Making Wax Matches

Called “vestas,” in honor of the Roman goddess of the hearth and fire, Vesta, wax matches are a real boon to the person who lights many candles at one time. They are also great for lighting pillars which have already been used and therefore have a deep well in them. If you've already tried to light a used pillar with an ordinary kitchen match and either had it go out or burned your fingers holding it inside the well to ignite the wick, you will appreciate wax matches.

Vestas are not difficult to make. Follow the basic dipping method (given in Chapter 8). Note, however, that you will need only enough wax for two to four dips. Use a medium size wick.

What's a vesta?

A vesta is simply a wick coated with fewer layers of wax than a birthday candle. Usually two to four coatings will suffice, depending on the wax formula you are using. Beeswax, for example, being thicker, will take fewer coatings to produce a satisfactory vesta.

You can make your vestas at regular taper length for long wax matches, or if you want shorter ones you can snip the finished wick/candle and trim the tops to expose the wick for lighting. Vestas make unusual gifts (many people have never even seen one) and can be made in colors as well as in white. You can even take two warm vestas and twist them together into a candy shape if you want to get more unusual. These can be of either a single color or of two colors. Try tying a bundle of vestas together with a raffia ribbon and bow for a charmingly rustic gift package. Vestas are a wonderful reminder of the past, when they were in regular use before matches were invented.

To use a vesta, simply light it with a match and then carry it to the candles you wish to light. Keep a supply of vestas in your candle drawer. They come in extremely handy if the power fails as you don't have to go about the house lighting candles with a box of matches in your hand. A vesta not only lights your candles, it lights your way in the dark!

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