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Discussion in 'Equipment & Survival Kits' started by Nowell3, Oct 23, 2008.
How can I make my own candles for my survival kit?
Never made candles before but this seems like a good resource; Candle & Soap Making Techniques
I know you can make them out of beeswax if you keep bees.
There are multiple approaches:
You can make beeswax candles. The simplest way is to buy the beeswax and suitable wick material, then make the candles. The time-honored way of just making tapers (the thin candles for light) is just to melt the wax in a fairly deep container, tie as many wicks to a stick as will fit in the container (with some kind of weight on the bottom of each wick that will take it straight down into the wax), and then dip. The more you dip, the thicker the candles become. I expect there are tricks to this, too. I watched it done at one of those pioneer days reenactment parks, but have never done it myself. There are many other waxes that can be used for candles, but I don't know how many are suitable for the dipping technique, and may have to be cast.
Candles can also be made from paraffin (a wax derived from petroleum), but this will be inferior to beeswax.
An alternative to candles is an oil lamp, kind of a simpler version of the time-honored kerosene lantern that goes back to prehistoric times.
This URL seems to have a lot of info: Candle Making Instructions and Techniques
I have made candles from crayons, parafin wax, old candles and such. I do the mold style of candle making. An easy way to make a mold is to place toilet paper tubes up-right on a piece of wax paper. Take a bamboo skewer (for making shish-ka-bobs) and tie a wick to it (found in many hobby stores).
Slowly pour the melted and blended wax into the toilet paper tube till it is half-full and allow to cool for a few hours. Peal off the tube and you have a good working emergency candle.
Note: Never melt wax on direct heat - a double boiler or a small pot floating in a large pot works well. If the water is too hot to put your finger in for 5 seconds, its too hot for the wax - turn the temperature down a bit. Do not spill the liquid wax on anything hot (like a burner) and take care not to get the liquid wax in places that is difficult to clean up.
I don't make many candles, but I do make a lot of 'Camp Stoves' using candle wax and canning paraffin...
Double boiler is a VERY good way to get things melted and get them to conform to the container you are using.
Remember, the best candle wax is Petroleum Paraffin wax like used in home canning.
It's very cheap, comes in pre-cut blocks and stores indefinitely.
Bees wax tends to burn away faster and it's EXPENSIVE compared to canning wax!
Just though I'd mention it...
Do crayon candles stink when you burn them? That sounds like a fun idea.
I had made a couple in rectangle cans and used an oil lamp wick that I cut into thirds. I used all three for each candle and I used the parafin wax.
I use the crayons for color - just to be pretty. You can have fun with the kids and make the candles together. You can layer the colors or make the candles all one color.
Using a gold-fish bowl as a candle holder will cast alot of light (multi-wick) and it also makes a great living room center-piece.
I've only made a couple candles. Most of my wax melting is to make fire starters for camping.
I save all the kids' broken crayons to use in these. I also buy tapers from the local "Good Stuff Cheap" store. I break these up and melt them down. The couple candles that I made, I used the wicks that I got out of these tapers.
My mother collected mugs. She "cleaned house" so we took some and filled them with wax. some have three wicks. Real Pretty, but not much for camping/survival.
Do all crayons work the same? I remember when I was younger I hated how the RoseArt crayons had a different texture to them and appeared differently when used on paper than regular Crayola Crayons.
You wouldn't want to make candles from crayons directly - use a mix of new parafin - wax and candles for color. Only use the crayons if you have they around, no need to go and purchase (waste money) crayons for emergency candles.
You can also re-use candle-stumps and melt them into a new candle-mold.
I've made many hundreds of candles from beef tallow. Find a butcher and buy their beef fat being thrown away. I get mine for $5.00/30 lbs. Render it in a 300 F or so oven in a really big pot in your oven for a very long time until all the fat has been exposed and liquified (rendered). Allow it to cool a bit, strain it and pour it into one pint Mason jars. Allow it to assume room temperature and it will harden and become white in the jars. Pork fat will not harden. Figure out how to weave a thick cotton thread using a series of half hitches into a suitably thick wick. It must be cotton, I use a 7 cord thread. Taking an ice pick, ***** the end of a pre cut woven wick and in the center of the Mason jar tallow, simply force the wick down into the reasonably hard tallow until the glass bottom is felt, then pull the ice pick up and out, while the wick remains. Sometimes I will insert 3 wicks in different parts of the candles when I want a candle with more light. There is absolutely no waste of the locally available/renewable fuel. To extinguish the light, lay the jar seal onto the top of the jar and the candle runs out of air. Put the screw cap on, allow to cool and store it for the next time. I believe a single wick in a one pint jar of beef tallow will burn continuous for about 70 hours. When the tallow level gets to about 1/2 inch from the bottom, pull out the old wick, add more rendered tallow and insert a new wick when it's cool and hard.
Candles are quick and easy to make ...
(Just a few ... Happy reading ...)
An old clear jar with a good plastic or metal lid can be turned into an emergency candle. When the wax has cooled trim the wick, lay a book of matches on the top, and put the top on.