You Light Up My Life

First… just a quick note to let everyone know that I’m feeling much better after my “melt-down” last week. My husband and I have had more discussions about my need for “quiet time”, and he’s been much more respectful. In turn, I’m compromising somewhat, as well. I don’t want him to feel that he’s not welcome to relax in his own home, so all in all, we’re working together, and I’m in a much better state of mind.

“Working together” has been a bit of a theme for my husband and me in recent months. He’s looking for ways to fill his time now that he’s retired, and, despite our different needs and different approaches, we enjoy spending time together. What it all means is that we’re doing a lot of creative projects together. This is a good thing. It allows me to be creative without the pressures I was putting on myself when “doing art”. It also gives me a chance to learn how to be a bit “craftier”. My husband is quite good at that sort of thing, so our partnership is a good one. I provide creative ideas and inspirations while he supplies the practical skills involved.

So, let’s go back in time a bit. Back to the days when my husband was still working and I was very much on my own with crafts. Remember the Christmas “ice candle” I wanted to make? You can read about it here: A Craft that Worked — Almost.

While it wasn’t the best candle ever made, it was fun, and I came away thinking that maybe I could actually learn a bit about candle-making. I was busy with “doing art”, though, so I never got around to making any more candles.

That changed last December. I wanted to make our home cozier than ever for the holidays, and for me, coziness and candles just go together. Especially at Christmas time. I didn’t want to try anything complicated — and definitely not another messy ice candle — so I browsed around at Amazon and found just what I wanted. It’s a simple all-in-one do-it-yourself candle-making kit.

This kit unfortunately is no longer available, although there are other candle-making kits listed. For me, this one was absolutely perfect. Everything needed was there in one box. The process was simple, and it was fun. My intention was to make candles as little Christmas gifts for the girls in the family, and everyone was pleased.

My husband was curious about it, so I invited him to help me. We both enjoyed the experience. It was quick; it was easy; it was successful.

No fragrances were included with the candle-making kit, but I have a huge collection of essential oils, so we chose a few to add scent to our candles. You can see our set-up here:

And the finished candles:

Once we realized how simple it was to create adorable candles by simply heating wax and pouring it into small containers… oh, I was ready to make more! All of these but one were given away, but when the one I kept burned down, I quickly re-made it by melting a packet of colored and scented wax cubes. It was so easy!

Even though I might have been happy forever just finding little tins and containers for candle-making, my husband was ready to move on to more advanced techniques. He wanted to try candle-dipping. Now, I know, this isn’t anything really “advanced”. School kids do this. Girl Scouts explore pioneer crafts and learn how to dip candles. It’s not really much more difficult than melting and pouring.

Unless you’re doing this project with my husband. Bless his heart. He has to give his all to everything he does, so for him, that made creating a “candle-dipping contraption” (my name for it) from old pipes.  It was all totally unnecessary, but who am I to spoil his fun?

Our first attempt at dipping candles wasn’t very successful. We’d found an “easy to follow” guide, read the directions, and thought we had a good understanding. Here’s one online guide:

How to Dip Candles

We actually looked at several articles and videos, and essentially the process is the same, no matter what blog or website the directions are from.

  1. Melt the wax
  2. Add color and fragrance, if desired
  3. Tie weights on both ends of a long wick
  4. Dip each wick into wax
  5. Dip each wick into cold water
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until your candle is as thick as you want
  7. Hang candles up to harden thoroughly
  8. Trim weights off

Simple, right? Yes, except that there’s one little factor I haven’t included in this list because we didn’t take it into consideration on our first attempts. You’ve got to have the wax at the right temperature. Our wax was apparently too hot, so it simply kept melting off the wick no matter how many times we dipped. Yes, we should have used a thermometer to determine the exact temperature, but I’ll venture to guess that the pioneers didn’t have candy thermometers around their kitchens… did they?

We finally realized what was wrong and ended up with two candles for our first attempt.


Hey, they’re candles! Real hand-dipped candles. We made them. We’ve since cut off the weights and these candles are ready to use. They are a bit on the small and skinny side, but at least we learned the process from making these first two.

Now we were ready to make more dipped candles. At this point, we’d bought a few more supplies. More beeswax. A set of candle-dyeing chips. A roll of wick material. We got out the contraption again, and I asked my husband what color he’d like. When he said “purple”, I envisioned a lovely light lavender. But, having no idea how much dye to use… well, we now have lovely “purple” candles.

I’ve also made a little “Valentine’s Day” candle using a pretty glass jar I found at Dollar Tree. I used 2 packets of scented, colored wax.

Candle-making actually is fairly simple, although, like any other creative endeavor, it can become as complicated as one wants to make it. We want to learn a little more, purchase a few candle molds, and try a few things, but we don’t plan to go overboard and do anything too fancy. One of the reasons I enjoy candle-making is because candles — in my opinion, at least — are practical. They’re pretty. They’re useful. I love candles.

And I love my husband, too. Years ago, Debby Boone sang the hit song “You Light Up My Life”.

Maybe it was an inspirational gospel song, or maybe it was a romantic love song. Take your pick. I always heard it as a love song, and truly my husband does light up my life in so many ways. Maybe he’s a bit noisy, but I love him. Maybe he comes up with crazy contraptions, but that’s all right. I love him for that, too.

Yes, he lights up my life, my world, my everything! We’ll be lighting a few candles for Valentine’s Day — candles that we made! What could be more romantic?


    1. We burned one of our “deep purple” candles yesterday. It’s actually quite beautiful. We’ve been looking at molds, so I’ll probably buy a few taper molds and maybe a pillar mold so we can try that, too. It’s fun to make candles, and it’s fun to use them. 🙂


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