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…..

Surf Wax Coloring Inside the Lines

I’m new to the world of color wax. I’ve seen it on a few boards from time to time, but it always seemed like kind of an 80’s retro thing (there’s nothing wrong with that- best decade ever, kids!). I had a board that was in need of a wax strip down and new coat, so I thought this board would be a good board to try this wax out on, since it screamed coloring book:

Dirty Board!

I used my standard plastic scraper to get the wax off, but I wasn’t worried about the remaining wax residue remaining since I was just going to turn around and re-wax.

I never use the combs to scrape wax- it’s easier with the handle
My wax ball to be reused!

I ended up with a nice wax ball that I’m going to do one of my previous projects with. Next, I followed the basic routine for putting a nice wax job on the board first, using basecoat wax, and tropical wax, both Sticky Bumps brand. I did skip the cold water layer on this as a test to see how it will do the rest of this Summer. Here’s the standard wax job:

Wax job completed

Next, I decided that I was going to color the top hibiscus and leaf at the top. I rarely make it up to the front on this 7’6″ funshape, and if I do, it’s by accident, but it’s always good to wax up to the nose, just in case. Since the front doesn’t see as much action, it’s a good spot to pick to prolong the life of the color, and minimize any staining that may result from the pigment. I usually wear a black rashguard and wash my rashguards, boardshorts, and bathing suits in a separate load of laundry anyway, so that helps to keep any wax problems contained.
First, I did try some colored wax made from beeswax, but it horribly smeared on over the base wax job, so the coloration looked uneven. I took off that wax, rewaxed that section to create another base. After that mistake, I sought out some Sticky Bumps Day Glo Colored Wax. I figured using the same formulas together would help build up the color better and create a more even coat. I was right this time.

Day Glo Color Wax in neon pink and green

The colored wax comes in Warm/Tropical, as well as other temperatures, so I used Warm/Tropical, which was also my topcoat on my base wax job. The colored wax seemed just a tiny bit softer than the regular wax. Hmmm…that deserves an experiment, but I digress.
I did VERY small, controlled circles with a corner of the wax bar to build up a layer of color, breaking the wax bar to create as many corners and turning over the bar several times to get a finer point to work with. I had to be patient and make several passes of color to get enough effect. The wax as a bar has a very intimidating color, but the intensity of the color is muted on the board so the bright pigment seemed to be the best bet for this wax job.

The hibiscus and leaf colored in

I so much fun with this, I even did another leaf on the bottom of the board! The wax job is subtle, but looks nice in person- a bit washed out in the pictures:

Coloring complete

Next, I needed to wax my longboard, so I tried another method to color the board by making my own stencil. I printed out a simple star shape on printer paper and used a straight edge, Exacto knife, and my cutting board to create a stencil to use. This is a good option if you don’t want to freehand it, and looks good on a clear board.

My stencil cut out

Next, I put a base of wax on my board first, of course. I believe this may also prevent any potential staining of the glass, if that does happen, and put it up towards the nose to encourage me to practice on my cross stepping.

Stencil on the board

I carefully made little circles again on the board, holding the stencil paper down so it wouldn’t crunch up on me and mess up my design. Going slow is a best bet.

A stencil makes it ok to be a bit sloppy.

Here’s the finished product that I used the stencil twice on:

Hard to starboard!

Anyways, now I’ve got to cut out crescent moons, and clover shapes so I’ll have me a Lucky Charms board. And nobody can take me Lucky Charms board.

Sexy Wax Magnet

Everybody’s got their favorite wax, but I’ve never really pledged enduring loyalty to one brand over another. I will say that the Sex Wax label is pretty iconic and well known even among non surfers.
Instead of throwing out my wax wrappers, I collect them. I don’t have any cats, so I’m still one stage removed from hoarding officially, so don’t judge.
Anyhoo, I wanted to make a cool magnet from the wrapper. Some magnets I’ve seen at tourist trap beach stores are $5-6 bucks! This one’s cheap and easy to make, so steer your out-of-town in-laws away from the overpriced crap and have fun making this during the afternoon thunderstorms we get around here that run everyone off of the beach.
I bought a ready made 3.25″ diameter wood circle- you can cut one yourself with a scroll saw, but I found this at a craft store for a quarter. You may want to give the wood circle a once over with some 120 grit sandpaper if the edges are a bit rough still.

Wax wrapper and pre cut balsa wood circle shape

Next, I painted the circle (both sides) white like wax, but you can paint it whatever you want. I also took the wrapper and carefully cut the plastic away from around the round wax label. If you can peel the label off without tearing it, that will work too.

