Make Dipped Candles
To lots of kids, lighting up a room is a cinch. You flip a switch! And if that doesn’t work, you can always grab a flashlight, right?
Of course, for our colonial ancestors it was not so easy. Light, for example, was a very big deal! In the American colonies, kids were expected to help their parents collect and melt wax (from bee hives!), and then use it to make candles. Because candle molds were often expensive and hard to find, families commonly made “dipped” candles as a cheaper alternative. For these colonial Americans, this was important work. Try making these dipped candles with your child and help bring history alive!
What You Need:
- Tall, skinny tin can
- Old saucepan (one you don't mind getting messy because wax can be very hard to clean up)
- Big chunk of wax, about 1-1/2 pounds, or enough to fill at least 7” of the can you use. (Note: to be the most “colonial,” we suggest beeswax, which also happens to smell wonderful and result in a buttery, soft texture. But paraffin wax also works well, and to that you can add wax dye, available at most craft stores. Finally, you can also take a thrifty route, and melt old candle stubs. Just make sure you remove all traces of old, burnt wick).
- 15” lengths of candle wick (available at craft stores), or plain string if wicking isn’t easily available. (Note: with a group of kids, you can use one wick per kid; or with just a few kids, you may want to have each kid make several candles. It’s up to you!)
- Small straight sticks, about 12” long (you should have as many sticks as you will have candles)