Something a Little Different

I’ve been thinking about how reusing, recycling and upcycling are important values of every allotmenteer. On the plot, we try to reuse as much as possible, taking care to minimise the waste we produce. Almost inevitably, we have taken steps to change how we use things at home. We have drastically reduced our use of plastics in the kitchen, instead using fabric snack pouches, sandwich wraps and freezer bags. More recently, we have been buying milk from a local farm using and reusing a selection of glass bottles. I’ve even made butter using a hand churn.

But what next? My husband and I have a Christmas family tradition of buying a special candle which we have on during advent. However, I realised that there’s a lot of wax left in the bottom of the jar when the wick had burnt out. This seemed rather wasteful. Then I remembered that ages ago I had bought some wicks for a craft project. I rummaged around my craft box and triumphantly ran downstairs, grabbed the candle and headed to the kitchen.

I boiled a kettle and poured some water into a large bowl. Carefully, I placed the old candle into the bowl and waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually, the wax melted a little but clearly this method wasn’t going to work. Or more accurately, my patience would run out before it actually melted! Next I grabbed a saucepan, poured some water in and heated it on the hob. Gently, I put in the candle and watched with increasing satisfaction as it began to melt. As it melted, I turned my attention to what to put it in. In the back of a cupboard, I discovered two small glass bottles – perfect! Once the wax was all melted, I put the wick into the bottle and slowly poured in the liquid wax.

Suddenly, I had a new candle! To help it cool quicker, I partially filled a mug with cold water and put the candle in. Within a few minutes, the wax had cooled enough to be touchable. Inspired with my success, I proceeded to round up a couple of old candles we used in the blackout a few weeks ago and marched back to the kitchen. My husband seeing that the kitchen would soon become an industrial candle making zone, beat a hasty retreat and disappeared upstairs. Over the next half hour, I had a great time experimenting with different waxes and generally making rather a mess of the kitchen. However, amid all the chaos, I managed to make three small candles.

Flushed with success, I spent the rest of the evening researching candle making. I did have a mad idea involving setting up a bee hive on the plot and making beeswax candles… But I might be getting ahead of myself a little!


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