Celebrating Candlemas with homemade Orange Peel Candles

 These homemade candles make great little lights for Candlemas, & are a neat way to upcycle any old candles you may have around the house.

As a family we celebrate Candlemas (the presentation of Jesus in the temple) on 2nd February, a reminder to Christians that Jesus is the light of the world. On this day (& on the Sunday before) we like to fill our house with light to remind us that we can also be lights of welcome, hope & friendship to those we meet this year. 

In previous years we've made glass lanterns but this year we wanted to create our own candles. I had intended to use large oranges for this but keeping the orange peel intact while removing the segments was a little challenging for small hands (& larger ones too) so instead we used satsumas/mandarin oranges. These of course gave us smaller candles, but they were much easier to use, & the candle wax took less time to set.

We started by cutting the fruit in half, & scooping out the segments. To do this we gently ran a teaspoon around the inside of the skin before carefully lifting the fruit out with the spoon. 

Once the fruit holders were ready we removed any discoloured wax or burnt wicks from the old candles using a blunt knife. (If you don't have any candles to upcycle you can purchase a range of wax pellets on-line including soya & beeswax.)

We used an old saucepan to melt our wax over a gentle heat, alternatively you could melt the wax in a glass container over a pan of hot water. Obviously this part of the activity is just for adults as the wax is very hot.

As the wax melted I slowly stirred it carefully removing any wicks or dirt from the pan with a spoon. We added a little colour to one batch of the wax using these & simply stirred in a little of the colourant as the wax was melting. 

Once completely melted I carefully transferred the wax to the satsuma halves using an old tablespoon. I added 2 tablespoons of wax to each holder, but you may wish to add more/less.

Next we quickly added our candle wicks that we had made prior to the activity. To make these we secured a short length of string to a lolly stick using a loom band. (Those mini bands come in so handy!) This does look bizarre but when the lolly stick is placed over the fruit it holds the wick in place as the wax sets. 

Our candles took around an hour to set, but to speed up the process you can always pop them in the fridge. Your fruit candle is now ready, just remove the lollystick & rubber band & you're ready to light your homemade candle.

Alternatively you can decorate the top by cutting a pattern into the fruit using scissors. We wanted to create a crown effect with this one so cut a simple zig-zag design. 

To the candle below we added a few cloves which not only created a pretty effect but also an amazing scent. 

I love the glow & fragrance of these candles, & there is something really beautiful about their simplicity. (Obviously these candles are never left lit in an unsupervised area.)

We'll be lighting these tonight as we celebrate Candlemas. As a family we'll be observing how each little candle radiates so much light & makes a difference to its dark surroundings. We'll think about how we can each radiate light & make a difference in our world. How we can show hope, kindness, & friendship to those we meet. We'll also be giving thanks for those people who are lights in our life, & lighting a candle for them. 

May your day be filled with light today!
Happy Candlemas!