Great Uses of Ideas

Here's a great use from Sanjay Das, of South 24 Pargana, West Bengal, India, who writes:

I used the idea "Make candles by filling unused glasses with wax. Use a string as a wick." It was the first to appeal to me as I used to make candles earlier, though of much lesser thickness of about 1 cm diameter, when I was young. Then I used to use a hollow branch of a tree (don't remember its name now). Another perfect natural case for candle making is bamboo tree.

Things I used:

  • Two steel glasses: One to melt the solid wax and another to cool the molten wax. The reason to use a steel glass is that the exterior of the candle would be glass-smooth.
  • Colouring liquid: There is an important note about it below.
  • 300 gm of wax-blocks


I wanted to make a four-wicked candle as it would look unusual, but good as the top of the candle was going to be quite wide. So I circled a thread around the top of the glass and hung the four wicks from it, but first I glued (strong adhesive is required) the wicks to the bottom of the glass, otherwise the wicks would float when the liquid wax is put in it. Be sure the wicks are fully stretched. Also use quite thick wicks and of the same thickness, as the thicker the wick, the bigger the flame. I used different width-wicks and as a result the flames are different. I thought a coloured candle would be better so I used a red chemical (I don't know it's composition). Important note: take the suggestion of a chemist or take help from sci.chem (and sub-groups within) / etc. of as to which dye to add to the molten wax. I had used an unknown chemical which produced huge rumbling of bubbles for at least 10 minutes after dropping it and a not-so-good smelling gas. Later the deep red colour turned light pink after it solidified, and granular formations could be seen clearly inside. Another is that while heating there is a chance to catch fire if the wax-vapour comes in contact with stove flame. So don't elongate the heating. You can use long necked bowls. If you use a steel cup (it makes the outer surface of the candle like glass) to cool the wax, put it into warm water after the molten wax cools. This would expand the steel and release the candle inside. Making candles at home is fun and this steel-glass candle with four wicks might have commercial benefit.

Thanks, Sanjay!

For sharing this use, Sanjay won the $100 IdeaExplore Award for August 2003.