This project is inspired by the charmingly irregular, free-form sand candles of the 1960s.
- Beeswax, 1 pound per candle
- Candle dye
- Candy thermometer
- Wooden spoon
- Assorted molds with flat bottoms
- Wooden craft sticks
- Large plastic container or bucket
- Square-braided cotton wicking, number 4
Place beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat. Each 1-pound piece will yield a 4-inch-tall, 3-inch-wide pillar candle. Monitoring with a candy thermometer, heat beeswax to 175 degrees. For a heavier coat of sand, heat the wax to 190 degrees.
Add about 1/8 of a cake of dye per 1 pound of wax. Blend with a wooden spoon. To test the color, dip a wooden craft stick into the wax, and allow to dry. Add more dye in small pieces until you achieve desired color, remembering the finished color will be slightly darker than the stick.
Combine sand with water by mixing with your hands until sand packs firmly enough to hold an imprint. Cover bottom of container with several inches of sand. Set mold on top, and pack additional sand tightly around it, making sure mold stays upright. Grip mold firmly, and carefully ease it straight up and out of the sand. If the sand wall crumbles, mix in a little more water, and begin again.
Cut a piece of cotton wicking to several inches longer than the height of the candle, and dip it into the melted wax to stiffen it. Use a pencil to make a hole in the bottom of the mold. Place one end of the dry wick in the hole, and bury it, using the pencil.
Making sure the wick stands upright and centered, pour the wax into the mold in a slow, steady stream. Don't pour too fast, as the wax will make a dent in the sand. If you are making more then one candle, return the wax to the stove between pours. Let the candle set until completely cool (overnight, if possible), and remove it. Dust off excess sand with a paintbrush, and use scissors to cut off the excess wick and wax at the base.