Birthday Candles

            Since we started on our journey to become more self sufficient, I have found numerous projects that surprised me with their simplicity. We occupy a world today where our workload has been cut nearly down to nothing and along with this ever-present luxury our ability to make things for ourselves has been lost.  Often items are purchased that could have very simply have been made from materials already in the household but instead of putting in the effort we make a quick run to the grocery store and waste precious money. This we say “is easier”. When in fact getting out to the car, driving to the store, finding the item, waiting in line etc. all may take more time and effort than just making the item in the first place.

            In the past few years my daughter has also caught the self sufficiency “bug”. For her birthdays she has wanted to create her own cakes. We don’t exactly do this the old-fashioned way. She looks online to find a cake that she likes and we can make.

            The year she turned ten years old she found a great cake online that looked like a flower garden and we had a wonderful time making it. When I discovered I hadn’t any candles the day before her birthday I first thought, “I’ll have to go get some”. However we live 15 minutes from town and I was not real keen on driving all the way there for just a few candles and then it occurred to me that I didn’t need to. When I was a child in grade school we had been taught how to dip candles and I always keep the old wax from my burnt candles to use it to make new ones. It just never occurred to me until that moment to make the birthday candles.

            I got several pencils and had my daughter tie strings to them with size 10 crochet cotton. This would work well enough for our wicks.  I had quite a bit of maroon colored and nicely scent wax from a candle that had burned down so we decided to use that. I put a saucepan on the stove with a couple inches of water in it and brought it to a boil. Then the wax in a tin spaghetti sauce can went into this where it was melted. Each wick is then dipped in and set in other empty cans (long enough so the wicks won’t touch the bottom) to drain and harden then they are dipped again. It is a slow process my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When we had them the thickness we wanted I trimmed the bottoms and tops straight and cut the wicks.

            On the day of her birthday my daughter was very proud impress her friends by saying that we had made the cake and even the candles. Our candles burned as good as any store bought one and we had the satisfaction of doing one more things self sufficiently.


       Rebecca Whitford