A very simple melt and pour soy candle and some creative family time, a fun way to celebrate the harvest.
The colours of Mabon tend towards warm reds, oranges, yellow, gold and brown with some green thrown in for good measure. I often think of grapes this time of year and so I personally add in a little purple to that mix. Since orange will be such a strong colour addition to Samhain, I also tend to stay away from it for Mabon but as mentioned that is strictly personal.
In Canada, Mabon is a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. The themes are very similar and this little project would be just as appropriate for a cultural day of giving thanks.
a clear container with straight sides to make your candle in (A dollar store buy works well as does a small canning jar)
soy container candle wax
appropriate wick for the size of your container
candle dye cube in the colour of your choice
I made a purple, grape scented candle as those dyes and scent were already in the supply box. Other options to consider are ivory, red or green with apple scent, spiced or not. Yellow with sunflower or chrysanthemum aroma. Brown and a tobacco fragrance. A muted red with a wine bouquet. Much will depend on what your supplier has available.
Speaking of suppliers, if you need assistance, I shop at Wicks and Wax (http://www.wicksandwax.com) and they ship. Know the width of your container, so your supplier can help you with the best wick size. Adding dye and scent can also change the wick size as both will soften the wax so be prepared to share that information as well.
I used HTP-126 wick and GW464 soy wax but your source may offer other options.
When it comes to glassware, the taller the glass, the more likely you are to have soot collect at the top as the candle burns down inside. If a container under three inches high is a possibility, it is worth considering for that reason alone.
You can not really tell in the picture but the soy wax is sitting in an old tin can and that tin can is sitting in water. It is always a good idea to melt wax via a water bath and not by direct heat. It is much safer and there is no way the wax will reach a temperature hot enough to burst into flame.
When melting wax, there is a melt temperature and a pour temperature. The bag should give you these numbers. When the pour temperature has been reached, remove your container from the water and add the dye chip of your choice, stir to melt and combine and then lastly, add scent if using and mix again.
When making larger batches of candles, it is good to know exact amounts so finished products can be duplicated. In this case, I will admit, I sort of flew by the seat of my pants. If there had not been enough wax to fill the container, I would have either left the extra space empty or melted a small amount of additional soy wax and poured the wax into the container before adding a wick, stirring gently.
I did not have purple dye on hand but did have red and blue so added a little of each. The colour was a little too red for what I was looking for, so I added a little more blue and tried again. There is so much more freedom when making something for yourself rather than filling an order.
Stirring is important for two reasons. When dye cubes are not fully melted and mixed the finished product can be streaky. Additionally, scents have varying viscosities and if not properly mixed into the melted wax, they can fall to the bottom of the candles, creating soft and soggy bottoms.
Scent can be questionable if the candle will be burning while a meal is served. Often unscented is best for the dinner table while scented works where there is a no competition.
Once combined, transfer the wax to your container and let sit for about 10 minutes before adding the wick. A pencil will help keep the wick in the center of the container by giving it something to lean on if needed.
Allow to cool until the wax has turned solid and the container is cool to the touch. Twenty-four hours will allow the wax to reformulate, making for a better burn.
Once the candle is cooling, it is time to gather the rest of the items. There are several ways to do this.
If you have fall flowers, leaves, nuts, pine cones and grasses in your garden, lovely! Take a look in the fridge for grapes, Damson plums, crab apples, mushrooms and other fall items.
Gather the group and go for a walk. In our local park, there was autumn maintenance being done so we kept to items that were already chopped but if you are cutting, remember to take a pair of pruners or scissors along.
On our walk, we collected yellow and green cottonwood leaves, tansy, late blooming red clover that matched the purple of the candle and dandelion puffs. At home I had acorns and small pine cones while red grapes were in the fridge.
When arranging your treasures, remember that the arrangement only needs to look good for several days and fresh items, like grapes, can be replaced if needed.
What is important in your choices for Mabon is that there is still life in the collection. By October the wheel turns more to death but in September, harvest is still in full swing and colours are still vivid. Even the acorns and dandelion puffs hold the promise of positive future outcomes and who doesn’t enjoy releasing extra wishes to the Universe when it is time to take your display apart?
So, a simple melt and pour candle, a walk in nature with friends or family or both and an afternoon of creativity. An uncomplicated, cost effective way to decorate for Mabon.