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Baby food jar candles - first time I tried to make candles but was easy to do.
Quarterbore  [Life Member]
I didn't get pics of the starting materials but the wax, die, and wick all came from AC Moore.

Following is what I bought:

4pound block of Glass Wax: http://www.acmoore.com/p-31106-glass-fill-candle-wax-4-pound-block-.aspx
6ft Cored Candle Wick (Extra Large Paper) - I don't see it on their website
Pack of concentrated color squares (blue) http://www.acmoore.com/p-31910-concentrated-candle-dye-34-ounce-blocks-blue.aspx

Other tools needed:
Two pots, second smaller then first
Ladle - WARNING I melted my wife's plastic one so use metal!
Table spoon (just to stir in color really)
Baby food jars ( I have hundreds of these accumulating it seems)

Process

Note: I actually tried this on Saturday first and I didn't take pictures. I melted the block of wax and added about 2/3 of the concentrated color to get a nice medium blue color. I wanted to make one baby food jar candle first and try burning it to make sure that it got enough oxygen to burn. Well, the first candle was done basically as I describe below and I burned the candle. The candle burned fine and it lasted for about 8-hours so I decided to do more and this time I decided to take pics.

Note that when I melted the wax yesterday I pored the extra into plastic cups to get a more convenient size and because everything was colored yesterday I could melt as much or little as I need and the color would be consistent.

Following is a photo of how I melted the wax. Note that this already shows quite a bit of wax melted and another cups worth having been added. The pot containing the wax is in a second pot with boiling water.


Baby food jar, these are the small STAGE 1 jars but I did a couple of the larger jars too.


Clothes pin and wick cut to length I needed


The easiest way I found to get the wick to stand strait in the jars was to hand dip the wick in was and allow it to cool in the air. While the wax is hardening, I used my fingers to straighten the wick. It hardens fast and I did a bunch all at once.


Filling the jar with wax, note the plastic ladle melted in the hot wax. My wife is not happy with me


Place a clothespin over the baby food jar with the wax.


Drop the waxed wick through the hole in the clothes pin spring and allow the wax to cool


As the wax cools, it shrinks so I added more wax to the top of the jars (actually about twice).


Final filled jars. Note I trimmed the wicks and folded them over.


Lids back on the baby food jars


Like I said, I also did a couple larger ones too


I still have quite a bit of wax left over so I made 16 of the small candles and four of the larger ones. I think I have enough wax to make about another 6 to 9 of the smaller candles and I have plenty of wick left too.

It was not difficult by any means and the baby food jars are very robust and the candle was very bright when I tested it last night. I don't know that I really need more then what I made for a backup but I might buy a couple more four pound blocks of wax and wick for a rainy day in the future.

This was not exactly a cheap project if you value your time. I guess with the wax, wick, and die I spent about $25 to have materials to make somewhere between 24 and 30 candles. So, guess I have about $1/ea into these but making them took the better part of half a day but I did have my 5yo helping me which was honestly as important as the candles themselves .
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PeteB_In_PA  [Member]
Very cool! Thanks for posting that.
berto187  [Team Member]
I've been making little sawdust,wax and egg crate firestarters.

This will be an easy variation, thanks Quaterbore!!
smiper  [Member]
At first, I questioned the economy and practicality of this project. Those tall glass vigil candles are dirt cheap if you shop at the right grocery stores. But they don't come with a handy metal lid to keep the clean and dry and snuff out a flame. Great project!
Quarterbore  [Life Member]

Originally Posted By smiper:
At first, I questioned the economy and practicality of this project. Those tall glass vigil candles are dirt cheap if you shop at the right grocery stores. But they don't come with a handy metal lid to keep the clean and dry and snuff out a flame. Great project!

Don't get me wrong, this was not exactly a cheap project if you value your time. I guess with the wax, wick, and die I spent about $25 to make somewhere between 24 and 30 candles. So, guess I have about $1/ea into these but making them took the better part of half a day but I did have my 5yo helping me which was honestly as important as the candles themselves .
Magoo6541  [Team Member]
Very neat. I remember making candles in boy scouts years and years ago. I remember my mother having to throw out her pots afterwards. We didn't use the 2 pots, with the outer pot holding water.

