Pillar Candles

The weather is lovely and the sun is so beautifully warm You'd hardly believe its Autumn here on the Northern Hemisphere. But it is, and soon, days will get short and light will be grey and cold. There are many ways to counter that, of course, such as tea, music, cocoa or cooking. And candles.
If You haven't noticed already, I like making candles. Shops nowadays can offer really great candles, with lovely, steady light and practically all colours, but my favourite pillar candles always leave a shell of wax behind that just begs to be used again. And who am I to refuse them? Making Your own candles allows You to add all sorts of fragrances and herbs to them, not to mention the additional advantage of having made something with Your own hands. It's important, at least for me, to know that I can make things, not just use them.
I've already shown how to roll something that resembles the usual table candle. But, as a friend of mine remarked recently, it's damn hard to make them look good and usually their appearance can't rival the nice, straight shop candles. So, in order to please her aesthetic sense, we've worked out an easy way to make votive and pillar candles without specialised equipment, using... Well, garbage, actually.
What we did was take those cardboard tubes that You get from using up a roll of paper towels or toilet paper, scotch tape and some additional cardboard scraps. Here's how we went about it :
  • Wax (in this particular case, an old green candle cut into bits)
  • Cardboard tube (toilet paper here)
  • Natural string for the wick
  • Scotch tape
  • Double boiler
  • Scraps of paper and scissors
We cut a circle of cardboard to close the tube from one end and made a hole in the middle to pass the wick through it. We attached it to the tube using a generous portion of scotch tape to make it as impregnable as possible, since we'd be pouring liquid wax into it. After putting the string in, we tried to seal the hole with scotch tape too, but, as You will see, we sort of failed. Still, some other material such as plasticine or chewing gum should do nicely in this case.

We then cut another piece of cardboard into a cross and made another hole through it. This was used to keep the wick straight and centered from the other end. It's important, as the wick has to run straight through the middle of the candle or it won't  burn properly and might be dangerous. The wick is put through the hole and the cross arms are folded to keep it all in place, like this:

Once all that is done, the makeshift mold should be put on a safe surface (I used my cooking trivet, because it won't stand straight on a flat space since the wick comes out from the bottom) and the wax, molten in the double boiler, can be poured in. Because I didn't get the bottom hole sealed properly, I put a piece of paper to protect the table from spilling wax. Far more of it poured out than I'd hoped, but after tearing the cardboard away I still got a nifty little candle.

If You have it all glued up properly and use a tube from paper towels, for example, You can make lovely, tall pillar candles, straight and smooth. Shorter tubes result in nice stubby fellows that can be used as votives. Of course, You are limited by the tube's diameter, but this way You can make Your own pillar candles out of practically nothing. (The little "crater" around the wick is normal and the result of setting wax losing its volume and can be filled with a new portion of wax easily but I was too lazy.)

Homemade (handmade) pillar candle

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