The Christmas Pillar Candle
The word candle takes its name from the Latin term “candere”, which means to flicker or sparkle. Candles have always been an integral light source around the world. They can create a romantic atmosphere at weddings or dinner parties and relieve a peaceful feeling in a room. Some candles are used for their fresh aroma, which removes unpleasant odors. Others are used for decorative purposes throughout the home or workplace. Candles come in a plethora of shapes and sizes, as well as colors. There are many different types of candles to choose from on the market today, but we will divert our attention to the beautiful pillar candle.
Column or column candles have been used for quite some time. These candles are often seen in church settings on altars and places of worship. Pillar candles provide a soft, elegant touch in times of prayer and need, while giving off soft light to everyone around them. In addition, they are often incorporated into religious ceremonies, such as weddings. These beautiful candles can also be used in home furnishing planning or just about any place the mind can imagine.
The pillar is a rigid, free-standing candle with one or more wicks. Because of their name, people think that these candles only come in one form. However, this is not true. Column or column candles can be round, square or even hexagonal. They can be perfumed or unscented and often a new experience in quality, beauty and soft light. Pillar candles are great in the bathroom when it’s time to relax and unwind in the bathtub. The elegant light will relieve your stress from a hard day’s work as you soak your body in warm soapy water and release your tensions in soothing aromas. Pillar candles can also be used when meditating. They tend to enhance meditation with their peaceful glow, while emitting a refreshing scent to cleanse the soul.
These candles make great coffee tables for when your guests come over, and they help to set the mood for the holiday season. You can place a few pillar candles close together on your dining table for Christmas dinner and throw a reef around them for an elegant festive centerpiece. Plus, pillar candles are charming if you want to add a touch of romance to the evening. A quiet dinner by the fireplace with some pillar candles atop the mantel will bring back that lost heart of hers, as soothing love illuminates the entire room.
Some people who buy pillar candles don’t even light them. They remain as a beautiful decoration asset to your home. If you are going to burn your pillar for the first time, there are a few things to remember before doing this. When lighting for the first time, it is important to give this candle a head start. Burn the candle for about an hour so you can see how the wax will drip. Paraffin pillars tend to mushroom around the edges as they burn down, while soy pillars burn a clean cylinder all the way down. If you are going to burn these candles close together, leave a small space between each candle so that the heat from one does not melt the other. Soy pillars offer an advantage because they leave the outside intact when burned.
Candles will always make our lives bloom with brilliance and beauty. They beautify our homes with style, melting delicate love into our hearts and minds. These little flickering lights will remain a gift from humanity for all to enjoy.
Decorate with candles
Today’s candles come in such a wide variety of sizes, colors and styles. In every room of the house you will find beautiful candles to use. Some people see a beautiful variety and are intimidated by the thought of decorating with candles, but they really are one of the quickest and easiest ways to freshen up a room.
Where to use candles?
There are no hard and fast rules about where to use candles. While long, slender tapers are traditional accents in a dining room or on a mantle, you can place just about any style candle anywhere in your home for instant interest and a pop of color.
Putting candles on your mantle is a wonderful way to dress up an otherwise boring fireplace. If it’s a tall fireplace, try tapered candles in different heights of candlesticks to break up the strong horizontal line of the mantel and emphasize the dramatic height of the area. In the summer, you can create an unexpected dash of drama by placing a cluster of shorter pillar candles in an elaborate, multi-branched iron candlestick. Light them at night for the dramatic flicker of flames without heat.
Candles are still pretty on the table when you dine, but try something other than tapered pipes if you like. A long row of votive candles in the center of the table is a more contemporary look, and a pillar or two garlanded with leaves, flowers or even pinecones will give your table a beautiful, seasonal look.
The bedroom is the perfect place to use scented candles to add atmosphere. Consider romantic scents like vanilla or patchouli if you want to set the scene for a little romance, or consider lavender or a sea scent to encourage relaxation. The low light of candles will add a touch of intimacy to your bedroom decor, which will undoubtedly enhance your evening.
While most people don’t think of the bathroom as a place for candles, a few strategically placed pillars or votive candles can turn an ordinary bathroom into a spa-like retreat. Try placing several around the tub and on the vanity and light them all for an understated, relaxed atmosphere that will take your worries away while you’re in a hot tub.