ETA. For the wicks, do you think it would be easier to just dunk your roll in the wax and just cut as needed? It may be easier than cutting to an approx length and waxing one by one. Just thinking out loud.
Quarterbore  [Life Member]

Originally Posted By Magoo6541:
Very neat. I remember making candles in boy scouts years and years ago. I remember my mother having to throw out her pots afterwards. We didn't use the 2 pots, with the outer pot holding water.

ETA. For the wicks, do you think it would be easier to just dunk your roll in the wax and just cut as needed? It may be easier than cutting to an approx length and waxing one by one. Just thinking out loud.

I tried waxing a longer piece and it did work but I wasn't trying to really make a ton of these. The only issue is once the wax hardens it is really hard to straighten the wick without dipping it in the hot wax again. I wanted two per car for the winter (in the GHBs) and the rest are just getting put with the oil lamps in case the power goes out. I am a sale shopper for candles too so we likely really didn't need these but we have so many baby food jars I decided I wanted to try something new with them and figured I would share what I found. I am certainly not a pro at these! It was a fun Sunday morning project, not much more or less, other then they are practical.

As for the pot, it did come clean but this was not one of my wife's good pots either! I have some cheap pots I had bought for melting lead (casting bullets) and that is what that pan was really bought for. It is one of my "man cave" pots that sits down on my workbench
Adjuster  [Team Member]
What was the total cost, and how many candles total did it yield? 26 - 29 total??

Never mind, read it all now.
Quarterbore  [Life Member]
As posted above...
Originally Posted By Quarterbore:

Originally Posted By smiper:
At first, I questioned the economy and practicality of this project. Those tall glass vigil candles are dirt cheap if you shop at the right grocery stores. But they don't come with a handy metal lid to keep the clean and dry and snuff out a flame. Great project!

Don't get me wrong, this was not exactly a cheap project if you value your time. I guess with the wax, wick, and die I spent about $25 to make somewhere between 24 and 30 candles. So, guess I have about $1/ea into these but making them took the better part of half a day but I did have my 5yo helping me which was honestly as important as the candles themselves .



I do have extra wax that I may try another project with. That is why I have to estimate how many candles I could have made. The 6 foot of wick I have quite a bit left of! Cannon fuse anybody
Adjuster  [Team Member]
Originally Posted By Quarterbore:
As posted above...
Originally Posted By Quarterbore:

Originally Posted By smiper:
At first, I questioned the economy and practicality of this project. Those tall glass vigil candles are dirt cheap if you shop at the right grocery stores. But they don't come with a handy metal lid to keep the clean and dry and snuff out a flame. Great project!

Don't get me wrong, this was not exactly a cheap project if you value your time. I guess with the wax, wick, and die I spent about $25 to make somewhere between 24 and 30 candles. So, guess I have about $1/ea into these but making them took the better part of half a day but I did have my 5yo helping me which was honestly as important as the candles themselves .





Just saw that.


You just ladled the wax into the jars?
smiper  [Member]
Originally Posted By Quarterbore:

Originally Posted By smiper:
At first, I questioned the economy and practicality of this project. Those tall glass vigil candles are dirt cheap if you shop at the right grocery stores. But they don't come with a handy metal lid to keep the clean and dry and snuff out a flame. Great project!

Don't get me wrong, this was not exactly a cheap project if you value your time. I guess with the wax, wick, and die I spent about $25 to make somewhere between 24 and 30 candles. So, guess I have about $1/ea into these but making them took the better part of half a day but I did have my 5yo helping me which was honestly as important as the candles themselves .


You're right, that is important. Good for you!
GENESMITH  [Life Member]
What a great project. I'll have to give this a try.
raf  [Site Staff]
Along with the candles, package some fairly thick aluminum foil. Having some of this will allow you to make a reflector for your candle, giving you the most from its' output. The same aluminum foil can be used as a windbreak, to prevent the candle from being blown out, and also as a sort of roof if using the candle in the rain. Other uses for the foil besides those mentioned, of course.

