Like most people, I enjoy taking long walks on the beach. I love the feel of sand under my feet and the way the beach stretches for miles before me.
And then I suddenly feel inspired, thinking of the ways sand can be used in decor and crafts.
That's when I know it's time to go home and have some more fun.
Here's a popular sand craft kids enjoy at day camp year after year. The adults melt the wax, and the kids create the molds and add decorations for one-of-a-kind sand candles.
With a child's touch, the candles are whimsical, spontaneous and useful.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- Clean damp sand in a bucket or sandbox
- 1 pound box of paraffin wax (available in canning section at most markets)
- 1 saucepan
- 1 tin can, such as a large soup can with lid removed. (Pinch rim of the can with pliers to form a spout for easy pouring.)
- Candle coloring or stubs from colored candles (optional)
- Candle wicking (available at craft stores)
- Pencil or sticks
- Tiny trinkets, stones or shells (optional)
WHAT TO DO
To make mold: Carve out a 2- to 3-inch depression in the damp sand, about 3 to 4 inches wide. Pat the sides and base of the depression to make a very firm mold for your candle. Press several trinkets into the mold.
To melt paraffin: Meanwhile, an adult should fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and set the tin can in the center of the pan. Put a chunk of paraffin in the can and add candle stubs or coloring. As the water gets hot, the wax will melt. Stir occasionally, keeping a constant eye on it, since it is flammable.
To pour paraffin and place wick: An adult should carefully pour the melted wax into the sand mold. While the wax is still liquid, place a length of wicking down the center of the mold with at least 1 inch of wicking exposed at the top. Hold the wick in place until the wax begins to harden. Prop the wick with a stick until the wax is completely hard. Or tie the wick around the middle of a pencil and let it rest across the top of the mold with the wick in the wax. Leave undisturbed until hard.
To finish candle: Gently lift the candle out of the sand mold. Using an old toothbrush, brush off excess sand from the candle and embedded trinkets, leaving some sand on the surface for a natural look.
Note: An adult should always be present when candles are burning.