By the Beautiful Sea
Many lovely novelty candles can be made using seashells, either as molds or containers. For example, try filling a conch shell with paraffin — it makes a beautiful light as the candle flame glows in its softly pink–colored interior.
Seashells in general make great candle molds or holders. If you make candles in small, shallow seashells, you can float them. A wide variety of shells are available in many shapes and sizes. I buy them prepacked at my craft store and then sort through for the most beautiful or useful. There are usually many unusual shells in a package as well as some plain scallop shells. These scallop shells are especially terrific for floating candles.
To make a scallop or another small seashell candle, first wash and thoroughly dry the shells. In order to stabilize the shells while filling them with the molten wax, place them on a bed of sand, salt, or rice in a shallow baking pan.
For wicking, use purchased tealights. Remove the tin casing from each tealight and gently pull on the metal tab at the bottom to remove the wick. Place a wick with its metal tab attached in each shell, standing upright in the center.
Melt paraffin. For small amounts, you can cut the paraffin into 1″ blocks and melt it in a measuring cup in a microwave oven. Heat on high for about six minutes, or use the conventional double-boiler method. Using a pot holder or mitt, remove the melted wax from the microwave and gently pour it into the shell, taking care not to disturb the wick. Allow to cool thoroughly before lighting.
Seashell candles are wonderful reminders of happy times spent on the beach — especially in the dead of winter when snow lies on the ground! When you visit a beach, keep in mind the many possibilities of seashell candles and gather a few shells for your winter's candlemaking activities.