Just before the Advent season starts, our parish holds a day for all the families in the Church School to come and make Advent Wreaths. They use styrofoam blocks for the base, and work greenery around the (purchased) candles. There is also a teaching unit about the meaning of Advent, as a season of preparation for the birth of Christ.
With our youth group, which is aimed at the early teens, we rolled beeswax candles. This is amazingly simple to do, and you can get about four candles from a single sheet of beeswax if you’re clever. It sounds expensive, but it worked out to roughly four dollars per kid (allowing five candles).
You will need the sheets of beeswax, wicking, and most likely a hairdryer or two. Wax needs to be kept at room temperature or it either melts or freezes and becomes difficult to work with.
Start by cutting the wax into the size and shape desired. A rectangle or square will result in a straight column; a triangle will give you an edge spiralling around the candle. If you use the triangle, make sure that the edge which forms the top of the candle is cut straight across, so that it’s easier to light the candle. Measure out the wick to exactly the height of the candle, and press it into the inner edge of the wax, offset by 1/2″. (Why? Two reasons: you need a wick sticking out the top to light, and because beeswax has such a low melt point, you can damage your candle holder if the wick runs to the very bottom of the candle.)
Once the wick is aligned with the wax, roll steadily and evenly away from you. The wax tends to adhere to itself. If you’re having trouble, or the edge of the wax starts to break up, use the hairdryer to heat it up a bit. It doesn’t take much.
If you have an edge spiralling around the candle, you can go a step further and flare it out a bit by pinching the very edge gently with your finger tips.
And voila! The Light of Christ, given for you.