Light up your mom's life by making her this interesting gel candle in a fish bowl. Gel candles are easier to make than you might think. After you make the fish bowl candle, try pouring gel wax into other unique containers such as mason jars, cups, and glasses. Be sure to run hot water in the container first so it doesn't crack from the heat.
You should be careful when choosing wicks for candle-making or even when buying candles. Some wicks have a metal core that contains lead. Burning these candles can create dangerous lead-based fumes that can be especially harmful to young children. To be sure that your wick is safe, try pressing it against a piece of paper. If it makes a mark on the paper, chances are that there is lead inside. The manufacturers of gel wax recommend that you use a bleached, nonwire core wick in gel candles.
Level: Moderately easy
Time involved: Two to three hours
- Newspaper or plastic
- Small round glass fishbowl (I used one that I found at a craft store that was approximately 4 inches wide.)
- Candle wick (The stiff wicks with a metal tab on the bottom work best.)
- Glue gun
- Masking tape
- Decorative marbles
- Gel wax (I used about 1/3 of a 23-ounce container.)
- Medium saucepan
- Blue gel wax dye
- Candy thermometer
- Decorative fish that can be added to gel candles (These can be found in the candle-making section of a craft store.)
Spread newspapers or plastic on your work area to protect it. Run hot water in the fish bowl to prevent it from cracking from the heat of the gel wax. Dry the bowl thoroughly. Prepare the fish bowl by gluing the metal tab of the wick to the bottom of it. If the wick is not stiff, tape the other end of the wick to a pencil and lay it across the top of the bowl.
Place a layer of decorative marbles in the bottom of the bowl, being careful not to disturb the wick.
Spoon out about 1/3 of the gel wax into the saucepan. You might have to use a knife to cut around the edges of the gel to facilitate an easy removal. Melt the wax on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until it turns liquid. Add a couple drops of the blue dye to the gel until it turns a light blue color. Place the thermometer in the gel when melting it, and do not exceed 260°F.
Carefully pour the wax into the prepared glass, keeping the wick straight up and down in the center. Allow the wax to cool for about 10 minutes. Using the tweezers, insert the fish into the gel on the side of the bowl, away from the wick. Allow the candle to cool thoroughly (several hours) before handling.
More on: Crafts for Kids
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Holiday Crafts © 2002 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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