The pioneers at Naper's Settlement made their own candles by dipping or by using tin molds to make tapers. Try this version after a big snowfall to use the snow as a mold. You will need to have an adult help because the hot wax could be hazardous.
Paraffin wax (available at most supermarkets in 1# boxes)
2-3 old crayons to serve as the wax colorant
Empty, clean, 16 oz. or larger, tin can
4” of candle wicking, or birthday candles
1. The snow needs to be the “packing” kind. First prepare the snow candle mold. If necessary mound up an area so the snow is about a foot deep. With the spoon, dig a hold that is about 3 inches wide by 3 inches deep. Experiment with different shapes if you like, but make sure there is a fairly flat bottom so the candle will stand up without falling over.
2. Select the desired color of the candle and put those crayons into the tin can along with one bar (1/4#) of the paraffin. Put the can in the saucepan and fill the pan with water to come halfway up the side of the can.
3. Have an adult boil the water in the saucepan to melt the wax in the can. (Wax is flammable, so never melt it directly in a pan over the stove. Always use a double boiler.) Watch the wax carefully. Once it has melted, have the adult use potholders or a mitt to carry the wax out to pour it into the snow mold.
4. Insert the wicking or the birthday candle in the center of the wax. Hold it for a few minutes until the wax hardens enough to hold the wick straight. Let the candle cool for about an hour.
5. Carefully dig the candle out of the snow. It’s ready to light.
6. You can also try this method using sand rather than snow.
If this seems too complicated, try the following method to make an ice ball to hold a votive candle.
The weather needs to be below freezing, or use your freezer.
Old margarine tub, potpie tin, or other flat-bottomed container
Pin to pop balloon
1. Fill the balloon with water until it is about the size of a softball. Blow once into the balloon and then tie a knot in it.
2. Place the balloon in the margarine tub and set it outside (or in the freezer).
3. After 4 to 5 hours a fairly thick shell of ice should have formed inside the balloon. Check by shaking the balloon gently. If the outside is hard and water can be heard sloshing inside, it is time to pop the balloon.
4. Discard the balloon. Pour off excess water to form a cavity in the center. Freeze the candleholder for another 2 hours or so until it is very hard.
5. At sunset, place a votive candle in the ice ball and light it. Put the candle by your door to welcome visitors. These make lovely luminaries.
6. Store the ice candle in your freezer if the temperature warms up.
7. Use the same method to make larger candles in buckets, milk jugs with the tops cut off, etc. Coat the interior with vegetable oil before adding water to make removal easier.