By Donna Erickson
Signal Contributing Writer
Like most people, I enjoy taking long walks on the beach. I love the feel of sand under my feet and the way it stretches for miles before me. And then I suddenly feel inspired, thinking of the ways sand can be used in decor and crafts. That’s when I know it’s time to go home and have some more fun.
Here’s a popular sand craft kids enjoy at day camp year after year. The adults melt the wax and the kids create the molds and add decorations for state-of-the-art sand candles. With a child’s touch, they’re whimsical, spontaneous and useful.
To make candles at home, you’ll need:
— Clean, damp sand in a bucket or sandbox
— 1 pound box of paraffin wax (available in canning section at many markets)
— 1 saucepan
— 1 tin can, such as a large soup can with lid removed. (Pinch rim of the can with pliers to form a spout for easy pouring)
— Candle coloring or stubs from colored candles (optional)
— Candle wicking (available at craft stores)
— Pencil or sticks
— Tiny trinkets, stones or shells (optional)
Here’s the fun:
- Carve out a 2-3 inch depression in the damp sand, about 3-4 inches wide. Pat the sides and base of the depression to make a very firm mold for your candle. Press several trinkets into the mold, if you wish.
- Meanwhile, an adult should fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and set the tin can in the center. Put a chunk of paraffin in the can, and add candle stubs or coloring, if you wish. As the water gets hot, the wax will melt. Stir occasionally, keeping a constant eye on it, since it is flammable.
- An adult should carefully pour the melted wax into the sand mold. While the wax is still liquid, place a length of wicking down the center of the mold with at least one inch of wicking exposed at the top. Hold the wick in place until the wax begins to harden. Then, prop the wick with a stick until the wax is completely hard. Or, tie the wick around the middle of a pencil and let it rest across the top of the mold with the wick in the wax.
- When hard, gently lift the candle out of the sand mold. Brush off excess sand from the candle and embedded trinkets with an old toothbrush, leaving some sand on the surface for a natural look.
Note: An adult should always be present when burning candles.