Sunday, November 1, 2009

US History: Colonial Times, Lighting

We've been stuck with another flu strain the past few days, but, before we got sick, we were starting some fun Colonial activities.

We've been dipping candles. What you are seeing here is a coffee can inside a pot. We have simmering water in the pot, keeping the can warm and the wax melted.

It turns out there is a trick to dipping candles with out using lots of wax! We filled the can 2/3 full of boiling water, then put in chunks of paraffin (in the canning section of your grocery store). The hot water melted the wax, and the wax floated on the water. We also added part of a crayon for color.

We kept a tall container of cool water handy.

We tied 2 lengths of string to a dowel so that there were 4 ends hanging down. We then put washers on the ends of the strings to keep the candles straight.

Then we dipped the strings, first into wax, then into cool water. If you keep them in the cool water long enough to get chilled (we used ice), the wax builds up faster.

After the first batch, we also added bergamot oil to make them smell good!

Eventually, I hope to make candle clocks out of some of them. To do this, you take several candles which were dipped together. You burn one and, at hourly intervals, you mark on the rest of the candles how far the first candle has burned. Since our candles are short, we'll use half hour intervals!

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