Vintage lights for lengthening Fall nights

Thrifting has been good this week. I snapped up three pieces of vintage Hazel Atlas Platonite glassware in October colors. Since they’re not madly desirable they’d be hard to sell in our Dish Sister’s booth. I decided right away I’d re-purposed them as candles.

vintage Hazel Atlas Platonite

Moderntone Platonite sherbets in orange and pale yellow, Newport Hairpin sugar bowl in orange. Probably no one is looking for these exact pieces for their Hazel Atlas collection.

Years ago I bought boxes of pure beeswax candles on closeout sale from a famous housewares store/catalog. When they arrived I was disappointed to discover they were all a blah, mis-matched range of beige. I didn’t want to pay return postage so I tossed them in a drawer.

wrapped beeswax candles

Unattractive color variations kept these candles hidden away for years. (And yeah, my counters are Formica!)

I unwrapped the candles and put them in a double boiler over simmering water. If I were planning to make lots and lots of candles, I’d buy a thrift store metal pitcher or something similar to use only for melting wax.

double boiler to melt candles

I lined the double boiler with foil to make it easier to clean out.

I used a chopstick to retrieve the wicks as the candles melted.

picking wicks out of the melted wax

I know! I could have used TWO chopsticks to pick up the wicks just like eating Lo Mein!

Beeswax takes ages to melt. You don’t want to get hasty, crank up the heat and have it spontaneously combust. (Or maybe you do, in which case you’re a far more interesting person than I am.)

melting candles

Watching wax melt is about as exciting as watching golf on TV. At least it didn’t have commercials.

I reused the old wicks to make new wicks. If I’d done this properly, I would have attached them to metal doohickies at the bottom. I’m cheap, okay?

Chopsticks made good wick holders because they were already in my junk drawer. Also, they’re squared off and won’t roll away.

sherbet candles

These candles will set up about as fast as Jell-O does. Only you don’t need a fridge or whipped cream.

Oops! I ran out of wax before I topped off the sugar bowl.

pouring wax

My guesstimating ability is lacking. Another candle had to sloooowly melt before I could finish pouring this one. I think the Chinese characters on the chopstick say “Haha better luck next time!”

The instructions I read on the interwebs all used paraffin wax. They specify leaving 1/2″ free at the top to level off the candle after the paraffin cools and sinks in the middle. As it turns out, beeswax shrinks differently.

shrunken wax

I expected the wax to sink down in a well around the wick. It pulled away from the edges instead. If you know why beeswax is different, let me know!

I didn’t slop wax on the counter, didn’t ignite anything that wasn’t supposed to be burning, and didn’t burn myself. No vintage glassware was permanently harmed. That makes it a complete success in my book.

Time for The Big Reveal!

finished vintage candles

Not bad for a first kitchen counter experiment in candle making. The perfectionist in me sees the dribbled wax on the rims, the gaps around the edges, etc. Sometimes you just have to leave well enough alone. Life is not a magazine shoot.

I trimmed the wicks to 1/4″. Beeswax burns slowly so these candles will probably last most of October if I light them a few hours a night.

beeswax candle burning bright

Candle, candle burning bright! Completely smokeless with a slight scent of honey.

How are you lighting the Fall nights at your house?