With little more than beeswax and heat, create glowing candle holders that bring light and warm ambience to any room.
By Petra Ahnert
November/ December 2017
Looking for an easy way to bring warmth to the holidays? These softly glowing, DIY luminaries are just the thing. Though perfect year-round for entertaining indoors and out, luminaries filled with the light of flickering candles perfectly set the mood for cozying up against the cold. They make a great alternative to more expensive, store-bought votives; are wonderful to craft with older kids; and any mistake can be melted back down for a second attempt. Make a handful of these little gems to keep your house warm and bright all winter.
• 6 pounds beeswax
• High-quality, round balloons
• Cold water
• Double boiler
• Hot plate (optional)
1. Fill a balloon with cold water, paying attention to the shape the water creates. Once the desired shape is attained, tie off the balloon. Make sure it’s not stretched too far or it may burst when it comes in contact with hot wax.
It’s best to make the luminary slightly larger than needed rather than risk having it melt from the heat of the candle inside.
2. Melt beeswax in the double boiler. The top section of the double boiler should be large enough to fit the water-filled balloons, plus a little wiggle room.
3. Holding the balloon by the knot, dip it partly into the melted beeswax and pull it back out. Set the balloon lightly on a table to create a flat spot on the bottom to keep the luminary stable. The cold water in the balloon will cool the wax, so work fast.
4. Dip the balloon and let it harden on the table several more times, until the luminary has the desired thickness — 5 or 6 times is ideal. You can experiment with dipping the balloon at different angles as long as you keep in mind that these variations will show once a candle is inside.
5. Once the luminary is completely dry, drain the water out of the balloons by either undoing the knot or popping the balloon. It should peel right off the wax. The luminary can be left like this, or you may clean it up by using a hot plate to even out the bottom and smooth the edges. To smooth, turn the luminary upside down and lightly run the top edge along the surface of the hot plate.
6. Add a tealight and enjoy the ambiance!
Images and text adapted with permission from Beeswax Alchemy by Petra Ahnert, published by Quarry Books, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group, 2015.