I've done craft projects with my children since they were quite small. They are out of the house, but you can have the same fun with yours
Home Made Candles
Eggs are symbols of birth, renewal, resurrection and rebirth. Candles are a method of providing light - also a positive symbol. Egg shaped candles can add meaning to many holidays.
You can also hide these in your house or outside without worrying about them going bad if they aren't found the same day.
Easter 2018 Egg Candles
Eggs are associated with Easter in our minds, but we cook with them throughout the year. Learn how to make your own egg candles in any color, using egg shells for a mold. Red and green and blue, gold and purple; all are festive colors for the winter holidays. In spring, shades of green, yellow and pastel colors fit the season. The intensity of color in your candles is easy to adjust - just use a smaller piece of crayon for a lighter shade, or more for a deeper color.
Easter - of course. Spring colors. Warm colors suit colder times of the year. Advent is traditionally a celebration that uses candles - make them with your children. Three purple and a pink are traditional. Other seasonable celebrations are an occasion for the family to make home-made candles too. Pastel colors might be nice for Mother's Day, or perhaps candles the colors of everyone's birthstones, with Mom's in the center, if Dad or a teenager wants to supervise. These candles are also a pleasing shape, and since you use eggs all year around...
Making candles in an egg shell mold
I learned how to make these with my mother when I was a child, and later I did this with my own children. They had as much fun making them as I did. This article gives detailed instructions for making your own egg shaped candles, using an egg shell for the mold.
This is a craft you will enjoy making with your children, but there are parts that only a parent should do. Older children can do more.
Pictures detail the process.
- Paraffin wax. I use wax sold for canning, as it is less expensive than getting it from a craft store. I started with a pound box.
- Broken crayons in a variety of colors
- Egg shells. It is a good idea to start collecting these ahead of time, whenever you use eggs cooking, even if you don't intend to do the craft immediately.
- Plain Birthday candles - as thick as you can find them. You do not want delicate spiral candles, and they will not be seen. I have had good luck finding these at the dollar store. You need at least as many candles as you have egg shells.
- At least one small clean tin can. I use several, of the size that hold soup or stewed tomatoes, and in a pinch I used a tomato paste can to melt a small amount of an additional color.
- A pan to use as a double boiler. The pan may have a little wax drip in it, so don’t use your favorite cooking pot.
- A cardboard egg carton or a box about 12” x 6 “
- A wooden stirrer. A Popsicle stick or even a wooden skewer is great. You will want one for each tin can.
- Potholders or kitchen mitts
- A piece of newspaper
Egg shells are essential. :D You need to open them in a specific way, not crack them in the middle
You are going to make a hole in the narrow end, somewhere around an inch or slightly less in diameter. You will not be able to separate the whites from the yolks while preparing them. Plan to have at least two egg shells for each person doing this activity. That includes you. You will want to have enough shells for a candle for every family member.
Any recipe using eggs that doesn't require separate egg yolks and whites is a source for more shells. Every time you use an egg, tap the top of the raw egg lightly with a metal spoon until you dent or crack it slightly. Pry up a bit of shell. Try to keep the hole fairly small…
You will probably need to poke the interior skin inside the shell to puncture it for the insides to come out. Push a small knife blade or a wooden skewer into the egg and break the yolk. Give the egg a stir so the contents will flow out the hole easily. Pour the egg mixture into a bowl. You may need to shake the egg slightly or stir up the contents more to get all of the egg out of the shell. You don't want any other holes in the shell except at the top
Do this with as many eggs as you need for whatever you are making. I try to wash the shell as soon as I have it empty, so egg does not dry inside it. Dribble water slowly into the egg shell from the faucet. Swish it around inside the shell to clean out the traces of the contents. You may need to repeat this a couple times to clean the shell thoroughly. Set the empty clean shell back into the egg carton. I keep the carton on a shelf in the kitchen so the shell can dry thoroughly.
Older children can help prepare egg shells. Even if the hole is too large and you can not use the shell, use the eggs for any type of cooking where whites and yolks do not need separation. I do check for egg shell bits in the bowl before I pour the eggs in to the food I'm making - I have found that I knock small pieces of shell into the egg sometimes, instead of lifting them out.
When you have all the shells, you can begin the project. I suggest having at least one extra shell - egg shells are fragile.
Prepare Your Tin Can for Melting Wax
Decide how many colors you want for the candles. You may want a clean tin can for each color. Use the pliers to crimp a spout or beak shape on one side at the top. This will let you guide the melted wax when you pour it. You will need a piece of broken crayon for each color. An inch to half a crayon length is plenty.
Explain to the children that you will be using hot wax to make the candles, and it can easily burn someone if they are not careful. While helping you, they can plan what colors they want the candles.
Broken crayons happen all the time, and this is a great way to use favorite colors. You can also match colors to holidays.
Getting the wax and color ready
The paraffin will usually be in four blocks or slices. Break it into chunks about an inch or so across. The pliers may also be helpful for this. If they have a serrated inside, you may want to put a bit of paper towel or napkin on the jaws, so the crevices do not fill with wax.
Put your egg shells into the cardboard carton. Heat the water in the pot. It does not need to boil. Usually it will be quite hot enough when you can see steam and small bubbles sticking to the sides of the pot.
