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Make Your Own Shabbat Candles
Stuff You'll Need
- A small pot
- A tuna or cat food can (empty and clean)
- A clean can (for the dip tank) that's taller than the length of the candle you want to make (For typical Shabbat candles, you'll need a 32 oz. can.)
- (Optional) Peeled crayons or candle-wax dye (available in craft stores)
- Two 2-liter plastic soda bottles with the tops cut off
- Block of candle wax
- Wick: flat or square braid (8 inches for every 2 candles. To make 8 candles, you will need 32 inches of wick.)
- Measuring spoon
- Stearin (optional) to increase the time that the candles will burn
- Candle thermometer (optional)
- 4 1/2-inch square piece of cardboard, slit on all four sides to hold the two wicks while dipping four candles (See Picture 2.):
- A ruler
- A pencil
- A sharp knife
Preparing the Wicks
This priming process replaces most of the trapped air within the wick with wax, producing a candle that burns more evenly.
- To make eight candles, cut four 8-inch lengths of wick. (Each length of wick will make two candles.)
- Fill the tuna can halfway with wax.
- Place the tuna can in the pot. Add some water to the pot so that the tuna can is halfway covered. Be careful that the water doesn't get in the tuna can.
- Heat the water until the wax melts, then completely submerge the wicks in the wax. Leave them in the wax for 5 to 10 minutes, gently swishing them around with a pencil.
- Remove the wicks with a pencil and gently pull them straight until the wax hardens.
- Remove the tuna can after the water has cooled. Excess wax will harden and can be used to prime other wicks.
Dipping the Wicks to Make Candles
- Put about 2 inches of water in the pot. Put the wax in the dip-tank can, and set it in the pot of water. Heat the water until the wax is completely melted. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Optional: Add 2 - 4 teaspoons of stearin and stir until it's melted and well mixed with the wax. This is not essential, but it will make the candle burn longer and brighter.
- (Optional: Traditionally, most people prefer to light white Shabbat candles, but if you would like to add color to your candles, then add this step.) Add a peeled wax crayon or wax-candle dye to the melted wax. Stir well.
- Allow the wax temperature to cool until a skin begins to form on the surface. Then reheat to about 140˚F ( (approximately 3 - 5 minutes).
- Bend the primed wicks in half over the slotted wick holder, pushing the wicks into the slots.
- Using the wick holder, dip all four wicks at once into the wax to the desired level. Raise the wicks completely out of the wax and air-cool for 20- 30 seconds.
Then dip the wicks into a 2-liter bottle filled with cold water.
- Repeat the dipping and cooling several times, allowing the wax to build up to the desired thickness to fit into your candlesticks.
Then let the candles air-cool for 1 or 2 minutes by hanging them in the empty 2-liter bottle. Remove candles from the cardboard holder.
- Straighten each candle by rolling it on a smooth, round surface. Use a sharp knife to trim the bottom of each candle so that they are flat.
- Cut the candles apart and place them in your candlesticks.
Craft by Rena Fruchter
Photos by Robert M. Stein