Candles for Earth Hour
I’m married to a pyromaniac. Gordon’s favourite way to cook is by tamed bonfire and yes, he has been known to singe the odd hair in the process. Inside the home he has to get his fire fix from candles and he does so on a daily basis.
I never used to bother with candles before we met, but that changed very early in our relationship. ‘There’s always time for candles,’ is his mantra. He’s right. When we turn out the lights and fire up the candles, the toys, computers and other detritus magically disappear and only the faces and the meal are left in their glow.
Maybe that’s why we love Earth Hour. It gives us the perfect excuse to hang out by candlelight for longer. This year, 29 March, 8.30pm, will be even more special, because it’s about protecting our beloved Great Barrier Reef and to stop the sludge dumping on this World Heritage Site.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any old candles lying around, you can still make candles. The wonderful Planning Queen has a fabulous tutorial on making travel candles.
Old candles, as many as you have, or calculate how much wax you will need by pouring water into your chosen containers and adding up the total. For every 100ml of water you need about 80g of candle stubs. Or you can wing it, like me – don’t tell anyone!
New candle wicks, (AFF) make sure you have a couple extra
Old jars, tins or concrete pots as candle holders
Old pot or metal bowl for melting wax that can sit in…
A bigger pot to heat water in.
Old tea towel
Old strainer or sieve
Old jug or pot to pour wax from
Essential oils, about a teaspoon of your favourite for every ½ kilo of wax (not recommended if you’re pregnant)
Sheet of paper to catch all the drips
Optional: cooking thermometer
1. Snip off the old wicks.
2. Melt the old candles in a double boiler or in a pot over a bigger pot of simmering water. You can see some of the options in this and this post. It’s just that the wax can burn if it is heated directly over an element and the water softens the blow. Keep heating the wax until everything is melted. This happens somewhere around 60 degrees. Take off the heat if you see bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pot, because you don’t want it to boil.
3. Prep the wick (if needed) according to the instructions on the packet. I have some that are pre-prepped and others that need to be dipped into the melting wax, but they vary from brand to brand.
4. Place a sieve or strainer over a bowl, pot or jug and cover with an old tea towel. Pour the melted wax into the tea-towel-covered-sieve to strain all the old wicks (and the odd moth in my case).
5. Stir in the essential oils, start with about a teaspoon for ½ kilo of wax, but add more according to how it smells for you.
6. Pour the melted wax into the containers. Carefully, tap the container to coax the air bubbles up and out.
7. Peg the end of the wick and push the metal plate down into the wax with a skewer. Giving the container another careful tap for air bubbles.
8. Leave the candles to dry.
You can give the wicks a snip and you’re all set for Earth Hour.