Saturday, December 1, 2012

Butcher, Baker, Candle-Shake Maker

    Candle-Shake Maker ... What? Just wait ...
   An Amish lady that I am great friends with invited me over to her home to learn how to make candles. What a treat! I loved every single second of the day. Not all of her daughters speak English (Amish children don't speak English until they learn it in school) but we were able to communicate with my broken Pennsylvanian Dutch, unofficial sign language, and smiles.

     We had an assortment of scents (the bottles) and colors (the furthest bags) to choose from. I leaned towards the scents that weren't as strong and I liked the lighter pinks, blues, purples, and yellows.

    The soy wax in a box lined with a black garbage back and looked like large flakes of coconut. We did five batches, which was ten pounds of wax, plus a bit more for garnish ... Don't worry, I'll come to that in a minute.

    We melted two pounds of wax and a bit of peripherin in a can floating in boiling water. We used a candy thermometer (which has now become a candle making thermometer) to measure the temperature of the wax. Once it was 180 degrees we added the color.

    The color came in tiny blocks and we cut slivers off the corners with butter knives. It only took a teeny-tiny amount to get a very vibrant color. I was actually surprised. We just dropped the flecks of dye into the melted wax, let it dissolve, and Wha-La!

    Most candle makers have a problem with the wick. It has to remain upright and settled at the bottom of the container, but when the wax is poured in then the wick wants to float or lean funny. The Amish lady who was teaching me had an ingenious solution
   We warmed the end of a hot glue stick, (the kind you would use inside a hot glue gun) at the flames of her gas stove. Once the end was rather melted we rubbed the hot glue on the disk at the bottom of the wick and then pressed it onto the center bottom of the container. And there it remained for the rest of the night.
    I wish I had pictures of that step ... sigh...

    After allowing the wax to cool to about 165 degrees then we poured a couple ounces of the preferred scent into the wax, stirred, and poured into the container.
    We made candles in lots of different containers: goblets, tea cups, jars, and candle holders. This lady sells her candles and has found that the teacups are her best seller, especially at Christmas time, so we made a couple of those.

       They then sat in the window until they hardened. We used anything we could find to keep the wick propped up straight: toothpicks, spoons, popsicle sticks, etc...

    By the time they hardened the whole house was filled with the scent. Both my hands smelled like "Love Spell" for days!

     Now you get to find out why I titled this post Butcher, Baker, Candle-SHAKE maker. One of the really neat things that this Amish lady does with her candles is make them look like milkshakes.

     First she melts some plain white wax on the stove in the can like before. Then she pours it into a pie pan and waits for it to harden just enough.

    It's then spooned onto the candle and played with until it looks like whipped topping. It's super hard to get it right the first time so start with a candle that you don't care as much about. My first attempt hardened before I could get it the way I wanted it to, but my last attempt was good.

    Here are the Candle-Shakes that I promised ... they probably don't taste as good, but they smell ten times better, trust me.  

    And here are some Candle Teacups ... actually, because neither I or my Amish friend drink tea, we'll call them white hot chocolate. Whatever they are, they smelled like heaven.
    Now go out and make a few candles of your own!