Painting the wood circle with a small foam brush and acrylic paint

Next, I used some white glue on the back of the label to glue it to the circle, but instead of placing the label in the center, I placed it a bit off-center. This allowed me to make another, smaller circle, around the label with a compass, and I outlined it with a black paint pen. This gives the magnet a little dimension.

Using some Tacky glue to glue the wax label on the front of the wood circle
I used a compass to make a guide around the outside of the label off to the side to make the wax look 3-D

After letting it dry, I used some super glue to affix a clothespin on the back of the circle straight up-and-down (in relation to the front).

After that, I put a small disc magnet on the clothespin in the middle, a little above the hinge point.

Voilà! A cool little magnet that can actually be used to hold lists and stuff. Here’s mine:

How to Wax a Surfboard (Even if you Have Before)

Like a lot of surfers, I’ve waxed a surfboard or two. But, I have to admit I don’t think I do the best job. I’ve slipped off a board a few times, and that’s not including my regular wipeouts….
So, I thought it would be interesting to make a research project of waxing a surfboard, since I needed to wax up my new funshape. I went to several websites that came up on a Google search, like Instructables, Surf Science, Sharkbait, etc. to find out what they had to say. I wanted to go about this like I’ve never even heard of wax- starting from no knowledge- which isn’t a stretch. From what I found, this is the method I thought captured the best of the advice given.
First, it seems obvious, but I removed any metal rings and bracelets I had on. Metal can scratch up a nice finish on a board without even knowing it. Also, I made sure I had a nice stable surface to work on, in and area where I could get a little wax on floor, so I set up 2 sawhorses with traction padding on the top edge as a non-slip support.

I started with a new board, but if I wanted to, I could strip all the wax off another one, and use a cleaner to take off the remainder. You can use acetone as a harsh wax leavin’ remover, but if you’re just rewaxing, I’ve used some degreaser which works well enough to remove the remaining residue:

To start, I tried to determine on this funshape the area I wanted to wax. I knew I wanted to wax all the way back to the tail, but I wasn’t sure how far up I wanted to wax to the front. I wanted a continuous wax job all the way up, since I’m never consistent where I place my feet when I pop up, but I didn’t want to wax all the way up since I won’t be doing any noseriding….well, at least not on purpose. I ended up putting a mark with some wax about where I thought my shoulders would be when I am paddling and made that the stopping point:
From what I had read, I gathered the following types of wax, most of which I was given at the surf shop where I got the board, so luckily, this worked out.
The different types of wax I used
I’ll go through each layer I used in order.
1. Basecoat
    Contrary to what I’ve always been told in the past, I read that cold water wax does not make the best basecoat. In fact, the founder of Sticky Bumps said that warm/tropical temperature water wax can be used successfully in all water temperatures, but cold water wax cannot, and should only be used in cold water conditions. I also found it interesting that I read that you needn’t use the labeled “Basecoat” wax, that Tropical Temp wax will serve as a good basecoat, so I decided to use that. I used Sex Wax Tropical Temp 6x Extra Hard Blue Label as the basecoat.
Recommendations varied on how to apply the basecoat. There has always been the “tip to tail, rail to rail” method. From what I could gather, many just glossed over by saying that the wax should be applied in long vertical strokes down the board, then long horizontal strokes across the board, followed by random circling of the wax to fill in spots.
I read I different approach I decided to try out. Instead of long strokes, it claimed, use shorter strokes. This prevents smearing the wax due to heating the wax from the friction of a long stroke. The “tic-tac-toe” method recommends to make short strokes (I made mine about 3-4″ long) in a tic-tac-toe pattern, or like a checkerboard. This prevented me from dragging the wax along for too long since I had to keep lifting the wax from the board:
Another thing I remembered was to use I light hand when applying the wax. This certainly made a difference, and made the bumps appear more quickly without as much smearing. This process did take a while, but I’m hoping that it will create a better basecoat. I used the edge of the round cake of wax, until it was blunt, then flipped it over to use the other side. I found pushing the wax away from me on strokes left better “bumps” than pulling it towards me, however, I had to be careful not to grind the scraping chunks that came off into the board and cause unevenness.
Using both edges of the cake of wax
Here is the first pass completed:
First pass of basecoat
Again, I used the same method for the second pass, being careful to try not to overlap areas I had already done, so I could fill in the empty spots:
Second pass of basecoat completed
I went back and did this a third time, this time spending a bit of extra time on the tail of the board for two reasons: first, the fabric panel made the wax pattern harder to see if I put enough on, and second, the tail is an area you want more wax than less.
Here is the third pass:
I did go over the rails a bit to give me a little grip if needed while paddling out, or if I needed to retrieve my board. One website said that the only people who need to worry about wax on their rails slowing down their board already have someone to wax their boards for them. Very true.
1st Diagonal pass of basecoat