While the water is heating, have your child or children make sure there is no paper left on the broken crayons.
Put in pieces from about a third of a sheet of paraffin into a tin can. Have a child put a crayon color into the tin can on top of the pieces of paraffin.
If you want a color that is not among your crayons, you may be able to use a couple pieces of crayon to make the color. If you wanted turquoise and you did not have a crayon of the right color, you can have the children try to put blue and a smaller amount of green crayon into the tin can.
Melting the Wax
Using the pliers and a potholder or kitchen mitt, lower the tin can into the water. The paraffin will begin to melt inside the tin can, as will the crayon. Stir the wax with the Popsicle stick to mix the color thoroughly.
After I made these with my children for a couple years, I let them stir the wax carefully while I held the can steady with the pliers. They also needed to be tall enough to look down into the can on the stove to see what they were doing, so they did not make the wax splash.
As soon as the wax is melted, lift the can out of the water and set it on the piece of newspaper or the stove top.
Stir the wax again with the Popsicle stick. It should be liquid, but not so hot that is seems watery. You want it to cool enough to be slightly thick. When you lift the stick out, the wax should run off it, but be just too hot to begin to set.
Filling the egg shell mold and inserting the birthday candle
The child can get a birthday candle ready. Have them check to see if the candle is the right size for the egg shell. If not, have an adult trim off the bottom.
Make sure you have a firm grip on the tin can with the pliers, on the opposite side from your spout. Very slowly, pour a stream of wax into an eggshell. Fill the egg shell up to about a quarter inch from the hole at the top.
When a skin is solidifying across the top of the wax inside the shell, have the child carefully insert the birthday candle into the center of the hole and down into the wax. If it looks like the wax on the candle is starting to melt, the wax is not cool enough. Remove the candle and wait another couple minutes or so. Have them try to insert the candle again.
Because the wax is starting to set, it should be cool enough that even if the child’s finger touches the wax by mistake, they will not be burnt. If the candle still starts to melt, pull it out and wait longer. And remember, for the next color, let it cool longer.
When the wax is starting to set, the candle will be supported by the wax and stay upright, but it will not dissolve into the wax in the shell. You will quickly start to learn the temperature to heat the wax, how long to wait, and how cool and thick the wax is inside the shell. Ideally, the wax should be cool enough that the candle feels a little resistance when it is pushed into the wax.
The candle top should be level with the wax, so only the wick is showing. This is why it is so important to make sure the wax is cool enough not to burn anyone. Let the candle sit and finish cooling while you begin to melt wax for the next candle.
Shelling Your Candles
When the shells are filled and the candles inserted, let them cool. When the wax is solid you can peel the shell off just like shelling a hard boiled egg. This is a good part of the activity for smaller children.
Setting the candles on a saucer is a good way to safely light them. If you want, you can make the bottom flatter by cutting and scraping the round end. Another way to securely stand the egg candle up is to put it on a bottle cap, and then put that on the saucer.
If you want lighter, more Eastery colors, use a smaller piece of crayon. You can always add a little more crayon to the melting wax if you want a deeper color. I used almost half of a crayon each to get these rich holiday colors. You can also glue on small decorations - a good idea if two children made the same colored candles, and want to be sure to help light their own. Advent can be especially significant when you and your children made the candles you light every week.
Egg Candles Can be Fun Other Times of the Year
Christmas candles might be red and green, Hanukkah candles blue and white. These are great for an Easter craft; they are fun to make, and you can certainly have egg shaped candles any time of the year; consider red white and blue candles for the 4th of July. Thanksgiving is another holiday when these might be nice decorations, and the candles could be many different fall colors.
Finally, although the egg is not really pumpkin shaped, you could make orange egg candles and use black marker to make a jack-o-lantern face on each one. Making a face is another part of the activity where your child can have all the fun they want.
Enjoy your candles. As your children get older, you will feel comfortable with letting them do more in the process.
Let me know how candle making goes, or if you come up with a great tweak or suggestion
The Hubpages article Ostara Crafts: How to Make Egg Candles follows a very similar process to make candles in an eggshell mold, although it is a bit less child friendly.
It provides a description of how to make striped candles, which can be used in the process described in this hub. She suggests waiting about 20 minutes before adding an additional color of wax, so the colors don't mix. Unless you are pouring in fairly hot wax for the second layer, you probably do not need to wait that long. As well, a little mixing may be attractive where the layers meet.
You may want to use smaller cans to melt the wax for layers, or plan on using a layer of the additional colors in multiple candles. In this case you could melt as much wax for the color as you would if you were making a solid candle of that color.
Because you are melting wax in small cans, if you have extra wax, just let the can cool, and store it until you want to use some of that color again. Once the wax is solid, you could put several cans into a gallon size zip-lock bag to keep dust out of the can.
If you have a can with left over wax in a deep color, when you go to use it again, you can lighten the color by adding plain paraffin to the can while you are remelting it. You can also add a piece of crayon in another color with the added paraffin to make a different and related color. Be sure to mix the extra wax and any additional color thoroughly with your popsicle stick or skewer for a consistent color.