Dress up your candles
A single candle can look impressive when placed in a dramatic candlestick that is sturdy and solid. Look for hand-carved wood or oversized wrought iron for an old-fashioned touch that works in almost any room. For a more whimsical look, try grouping candles of different heights and widths. The key to this operation is to keep all candles the same color for consistency and to avoid visual clutter. This type of grouping looks beautiful as a focal point on a side table or at the end of a buffet table.
Once you have your candles in place, you can dress them up by placing leaves or silk flowers around the base of each candle or create an artful arrangement using sea shells, pebbles, or almost any element found in nature. If you want something old-fashioned, consider dressing the candlesticks with ribbons or chunky tassels in a matching color. Just be sure to place something like ribbon far enough from the flames for safety.
If you have large candles in jars, you can display them in their clear glass containers or set them in the center of a pretty arrangement of fresh flowers, fruits or nuts to set a pretty holiday table. Placing your candles on a small mirror is a great way to double the beauty and light of the flickering flames and gives a beautiful “fire and ice” effect.
Finally, be sure to decorate with top quality scented candles to minimize smoking and give your guests the chance to enjoy delicious, inviting aromas on every visit.
How to make scented candles
Ruth Tott teaches you how to make scented candles and along the way learns the differences and similarities with last month’s soap making.
I started out with the naive notion that candle making would be the same as soap making, as described in last month’s Home Farmer. What a fool I was! Actually, the principle itself is the same as making soap, in that you melt a solid, add a fragrance and colorant, before pouring it into a mold. However, the differences are non-negotiable! You can’t use the same scents and colors you use in soap making – I know; I tried and only managed to fail! But like soap making, it’s creative and quite addictive, and once you’ve mastered the basics, you’re off to work. And the basics are:
THE WAX Wax is wax, isn’t it? Well, that’s what I thought. Not really. There are different types of wax. I’m just looking for good old fashioned wax for molds. You can buy different sized wax blocks at hobby stores or on the Internet. However, I was quite set back by the cost. In reality, however, going a block was a long, long way. You can buy candle making equipment from stores like Hobbycraft along with the wax, or you can recycle old candles and tea lights – but more on that later. Instead, you may find it more economical to buy solid pillar candles, melt them down, and then rebuild them into your own designs.
COOKING Utensils If you are a Home Farmer reader, I assume you have some. I use a Pyrex jug, which is now only used for crafts. You’ll also need a pan, and I think it’s good to have some cocktail sticks/BBQ skewers on hand, both for stirring and holding the seeds in place, something I hadn’t even thought of before I did – but more on ‘wonky, floppy fuses’ to come later.
THE SHAPES You can literally use anything that can hold hot wax. I’ve used jam jars (which become mobile candles, which, if not lit, can travel with you because they have a lid); small, clean, tuna or salmon cans (these work very, very well and go with ‘kitchen candles’); flat silicone baking dishes… The great thing is, if it doesn’t work, they aren’t great shakes because you can melt it and start over. I poured wax into a flat baking pan, removed when cooled, cut out shapes with cookie cutters, punched a hole in the center (for the pit of course) and placed one on top of the other, all stuck together by simply melting wax on top. surface and press the pieces together. Thread the wick through and you have a candle with character. You can even use ‘Pringles-type’ tubes for shaped pillar candles – for example for a Christmas table display.
THE WICK Goodness – it seems whole theses have been written about wicks. When it comes down to it, the basic fact that I’ve distilled from all this collective wisdom is, the thicker the last candle, the thicker the wick will need to be. So thick candle = thick wick and thin candle = thin wick.
You can buy wicks ready-made and in a wick holder. The wick holder is simply the aluminum ‘standard’ at the base of candles. You can also buy slivers in lengths, which you then simply cut to the desired length and ‘prime’ yourself; Priming a wick is simplicity itself: just dip it in the melted wax and let it cool. THE COLORS Do not be tempted to use food or soap dyes. You could use wax crayons instead, and the great thing about this is that you can get a huge variety of colors. Alternatively, you can go chic and buy specially produced wax coloring in powder or solid form.
SCENT You can use essential oils, and this allows you to create your own blends – even make ‘mood candles’ if you’re into aromatherapy. You can also purchase specific scented candles in solid or liquid form. Both are good and both have a strong scent, so you don’t need a lot. READY, STABLE, METHOD 1 Cut an appropriate amount of wax from a larger wax block or stone. I used a bread knife for the job. 2 Place the wax in a Pyrex pitcher and place the pitcher in a pan with the handle on the outside to keep it relatively cool.
