Thursday, June 5, 2008

wednesday is craftsday!

For this yesterday's craft activity, our project was to make three kinds of candles: luminaires, boat candles and regular candles.

Regular candles are regular candles.

Boat candles are cup shaped candles that can float on water. Marvelous for table settings and pool decorations.

Luminaires are little domes (made of paraffin wax) with different shaped holes cut into its walls. These domes are placed over regular candles whose candle light shines through the holes cut into the wax domes.

Our teacher, Ted, showed us how to make all three. I will show you how to make the luminaires.

First we melt paraffin wax in a coffee can. We add a crayon to the melting paraffin for color.

The above photo shows the can of paraffin and one crayon melting away. (Gremere is actually doing something which is the last step, which I'll tell you about in a while.)

When all the wax has melted, we remove the can from the fire and let it cool a bit. Then we gather previously prepared small sized balloons filled with water. These will be our mold.

Here are the balloons. That little packet of colorful shiny tidbits on the right side of the photo will be used to decorate the regular candles. (not shown in this post)

The next step is a very crucial one. We had many misshaps here. We dip the water-filled balloon into the slightly cooled wax until a thin coat of wax forms around the lower half of the balloon.

The process is dip balloon, lift balloon out of wax, dip balloon again, lift it out again. Repeat five to seven times, or until desired thickness of the luminaire is achieved. As it was the first time for all of us, we sort of just winged it, each of us making luminaires of different thickness. The tricky part here is if the wax is too hot, the balloon will burst, and surprise (and splash) everyone nearby!

After a few burst balloons, we knew already what was just the right temperature for dipping. That would be lukewarm wax. Too cold wax meant the wax would have began to congeal and you wouldn't get a very good shape anymore.

Shown above is Honey dipping her yellow balloon in the can of melted orange wax. Bebot, beside her, is waiting for her turn. Notice the orange ice cream container beside the Cafe Puro can? That orange container has cold water where the wax coated balloon will be immersed for a while (around two minutes) in order for the wax to set.

Then the water inside the balloon is gently released using a pin or a sharp knife. The key here is 'gently', otherwise, water would splash every which way again.

Here is Queenie holding up some of the almost-finished luminaires. The next step is to cut out holes (you choose what design you like) in the walls of the wax luminaires. Remember that these luminaires will be turned upside down and placed over regular lighted candles and the light from the candle will shine through the holes that we made on luminaire walls.

The first photo shows Gremere doing this cutting-holes-step. And why is he hunched in front of the stove? It is because he is heating his knife. A hot knife cuts clean whereas a cold knife causes some chaffing of the wax.

Voila! Our waxy produce! Gremere's is at the one o'clock position. Mine is at the eight o'clock position and that cute pumpkin there was made by 13 year old Kevin. I used a cold knife for my margin so you can see some 'chaffing' or 'crumbling' on the rim of my luminaire.

Somewhere in between all these steps we had a sumptuous feast of pancit palabok, giant choco cupcakes, two kinds of nuts and assorted breads. YumYum!

And a wonderful time was had by all. :-)

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