I did the same thing going from top left to bottom right in short strokes along the board, making little “x”‘s all over the board:

2nd Diagonal pass of basecoat

I did this two more times to build up this layer. Next, I followed the same short stroke concept when doing the circular part of the application, but I applied the wax in small motions like little apostrophe’s all over the board. I made the first pass from the left side of the board, then went to the right side of the board and did this pattern again. I repeated that once more. While I was working, I noticed the wax cake had become quite soft in my hot little hand, so I ran it under some cool water to firm it up again to prevent smearing as much as possible.
Here is the completed basecoat layer:

Completed basecoat layer

2. Cold Water Wax Layer

    I thought this was a bit strange after I has read that cold water wax can only be used in cold conditions successfully, but since this layer will be sandwiched between two warm water layers, I thought I’d try it. The rationale, I think, is to give some separation to the layers, and lengthen the wear out period. Or it just may be a way to move cold water wax out of inventory, who knows. I used Sticky Bumps Cool in the blue wrapper.
I used the exact same method that I had used before, but since this wax could break in half, creating two rough sides, I had read this makes an excellent surface for building up bumps:
Breaking the wax in half to create a rough surface
I used the rough surface, and it worked beautifully. Since my wax passes would be hard to see , I decided to pick a section and do all passes over that section, then move on to the next, sort of like mowing the lawn:
Left side is completed cool wax layer, right side is to come.
Here is the completed cool/cold wax layer on top of the basecoat:
Cold Water layer on top of basecoat
3. Top Layer- Warm/Tropical Temperature Wax (Florida)
    At this point, I’ve finally gotten to the top layer, which I’m using warm water wax on for now, since we’re in Florida. I used Sex Wax 5x Warm Water Wax orange label.
Using the same short stroke method as before, I put about 3 passes of this wax on, being sure to concentrate on the tail area especially.
Completed top layer
4. Single Pass with the Wax Comb
    As much as I hated to mess up my work, many sites recommended finishing up with a pass with a wax comb. Only plastic or rubber wax combs are recommended (do they make any other type?) to prevent scratching the glass. I did use long strokes for this working in the diagonal in one direction first, then the other direction diagonally, forming little diamond cuts into the wax all over the board:
After making diagonal passes with the wax comb
5. Super Duper Sticky Top Coat
    Okay, so this was another freebie from the surf shop that I was curious to try. It’s marketed as super sticky, and meant to be used as as super light layer of topcoat over your regular topcoat. I had to laugh when it says in fine print “not for beginners”. Excellent marketing. Since in my mind, I surf like Layne Beachley, I thought that would suffice. It’s Sex Wax “Indecently Sticky” Cream grey label.
This stuff feels like it would make a great skin moisturizer. I certainly wouldn’t take it with you to the beach or it’ll liquefy in your pocket before you step on the sand.
I took the same light strokes as before, but only put one light layer where I think my front foot may end up, and on the tail area as well.
So that’s it. Here’s the waxed board completed:
All waxed up
I’m really happy with the wax job, I felt very secure paddling out (I always wear a rashguard, so belly rash isn’t an issue). My feet felt very stuck to the board, even when flying through the air doing what I like to call the “D’OH! Aerial.”
Here’s my daily mantra these days:

DIY Wax Cupcakes

So I noticed my stockpile of old wax was getting up there again, so I thought it was time for a wax craft.
Many people have melted down their old wax to recycle it for use once more, allowing the sediment to settle out to the bottom of the melted wax. I wanted to have a little fun with it.
For this, I used a cupcake tin, some cupcake liners (I used 3 liners per slot), a microwave proof thick walled bowl, and some old chopsticks as stirrers. I also got some scented Almond food extract to add in, since the wax had lost a lot of smell, and I wanted to try some food coloring to dye the wax. Oh, and the old wax, of course:

After getting everything together, I divided the wax up into warm and cold water wax, based on marking and also on the feel of the wax.

Cold on left, warm/tropical on right

If you have big chunks of wax, try breaking them down as much as possible, or you can even use an old grater. It just makes the process go a bit faster, but you still need some patience with this. Also, this is a messy project, so you may want to cover up your work area a bit in the kitchen so they’re not greasy wax flying about over everything.
Transfer the some of the wax (not all yet) into the microwave proof bowl and set the oven for 20 minutes on high.

