Making a Cascading Pillar Candle

The Holidays are a time for projects which aren’t exactly necessary, but which make the days feel special. Many people express this by baking. My social networks are filled with people talking about cookies, pies, and other assorted delights. We’ve done our share of making special food for the holidays. Some of the special food was acquired through purchase rather than effort. This is fine too. However this holiday season I found myself with a slightly different holiday project. I’ve been playing with candles and melted wax.

See that pillar candle to the left, the one with the pretty drips? I made it. Once I made it, I spent an hour watching the wax drip through the holes and down the outside. I like candles as projects because they are like sand castles. No one expects them to last forever. Instead the materials are organized, destroyed, and reorganized as many times as one feels inspired to create. Left over wax from one candle can be the seed of the next candle. It is all about playing. How did I make the candle? Click on through for instructions and pictures

As you might expect, I began by melting wax.

The yellow wax was left over from a craft candle my daughter made with her Grandma over the summer. Incidentally, this is also where I got the instructions for making this sort of candle. I’m not sure where my mom learned it. The white wax is just Parowax Household Wax that I’ve had stored in the back of a cupboard since the last time I played with candle making about a decade ago. I like that wax doesn’t go bad. I melted the wax in left over scented candle jars on candle warmers. It took about 12 hours for the wax to fully melt. There are probably much faster ways to melt wax, but this was low impact for me. I could set it up and walk away.

These are the other supplies I collected before beginning the project.

The Pringles can served as a mold. The red candle was put down the middle to provide structure and a wick. I deliberately chose a red taper because I thought that red would look lovely when melted through yellow and white.

The last supply was ice.

I used small cubes because it provides smaller holes, however I did end up using some larger cubes as well. When everything was prepped, the pouring could begin.

Step 1: Pour a small layer of wax into the bottom of the Pringles can. This provides a base for the candle. It is not strictly necessary, but I like the way it looks instead of having holes in the bottom of the candle.

Step 2: Once the thin layer has set until it is soft, but not runny, place the (unwrapped) red taper in the center of the can. Fill the space between the taper and the walls of the can with ice.

Step 3: Pour liquid wax over the ice cubes. For this candle I poured white wax until the can was half full, gave it about a minute to set, then poured the yellow wax on top. It looks something like this when you’re done.

You can see that the wax is already hardening around the ice cubes and the taper.

Step 4: Wait. The wax needs to harden completely. This process can be sped up by putting the can in a cold place. I waited an hour just to be certain, but it was probably ready in 20 minutes or less.

Step 5: Tear off the Pringles can. Do this over a sink because most of that ice has turned to water now. Be careful, some of the wax constructions are thin and can be crushed if you push on them too hard.

Step 6: Set the candle in a bowl or sink to allow the remaining ice to melt away.

You can see that the taper is taller than the can. It looks a little silly sticking up like that. But once it burns down to the level of the other wax, the candle starts to dribble and be beautiful.

Step 7: Light your candle and watch.

This was not my only candle project over Christmas. I had lots of fun melting wax.

Edited to add: Here is a picture of the candle half melted down. I love it.

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