a sand box or sandy beach
candle wax (we prefer to use beeswax or soy wax)
old pot or heat-proof container for melting the wax, plus a stovetop or hotplate
candle wicking (try a craft store for this)
a small washer or other weight
The sand will need to be wet to the point that it packs well and holds its shape. If it is too dry, add some water and mix it well so the sand is evenly moist.
Dig a hole in the sand, and shape it as you wish your candle to be shaped. Try and make the bottom flat so it will stand up well, or you can make it upside-down by burying the weighted end of the wick so it is about 4 cm or 1.5" deeper than the bottom of the hole. Measure your wicking so that there is at least 10 cm (4") more than the depth of the hole (a little more is better). Tie the weight to one end of the wicking, and a stick to the other. arrange the stick so that it spans the hole with the wicking dangling into the centre of the hole. The wicking needs to touch the bottom of the hole.
The adult weilding a pot of melted candle wax then carefully pours the wax into the hole. Drying/hardening time will depend on the surface temperature of the sand, the air temperature, the size of the hole and the type of wax. Allow for at least an hour before attempting to remove your candle.
Once it feels hard, carefully dig out your candle and trim the wick (it should be about 2 cm long or just under 1"). If you are using your candle upside-down, scrape off the sand around the wick before lighting it.
Decorating with Coloured Beeswax
plain taper or pillar candle, one for each participant
fla sheets of coloured beeswax (available through Waldorf schools or suppliers)
optional: cutting tools appropriate for the skill level of the crafters
Warm up small pieces of the wax by working them in your hands, making a desired shape. Press onto the candle. Repeat as desired. Note: if the wax is difficult to work, sit it in a warm area, such as a sunny window or on top of an oven that has been on until it softens a little.
Decorating with Shells & Pebbles
a pillar candle for each participant
assorted shells and pebbles
Preparation: Slightly warm the pebbles and shells so that they are warm but will not burn a child's hand. Use a hot water bottle or other warm item to keep these hot while working. It may also help to keep the candles in a warm area before starting the activity.
Have the child plan a pattern for their candle, then follow it to place various pebbles & shells on the candle. Be sure to have them press these into the wax--or help them out if absolutely necessary. Do not place any rocks or pebbles on the top near the wick or on the underside of the candle.
Alternate method: Melt a small pot of wax and let cool slightly so it is like a thick liquid. Let the kids dip the items into it and use it as glue to attach it to the candle. Remember that small hands are more sensitive to heat than adult ones, and proceed accordingly.
Candle in a Jar
a jar or mug for each participant
optional: materials appropriate for decorating the jar or mug
Optional: old candles and a grater
Measure and cut the wicking so that it is about 10 cm (3-4") longer than the height of the jar. Tie one end of the wick to the centre of the pencil. Dip the other end of the wick in wax and use the other pencil or ruler to press that waxed end onto the centre of the bottom of the jar or mug. Once it is secure, the wax can be poured. Let harden before cutting the wick from the pencil. Decorate the jar or mug as desired.
Alternate method: Use baby food jars, and instead of wicking, use a birthday candle in the centre, then add shaved/grated wax from old candles around it. Use your hands to press the wax down in hard until the candle feels secure, then add some melted wax on top to seal everything in.