Hand-Carved Candles

When I was a kid, I was absolutely obsessed with hand-carved candles. I remember the shop on San Francisco's Pier 39 and the fascination I had with watching the talented artist create the gorgeous candles before my very eyes. I was eventually gifted my own beautiful pink and white candle, then another one later in shades of blue.

But as much as I loved watching the candles being made, I really REALLY wanted to try it myself. In the late-90's, my parents got me the Candle Magic Holiday Cut and Carve Candle Kit (sadly, no longer available anywhere that I was able to find, though here's an affiliate link to some other candle kits the same company made still for sale). My kit included everything I needed to make two carved candles. I made one and had a blast. It wasn't exactly stunning, but it was so much fun to do and I was thrilled to finally try a craft I'd wanted to do for years. I put the second set of candle materials away, saving it for a special occasion.

Well, as often happens when I save art supplies for a special occasion, my candle kit sat for years. I hadn't forgotten about it; in fact, I'd thought about making my next candle many times. I finally did and it was just as fun as the first time.

You start by softening the wax in warm water for 20+ minutes. Then you suspend the candle (that's Steve's tripod I'm using) and start carving with a paring knife. 

I took a few photos as I worked, which turned out to be a dumb idea. I should have carved as quickly as possible. The wax cooled rapidly in our chilly house, but I didn't notice until one of the last pieces I carved snapped right off. Oops. 

My finished candle is very uneven and clearly the work of a beginner, but I'm still happy with it. Process, not product... right?  

There are lots of happy memories in my lop-sided candle, and it burns just as bright as a perfect one would. Actually, it burns much brighter, because I could never bring myself to burn such gorgeous works of art!


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