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How To Make Candles

Making your own coloured, scented candles is really quick and simple. What's more, you'll save so much money you'll wonder why you ever bought one from a shop!

Making candles in a mould is incredibly easy. Just make sure you cover surfaces and be very careful not to overheat the wax.

You can buy candle making kits from craft shops, online or on the high street.

Time required: 20 minutes to melt the wax and prepare the mould; four or five hours for the candle to harden.

You'll need: Wax (paraffin wax beads and beeswax, or old candles), moulds, wick, dye discs or liquid candle dye (optional), essential oils (optional) and a double boiler: these are available from craft shops - or you can improvise with an old saucepan, pyrex jug, or even a sturdy can, in a pot of water.

Step 1: Melt The Wax

All wax has a flash point, so to prevent it bursting into flames, you must melt it in a double boiler, with water in the bottom pan. Pour the wax beads, or old candle wax, in the top pan. If you're using paraffin wax, it's good to add hardening agents, such as beeswax, to give you a long, clean burn. Use approximately 5 per cent beeswax to 95 per cent paraffin.

If you're using dye discs, break them up and add them at this point, so that they melt with the wax.

Step 2: Prepare The Mould With The Wick

Thread the wick through the mould and make sure that you leave a good few centimetres sticking out of the hole in the bottom. At the top, hold the wick steady by fixing it to the pin that sits across the top of the mould - either by sticking the pin through the centre of the wick, or tying the wick around the pin.

Step 3: Add The Scent

If you want a scented candle, add a few drops of essential oil to the melted wax. You can use any essential oil you like, as long as it doesn't contain water. I used pine, which was traditionally used for relaxing muscles and increasing energy, so it's the perfect thing in a bathroom.

Step 4: Pour The Wax Into The Mould

Try and tip the wax into the mould quickly, all in one go, to minimise spillage and air bubbles. Keep a little of the wax melting in the pan because you will need it to top up the candle as it hardens and sinks.

Step 5: Release The Bubbles And Top It Up

After a candle's been poured, air can become trapped inside, so over the next few hours the skin must be regularly broken to release any bubbles. Use a fat needle or cocktail stick to do this. Releasing the air bubbles will eventually make the candle sink, so you will need to top it up with more melted wax.

Step 6: Remove It From The Mould

After four or five hours, the candle can be taken out of its mould. Check it's completely hard first! Snip the wick, leaving about half a centimetre at the 'lighting end'.

Use a hot pan to carefully even off the bottom of the candle, to create a perfectly flat base. Your candle is now ready for display - but remember, you must always leave it for a day before lighting it.

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