Don’t pick it up without using a towel or oven glove though, and always check that the handle is cool enough to hold before picking it up! 3 Fill the pan halfway with water and heat the wax ‘bain-marie-style’ in the jug. I keep an eye on it all the time and don’t have it on a high heat. 4 Let the wax melt. I didn’t really measure the temperature. Maybe I should, but I think if it’s completely melted, it is ready to add the color and/or fragrance and pour it into your mold. 5 Prepare your molds while the wax is melting and make sure they are completely washed and dry. 6 Prime your wick and then insert it through the wick holder.
I pull the wick through so that it has a tiny ‘overlap’ of wick at the base of the holder, which is useful for securing the wick onto the holder. To secure it you can use a bit of melted wax, or get yourself some special ‘tacky wax’ designed to be used in a ‘blue tack’ way. 7 Secure the wick/wick holder to the base of your mold as centrally as you can. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t stick. As soon as you pour in your melted wax it will lift anyway, and you will have to use a wooden skewer to ‘hold it in place’ for a few seconds, allowing the wax to solidify a little.
Always leave the wick at least 3 cm more than you need it. Longer if you need to tie it round the ‘wick sustainer’ to hold it in place. (see point 11) 8 Once the wax has melted, add your color and stir it in, then add the fragrance just before pouring the melted wax into the mould. 9 Pouring the melted wax into the mold is the trickiest part of the operation! As you pour, all your careful efforts to secure the wick/wick holder to the base may look as if they have been in vain.
You can begin by pouring just a centimetre or so of melted wax over the base (but put the jug back on the water to keep it melted, if you do this), and use a wooden skewer to keep the holder at the base for a few seconds – this method is certainly recommended if filling a larger vessel such as a jam jar.
10 Keeping the wick holder in place with one hand, take the jug and slowly pour the melted wax into the mold to fill it up. This will give you far more control than trying to keep the holder in place at the bottom whilst pouring all the melted wax in at once. If making tea lights or using other similarly small moulds, you do not need to pour in stages. 11 The next tricky bit is keeping the wick in place whilst the wax sets. You will need wick sustainers! So, what is a wick sustainer? Actually, it’s simply a couple of ever-versatile wooden skewers, chopsticks, or even a clothes peg, although I am sure someone is selling an expensive product to do the job somewhere. All you are actually doing is providing a prop for the wick to keep it in place as the wax solidifies, otherwise it will work its way to the side of the candle through the still soft wax. I found keeping a wick straight particularly hard with molds such as jam jars, with the situation not helped by the glass giving a distorted view of the wick. For larger moulds/holders you will have to leave the wick long enough o tie the top to the suspender to keep it taut and in place.
12 Now leave it to set. The wax will contract as it sets, leaving a slight dip in the centre. Keep a little wax melted in reserve for topping up.
CLEANING UP Wax melts and sets, making it the devil to remove from fabric – you have been warned. Also, do not pour melted wax down the drain – I find the best method to clean out your jug is to do with a kitchen towel while it’s still hot. If you’ve left it to cool, pop it in the microwave, if you have one. A quick blast, then wipe the jug clean using some kitchen towel. RECYCLING OLD CANDLES I bought 100 tea lights from IKEA for just 96p, and they had been sitting a drawer for the last two years. I simply ‘deconstructed’ the candles, gently removing them from their aluminum holders (which I keep for refilling). Cut up the wax and remove the wick and the wick holder, putting them to one side ready to be reused. Melt the wax, add your color and fragrance, then pour the wax back into the tea lights, jars, etc. You can use this same method very successfully with old pillar candles – the ones you’ve had sitting on the mantelpiece since Christmas 2005 (or is that just our household?). I just put the whole candle, wick and all, in the jug over a low heat, and let it melt. Don’t worry about the wick – it’s actually far easier to remove from the melted wax than trying to dig it out of the cold candle.
This may sound obvious, but do be careful. These candles will be lit, and anything lit can be dangerous! Also, do not introduce any substances that do not mix with fire! Be aware that wax is flammable at high temperatures. Whilst it is heating it should never be left unattended.
Note: Wax should never be heated to the point that it sputters or smokes. If it does catch fire, cover it with a lid and turn off the stove. Never, ever pour water on a wax fire.
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