How to Make a Kinara

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Candle Magic

Make your kinara (candleholder) for Kwanzaa even more special by burning homemade candles. Candles are relatively easy to make, but it's important that adults supervise due to the nature of the materials. Wax reacts much like oil when heated and is very flammable. Be sure to have some sand available in the event the wax catches on fire. You shouldn't have any trouble if you follow these simple steps.

Gifting Glitches

Keep in mind these four don'ts of candle use:

  • Don't light candles and leave them unattended.
  • Don't let kids put candles in their bedrooms
  • .
  • Don't light candles in a drafty area where they'll burn unevenly.
  • When making candles, don't throw the unused hot wax down your drain.

Time frame: Three to four hours plus overnight to harden

Level: Moderately difficult

What you need:

  • Newspapers
  • Candle wicking
  • Masking tape
  • Spoon
  • Seven 8-ounce plastic drinking cups
  • Three 16-ounce boxes of paraffin wax
  • Plastic bag
  • Hammer
  • Three 12-ounce coffee cans
  • Red, green, and black crayons (paper peeled off) or red, green, and black wax pieces (one bag of each color)
  • Large frying pan
  • Pot holders
  • Toothpick
  1. Cover your work area with newspapers.
  2. Prepare the candle molds: Cut a four-inch piece of candle wicking and tape it onto the middle of the handle of a spoon. Lay the spoon over the plastic cup so the wick hangs down into the cup. Tape the other end of the wick to the bottom of the plastic cup. (You can also buy individual stiff candle wicks with a metal disk on the bottom that will stand up in the cups without using the spoon. Be sure to hold the top of these wicks when pouring the wax to keep them in the center of the cup.) Repeat this step with the other six cups.
  3. Place the paraffin wax in a plastic bag. Hit the bag several times with a hammer to break the wax into small pieces.
  4. Place the wax pieces into the tin cans until two cans are approximately two-thirds full of wax and one can is one-third full.
  5. If using crayons, break them into small pieces keeping each color separate.
  6. Fill the frying pan half full of water (about one-inch deep). Keep the water at this level by adding more as it evaporates.
  7. Place the cans of wax in the boiling water.
  8. Once the wax melts, add the black crayons or wax pieces to the can with the smaller amount of wax and the red and green crayons or wax pieces to the other cans. Add a few pieces at a time, until you have the desired shade of color. Stir well with a stick or spoon until the wax is melted.
  9. Using a pot holder, carefully pour the melted wax into the prepared plastic cups to within one inch of the top. If any bubbles form around the wick after pouring the wax, pop them with a toothpick and add more wax. Repeat these steps until you have three red candles, three green candles, and one black candle. (Do not discard any leftover wax down a drain.)
  10. Allow the wax candles to harden in the refrigerator overnight before removing them from the cups.
  11. When the candle is hard, tap the bottom of the cup until the candle falls out or cut away the plastic from the candle with a pair of scissors. Cut the wick from the spoon, leaving a 12-inch length of protruding wick to light. Be sure to place a plate or tray under your candles to catch any wax that drips when you light them.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Great Gifts © 2001 by Marilee LeBon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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