Monday, 28 December 2015

Reciclaje de candelas

Recycling candles

A backdated post, as I was playing with candles last Saturday, it took me so long to write the first post that I'm way behind...
So, there are loads of little dead bits of tea lights and candles around the place that I though I could recycle them into something that'd actually burn again.
Much internet research was done with many, many opinions, the thing I knew I had to suss out was the wick, melting wax would be easy, in theory.
The many ways for wick range from: buying them from the local craft store - not an option for me, plaiting cotton string or using sticks - either to be dipped in wax, or soaked in oil. Now to see what supplies I could find around the hacienda.
I was hoping for your classic ball of white string, I could imagine dipping it in wax and it soaking up nicely - nope, none around. I found some cotton sewing thread which I tripled up and twisted and twisted and twisted until it did that twist-back-on-itself thing (don't get blown away by the terminology), then dipped in wax. I'd also found a massive 'ball' of twine, I guess you could call it, soaked it in olive oil. And a thin stick from the kindling box, *that's got to work, she says to herself*, and also had soaking in the oil too. An experiment was imminent...
Oh, before experimentation, there's the other issue of these wicks - they need to stand in something. And oh for Pinterest: use the ring pulls of cans...genius!

So, firstly let's try just one...

  • Clean jam jar/former candle holder.
  • Tie sewing thread wick (as expecting this to be the one that will burn) to a ring pull, put in centre of jar and clip top with a peg resting it on the jar's lip,
  • Pour melted old wax directly into jar, some on the peg, quite a lot on the worktop, stop pouring, knock the peg into the wax, fish out without burning fingers.
  • Realise that you need a jug to do some more accurate pouring, find the only glass one (and useful one in the house), pour the hot wax into it.
  • Continue to pour the wax in to the jar, only a little on the peg and none on the worktop.
  • Down tools and admire the hot wonder you have created.
  • Move new hot candle some where to take a photo of it for your blog... (see below)
Candle 001 - drying
*beams with joy over the fact it actually resembles a candle*
So, what I learnt with this one was:
  • Pouring direct from a pan with no spout, results in covering the worktop in wax, but also a cold jug means the wax solidifies a bit too quickly to pour - next time: warm the jug?
  • Using old recycled wax has loads and loads of crud in it, it sinks to the bottom of the candle, what you can't see in the photo is the entire bottom is black and well, chunky  - next time: pick out the chunks / sieve?

Round two...

So excited with fashioning one, and with loads of bits and different wicks to try I cracked on with round two - this time three!
  • Three receptacles cleaned, more old wax added to old pan, this time big chunks picked out, jug in pan of water, warming.
  • Three different wicks: stick soaked in oil; twine soaked in oil; twisted sewing thread dipped in wax, stringy ones tied or smushed into ring-pulls, stick stuffed into old wick base, clipped with pegs to hold in place.
  • Pour hot wax, into warm jug, into candle receptacles, spill only a little on the worktop as using a jug is amazing, don't pour the remaining chunks and detritus into the candles but onto a paper towel to bin.
  • Repeating the last two bullets: down tools and admire, move to location for blog photoshoot.
Photoshoot with candles (left to right: 002, 003, 004), plus manufacturing tools.

Audrey approves of the oil coated twine wick, candle cooling outside.
Round two lessons:
  • Warm jugs work well for keeping pouring temperature and allowing scud to settle at the bottom - next time: definitely use.
  • I couldn't find a knackered sieve to use, and as I'd already taken the only useful jug out of action, I couldn't do it - however using the jug did help in reducing the crud.
The next part of the experiment was the lighting test. I just needed to wait until they'd properly cooled - and oh my god, it took forever! I was like an impatient child, kept poking them, picking them up, moving them. What I did slowly see happen was that the wax was shrinking in the centre in a concave fashion, I assumed this was due to the cold jars cooling the wax at different speeds - I did recall reading about warming them before, but didn't discover why or what the point was, I suspect it was to lessen the shrinkage.

So, it was lighting time, finally!!
(top to bottom): 002 twine in oil; 003 stick in oil; 004 thread in wax; 001 thread in wax.

The lighting experiment - some more successful than others
I'm not sure how well the photo portrays the results, but:
  • 002 twine in oil - once lit, was amazing and I think would work well for outdoor candles as the wick is so thick - maybe with citronella or another the like.
  • 003 stick in oil - did not light. Maybe not soaked for long enough or wrong type of wood (?)
  • 004 & 001 thread in wax - lit, not the brightest flame, but from the one I concocted by hand I was pleased it lit.
So as 003 did not light and not wanting to waste stuff, I thought, as I still had some twine soaking and it was the most burny, I would bodge it and stab the twine, using a skewer I'd appropriated for candleing, into the candle and see what happened - bootiful it was, bright and burning. Four candles (not Fork Handles)!

Over the next couple of days we lit the candles over dinner, and lunch and breakfast, where each time I tried to not keep poking and playing with them. 004 & 001 burnt slowly and almost drowned in wax, the occasional saving was needed, after this happened a few times, I took the same brutal approach to 003 and stabbed a length of twine in them both - roaring they were, in comparison.
001, the first and with the dirtiest wax, the melted part turned a chocolate brown, not the foggiest why. And that's about where we're at.

A week and a bit have passed, I will be playing with wax again, especially as that jug is still out of use and cluttering up the side, I think Señor Spoon has accepted it as part of the kitchen furniture, oops. Next candle action plan: twine in oil, big candles, citronella or other oily bug deterrent.

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