Milk Carton Cube Candle
Anyway, this project explains how to do one cube. Of course you can double, triple, or quadruple all of your supplies to make more.
If you are an experienced candle maker, think back to simpler times when you did not have much candle making equipment and you used things from around the house. Remember when your candles came out and you were so proud of your creation - even if it had a few imperfections. Nonetheless, you were eager to show it off and light that baby up. This project will take you back to those days and give your brain a rest from that constant strive for perfection.
Please read all instructions before beginning project.
Start by saving or collecting some 1-quart or 1-pint cardboard milk or juice cartons. These are usually about 3X3 inch wide and 4-8 inches tall. Rinse and clean these well with warm water and a little dish soap. Try not to use hot water as this may affect the cartons rigidness and wax coating on the inside.
Equipment and Supplies
• 1 cardboard milk or juice carton in one of the sizes mentioned above. If you use the one quart size, you should cut it down to about 4-5 inches tall so it’s easier to pour
• 3/4 lb of paraffin or a pillar blend type wax
• Candle Safe Fragrance – 1/2 - 1 oz
• Candle Dye – block or liquid
• Pre-tabbed wick – appropriate for 3 inch diameter pillar candle
• Pouring pot or can with a bend for a pour spout that holds at least 16 oz
• Double boiler system – larger pan filled with 1.5-2 inches of water that your smaller pot or can will fit in
• 2 Chopsticks – for stirring and holding your wick
• Wooden skewer – for poking relief holes
• Mold release spray or cooking spray
• White paper plate or white glossy paper – to drip wax and test for color
• Tray or loaf pan to put your mold in just in case it leaks
• Newspaper – to keep your work area clean
• Candy thermometer
• Break and weigh your wax (3/4 lb) and place into your pouring pot or can
• Place pouring pot into your double boiler system and turn to medium or high to begin heating
• Add your thermometer after the wax has melted a bit
• While waiting for your wax to melt, prepare your mold and tabbed wick - Cut the top of your carton off to make a full opening. Make sure your wick reaches the bottom of your mold and wrap the top of your wick around a pencil or chopstick to hold it tight and straight. Spray the inside with a little mold release, measure a height of 3 inches and make a small mark with a pen so you will know where to stop pouring
• Lay down newspapers and set your tray(s) on top of this and your mold(s) in the tray, so you will have a safe area to pour. Make sure your mold sits stable and won’t tip when you pour your wax.
• When the wax is almost completely melted, start adding the dye and testing for desired color by dripping a small amount onto a white paper plate (add small amounts of dye until desired color is achieved) document the amount you use in case you ever want to make this exact candle again
• Keep an eye on your temperature and only bring your wax to about 175-180 degrees F.
• Add your fragrance when this temperature is reached
• Carefully remove from heat and stir until well blended
• Bring wax temperature down to about 165 degrees F. before pouring into prepared milk carton
• Pour about a half inch of wax into the bottom of each carton, place your tabbed wick into the center (you may want to push it down with your chopstick to make sure it is secured) and let this cool for just a few minutes.
• Pour more of the wax up to the pre-measured line of 3 inches tall. Save the remaining wax for a second pour.
• After 5-10 minutes, you will see a wax skin form on the top. Poke a few relief holes in this skin with your skewer so any trapped air bubbles can escape.
• Let this first pour cool for about an hour. Depending on the temperature of your room, the time could vary. Wait until it feels cool and a well or hole has formed around the wick. Reheat your leftover wax to about 165 degrees F. again. Carefully pour this into the well and let it fill just to the line where your first pour ends. You may still have a little wax left. Let this second pour cool completely. If another well forms, you can reheat any remaining wax and refill again. With shorter candles like this, one re-pour will typically be enough.
• Once your candle has completely cooled, you can either loosen the edges and slide it out of your mold or tear the mold and remove it that way.
You should have a nice candle shaped like a cube. Trim your wick to about a quarter inch and place on a tray or plate before burning. If your cube is a little uneven, you can level it by warming a pie tin or other small pan over your double boiler. Hold your candle straight and glide the bottom of the candle over the warmed pan until it has evened out.
Remember, this is a simple candle project and little imperfections add to its simplistic charm. Since this is a casual and somewhat rustic candle, perfection is not expected – or even possible with a milk carton and all of its seams.
Suggestion: Turn this idea into a group project! Get together with a couple of friends and make some simple candle sets. Have enough clean milk cartons and the other equipment and supplies so everyone can make three cube candles each. Maybe your friends can bring some things too. Each of you chooses one fragrance and one color to make your three candles. What you are going for here is each person making three identical cube candles and in the end swapping them amongst each other so you all end up with three different candles. The number could vary if you do this with more or less than three people, but you get the idea. Each person will need enough wax for a triple batch so triple the amount of your equipment and supplies for each person. Have each person follow the instructions carefully.
Enjoy some food, drink and conversation while you wait for them to cool and when your candles are complete, trade them out and make sets of three different candles for everyone.
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