Cool idea: Ice-cube candles
Ice-cube candles are a craft from our parents’ generation, but it’s about time this obscure technique was resurrected. The process is very old-school – all you need is candle wax, a milk carton and ice cubes. The end result is a candle that has textured holes and grooves, so the light shines through as it burns. There are all kinds of variations, but we’ll start with the basics.
I had a hard time with this project. It took five tries until I came out with something passable, so don’t get discouraged.
1 cardboard milk carton
1 taper candle
Large pot filled halfway with water
5 pounds of candle wax
1 candle-making metal pitcher
1 candle thermometer
1 throwaway stirring stick
1 cookie sheet lined with foil
Safety gloves or potholders
1. Cut the milk carton so it’s 1 inch taller than you want the candle to be. Now, cut the taper candle so it stands 1 inch below the edge.
2. Put the large pot with water on the stove, bring water to a slow boil. Cut up two handfuls of the wax, put it in the candle-making pitcher and set inside the pot of water. Turn heat to medium high. Clip the thermometer on the inside of the pitcher. Stay and watch the wax liquefy. Add desired amount of scent and color according to package directions. Stir until mixed.
3. Set the milk carton on the foil-lined cookie sheet. Put on the gloves. Pour a 1-inch layer of wax into the carton. Let it set 5 minutes, and then set the taper candle inside. Hold in place until the wax hardens. Fill the rest of the carton with ice cubes about one-inch from the top of the taper candle.
4. When the wax on the stove reaches 180 degrees according to the candle thermometer, carefully pour into the milk carton, covering the ice cubes and the taper candle (but not the wick). Let cool 30-40 minutes; take the carton to the sink and cut and tear off the carton from around the candle. The melted ice cubes will drain through the holes. Do not use until the wick is dry.
Tip: Start with quart-size milk cartons because it may take a couple of tries to get the process down.
Caution: Never leave a burning candle unattended, and watch the stove while the wax is melting. Keep small children away while working, as candle wax is very hot.