just a flattering light source : they are a decorative element in their own right, with a variety of shapes, colours and ornaments, they can act as incense if scented, they can even serve as an auxiliary heat source.
All this can be obtained from a ready-made candle, but candlemaking is still popular enough to warrant an industry, supplying home manufacturers with necessary equipment and materials. Candle molds, pre-made wicks and all sorts of tools can be bought to aid in hand-crafting candles, and the results will often astonish even Yourself.
However, this semi-professional approach is not the one I wish to present today. Being a practical, down-to-Earth Kitchen Witch, I am against cluttering my kitchen with gadgetry that will most likely stand unused for long periods of time. Usually I am content with what I can buy, but still, there are moments when I just have to make a candle myself. A spell will sometimes call for a specific candle : white or green for protection, red or pink for love spells. Those, too, can be bought, and making one would require a specific wax dye anyway, so usually I don't bother.
But there might come a moment when You need a candle with more properties than just a pretty shape. As I've mentioned when writing about garlic, many of the spellcasting ingredients can be used in hand-made candles to give them additional use.  Today I want to share my simple technique : it allows for easy making of a spell-specific candle, imbued with herbs that You need.
This specific candle is made for a prosperity charm, so it uses cinnamon and nutmeg. Of course, the herbs have to match the purpose.
Ingredients :
  • white wax - I use paraffin leftovers and cuttings from older candles
  • piece of natural string - whatever You use for a wick must be 100% natural. Synthetic strings produce toxic fumes and horrible smell when burning
  • powdered nutmeg - a spoonful
  • powdered cinnamon - another spoonful
Tools :
  • double boiler - actually, just two saucepans, one small enough to fit inside the other and leave some space
  • mortar and pestle - to powder the spices
  • large, clean paper sheet
  • old newspapers
Preparation :
The wax must be melted in the double boiler, so pour some water into the larger pot, and put the wax in the smaller one. Place the water on the stove over medium heat and put the saucepan containing wax into the water. As the water heats, it will pass the heat onto the other pot and melt the wax, but without the risk of burning it. You can also leave it simmering over a small fire and the wax won't set. This is actually the best way for melting anything solid in the kitchen, be it paraffin or chocolate.
Meanwhile, powder the herbs You want to use in the candle and keep them ready. Line a flat surface with old newspapers to prevent wax stains, and get a clean paper sheet. Fold each of the edges to form an oblong shape limited on every side. The candle will be made by rolling up the wax spilled onto the paper, so take a moment to think about its dimensions : they determine how long and how thick the candle will be. (Of course, if the amount of wax is limited, it will influence the dimensions as well, so this takes some trial and error. But don't worry.)

When the wax is ready, add the chosen herbs and stir it rapidly (a thin, metal object is best for that) so that they don't all end up at the bottom. Pour the wax onto the paper sheet. Now, take the wick string and soak it in the molten wax. As You wait for it to set on the paper, mold the wick so that it is straight and stiff. When the paraffin on the paper is set, but soft - You can tell by the way it becomes opaque, but still warm and supple - place the wick at one end and start rolling up the wax, peeling off the paper in the process. This takes some practice, but is actually easier than it sounds.
Candle being rolled by hand
Rolling a candle
Proceed delicately, taking care not to tear up the wax layer and evening out the candle, since the thickness of the wax will probably vary. If You made the layer too thick, the wax inside might still be liquid and spill at this point, but that's no disaster. However, a thin layer is better than a thick one, and if You have some wax left over, all the better, because it can be used for finishing.

Once You have rolled the wax up, give the candle a few finishing touches : even up the thickness, set the wick straight and generally try to make it look pleasing. If You have some wax left over, stand the candle on a flat surface, hold it by the wick and pour the rest of it over the wick into the center of the candle, filling any loose space that might have been created during the rolling.  Of course, it will never be as perfect a shape as obtained from the mold, but it is an object of Craft created by You for Your own purpose and suited to Your needs.
Additional Crafty Observations :
  • Dried herbs are best for adding to molten paraffin, and the smaller the particles, the better their diffusion in the liquid. If You are using oils, it's better to soak the wick in it.
  • If You are making a candle for a specific spell - which, I imagine, will be the most common case - don't make it a huge pillar. It is recommended to burn the whole dedicated candle during a casting, so You're better off creating a number of smaller candles. The easiest technique to achieve that is to roll a long, thin candle and cut it into several fragments. When the wax is still soft this is very simple.
  • The size of the wick determines the flame. The thicker the wick, the bigger the flame. Take this into consideration when making candles that are to be put inside luminaries or on shelves.
  • You can buy blocks of raw paraffin instead of using leftovers like I did in this case. However, being frugal and not wasting things is a quality worth cultivating, and this candle recipe gives You a chance to do that. There are techniques that require big blocks of fresh wax, but I'm not sure how interesting they are to You Kitchen Witches. Maybe we will dwell on them more in the future.
Remember to focus on Your desire when making the candle. Visualize the goal You wish to achieve by the spell, and remember that You need to work on it like You worked on the candle.