DIY Surf Wax Candle on the Half Shell

I did this project in the past with used wax, but I wanted to try it poured into a shell for a nice effect that could even be given as a gift.
For this particular project, I used a deep half clam shell I’ve had since the early eigh- oh, never mind how long. Open shells like this that have some depth to them are ideal, since they give the chance for the candle to burn a while, and the flame is open and doesn’t burn part of the shell. I also bought some short wicks with a small metal base (spend money on GOOD wicks, they’re cheap anyway) from the local craft store.

Wick placed in shell in the deepest part

Next, I have experimented with different types of wax in the past to make candles, and far and away, the paraffin based style (old school) type of wax is the best. Beeswax comes in second. I would veer away from using the more modern gluey types of wax, I just can’t get a good flame for much time out of them. Mind you, none of these candles will have a super strong flame like you get from a store bought candle, they create a softer, more pleasant light and nice surf wax smell.
For this candle, I used Sex Wax Original Formula new out of the package. I found that the Warm Water version tends to burn better than the Tropical version. I haven’t tried the Cold Water version, but I’d be willing to bet it burns even better.

I used the wax on top, Warm Water, but either works.

Next, I used my homemade double boiler made from a basic cooking pot with a glass jar placed inside. You will put the wax into the glass jar to keep it off the pot. Be sure to put only enough water in the pot to about an inch or two deep, or your glass jar will start bobbing around like a buoy, and you want it to stay fairly stable on the bottom (it will jump around slightly once it gets boiling).
I placed the wax inside the wide mouth jar, cranked up the heat, and used a chopstick to stir the wax occasionally to help it melt down.

My double boiler and stir stick

It will take this type of wax a while to melt down, so be patient and melt it down until it’s all liquid. One bar of wax will fill this shell, but I placed two bars in to pour a couple of candles.
Next, I carefully poured the hot wax into the shell in small layers- use a glove!!!. Make sure you don’t drip any of the pot water into the shell, you don’t want any water in your candle. I wipe down the sides of the jar with a towel before pouring. The first little bit you pour is to set the wick in place:

First layer pour

Put the jar back into the pot and let the wax harden:

Wax hardening

I did about four layers of pours into the shell. This keeps air bubbles out. Avoid the urge to put the candle in the freezer to speed the hardening since this will cause your candle to pit (lesson learned). Don’t overfill your shell, and cut the wick when it’s hardened to about 1/4″ inch sticking up:

Finished pour and hardened

Here’s the candle lit, but it’s hard to see the flame in this pic:

Lit candle

Make sure you hang around and watch any lit candles for safety.
Since I had more wax, I poured the remainder (in layers again) into a waxed paper cup I had cut down to make a votive mold:

Waxed paper cup cut down as a mold

When the wax hardened completely- I gave it an hour- I tore away the paper. I made the mistake of putting this in the freezer, so you can see how it pitted in the center. Here’s the votive sitting in the shell:

Votive in the shell, lit

These would make good little gifts, or you could use them on your secret surf altar where you actually pray for surf to the gods of First Peak. Om…..

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