The use of highly polished metal and mirrors along with candles and lanterns is a very old trick, one used for centuries. No reason why you can't do the same. In fact, in my house the wall-mounted lantern and candle holders all have small mirrors placed on the wall to act as light reflectors. Surprisingly effective, especially if the reflector is a shallow parabola.
3DD3  [Member]
I made my GF a candle over the weekend.
Her father had a heart attack and I had been planing on doing it for a week or so.Me and the youngest got some crayons together and I bought some soy wax and wick.I salvaged a Heavy wide mouthed 1/2 quart cream bottle from a bottle dump down the street.we lined 1/3 ofthe inside with crayon .Then poured a little wax to hold them in place and rolled it and lined crayons all around the sides.Then mounted the wick and poured in the rest of the wax.SHE LOVED IT!I think it will go/burn for at least 200 hours!
pyro6988  [Team Member]
Nice writeup and great idea.
Quarterbore  [Life Member]

Originally Posted By Adjuster:

You just ladled the wax into the jars?

Yes, but as I said the plastic ladel melted so use a metal one. My guess is the wax was hotter then the water if that is possible and it really melted that ladel pretty bad. I need to get my wife a replacement now before we make anything that needs gravy
19Gimletz  [Member]
Another twist on this is to use empty .45 cases. I used ripped up t-shirt material for a wick so I only ended up paying for the wax. A couple in the survival kit take up little space and each one gets you about 12-15 minutes burn time. Good light and useful in getting damp tinder to burn.

Gimlet
Quarterbore  [Life Member]

Originally Posted By 19Gimletz:
Another twist on this is to use empty .45 cases. I used ripped up t-shirt material for a wick so I only ended up paying for the wax. A couple in the survival kit take up little space and each one gets you about 12-15 minutes burn time. Good light and useful in getting damp tinder to burn.

Gimlet


I like that idea and concept and I think I will give it a try with some of the extra wax I have. For starting a fire in wet conditions this could be very helpful.
happy_gopher  [Team Member]
i like this thread so much, i had to get it back again.....
hg
lasnyder  [Member]
I was a Scout in the late 50's early 60's...used a similar baby food jar,.... we only partially filled the jars with wax, so with the wick lower, they acted like a mini hurricane lamp.... withstood the wind pretty well... carried a 1/4# block of paraffin for candle fuel and fuel for the shoe polish tin stoves with sash cord wicks ... for day hikes and noon meals we usually heated soup with the paraffin stoves and surplus GI canteen cup and stand

edit...brain fade.. used the sash cord wicks for the paraffin stoves not with the candles.... it's a bitch getting old
R2point0  [Team Member]
A couple of quick comments:

- The wick used is too large in diameter, especially for a container candle. The larger the wick, the larger the flame, and in a container candle the glass can heat up and crack. I suggest doing a test burn of one of those candles. Sit it in a metal pie pan away from any combustibles, light it, and let it burn all the way down.

- To save cost I wouldn't bother with the dye. Or just throw a broken crayon in there.

- If you can, try to get wax formulated for container candles. Wax shrinks substantially when it cools, and in larger candles you need to poke holes in the top and pour more wax in. This is a PITA for container candles so they formulate some waxes to shrink less and also have a lower melting point to minimize the risk of cracking the container when pouring.

- I've started using a "candle warmer"/coffee mug warmer and various tin cans to melt stubs, etc. into new candles. Temp is self regulating and you avoid the possibility of getting water in the wax. You can also use a cheap hot pot or an old deep fryer, just making sure you start with the temperature setting at dead low.

- I've also used a tall soup/juice can on the candle warmer to make small dipped taper candles. It's fun to do with the kids.

These are tips, not criticism - I fully approve of candles for preps
50BMGslinger  [Team Member]
Tagging for a good idea for the mountain of baby food jars that I have building. :)
survivorman  [Team Member]
nice project.......not worth the time for me though.......guess what they sell at my local dollar general
Mccray  [Member]
Baby fat makes great candles.....
Nozzelnut  [Team Member]
Originally Posted By Mccray:
Baby fat makes great candles.....


In GD yes; but not here.
ChrisGarrett  [Member]
I bought a soy wax kit off of Ebay and it worked well, using Miller Lite 16oz beer cans as the mold, but I had some issues with stuff melting off and pouring wax down the side and onto a sub woofer, lol.

I bought a block of paraffin wax and used glass jars and things worked better, but like the above guy states, you can buy a lot of 'small jar' candles for cheap at the Dollar Store and not deal with the mess.

It's a fun 'crafts' project, no doubt, but sometimes it's just easier to go the cheap route if you need candles for an emergency setting.

Chris
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