Grated wax in bowl

You are going to check on your melted wax every 3-5 minutes during this time, and stir it with the chopstick to make sure the heat is even and the wax melts evenly. Once the wax is liquid, add a big chunk if you have one, and cover it with the liquid wax using your chopstick. This helps heat up the big chunk faster.
Once all of your wax has become liquid, add a few drops of the almond flavoring. If you think this might give you a rash, don’t do it and skip this step and the next.
Also, during this time I added some yellow food coloring to this wax since this wax was “warm water” wax, and I would be able to identify it easier. I’ve heard of adding crayon shavings, which is smart, but I wanted to try food coloring. Unfortunately, this food coloring, either due to it’s consistency, age, or compatibility, didn’t dye evenly throughout the wax, but made little reddish specks in the wax, which I thought was pretty cool.

Speckled wax

Try to get some of the bubbles out with the chopstick stirrer one last time, then you’re ready to pour the melted wax into each cupcake liner. This is tricky and VERY hot, so go slow and be careful while filling each liner in the tin.
Let the wax cool for a bit, around 15-20 minutes, then put it in the freezer to harden up all the way. When you remove each “cupcake”, the extra liners you used will make it easier to pop them out of the tin, and just peel the paper off of each one. Mine have a faint scent of almond, put not overpowering, since I didn’t go nuts with the extract. At least the original funky smell is a bit covered up.
Here’s one finished:

Warm water wax. Looks more like a Reese cup! Mmmmm….

Here’s a birthday plate of them, just don’t eat them, please.

Happy Birthday!

I think it would be fun to stick a birthday candle in the center of one before the wax hardens up, then you have a nice little birthday gift for a fellow surfer. FUN!

World’s Smallest Wax Comb (on a spare leash loop)

On Wednesday, I said I’d be making rope all week on the disk, so I thought it would be fun to take a riff from that and make a small length (or longer) that can serve as a bracelet or a necklace for the World’s Smallest Wax Comb (at least until my eye is feeling better).
Since I see surf related necklaces and bracelets everywhere, I thought this would be unique since it actually has components used in surfing, and in a pinch, is not just for show, but can be USED! BONUS!
Here’s the pattern for the nylon rope cord I made for this project (refer to Wednesday’s project for more info):

The blue is the lighter blue string, and the white represents the silver/white string
The pattern created

So, to make the comb, I used Sculpey Premo in pearl. When baked as a thin piece, this color almost gives a carved wooden look, to me.
I used about 1/8 of a block of Sculpey to roll out to a thin sheet about 1/8″ thick. I used my Plexiglas roller and a tiny cookie cutter in the shape of a rectangle. You can make one yourself using a small piece of craft tin and some tin snips and bending it into whatever shape you want.

1/4 of a bar of Sculpey- this will make a lot of combs!
The little cookie cutter

I then started to make little sawtooth notches along one edge (see this previous project) and I made sure to poke a little hole at the upper corner, since I’m going to put a jump ring (tiny ring of wire) there, so I can attach it to my piece.

Some of the tools I used

Sculpey Premo advises baking for around 30 minutes at 275 degrees Fahrenheit, but since this can be used as an actual wax comb, I baked it for around 40-50 minutes. Just keep an eye on the oven.
To make the bracelet or necklace loop, cut the length of rope you want and carefully melt the bitter ends with a lighter, candle flame, etc. (OUTSIDE PLEASE). Quickly butt the ends together and they will melt together and form a good bond. This will only work with nylon rope. Keep in mind that the rope loop needs to be big enough to fit over your head or wrist, but the rope will have a bit of stretch, but don’t push it.
Take your wax comb, add the jump ring to the upper corner where you made the hole (you may need a needle file to rout it a bit if the hole’s not big enough), close it over the rope, and you’re done!

Couple of bracelets- one even has a tiny thumb indent!

These actually work and are more functional than a shark’s tooth, and won’t piss off the shark. 🙂

Wax Typing the Easy Way DIY

This time of year in Florida the waves can be hit or miss, and the water temperature can be as well. I’ve got a stockpile of cold/cool water wax from the last two winters around here when we all thought the next Little Ice Age was upon us. This year (knock on Balsa wood) we’ve been fortunate to have mild temperatures and bearable water temps for most of us who only own 3/2’s or springsuits.
One of the things that annoys me, though, is that most of my wax looks the exact same even though they’re for different temperatures. I know, I know, the wax has a certain hardness associated with the temperature range it’s for. But, when I’m heading out the door, and the water temp dropped quite a bit from last week, I don’t turn into a Sommelier of Wax Types.
Usually, I try to keep the wrapping with the wax somehow, but of course, that gets ugly after while since the wrapping’s only paper, and starts to shred more than Ke11y. Here’s a sample of my system now:

I don’t even know what the one in the middle is,
I found it on the floor next to my funshape…must be tropical, maybe.

So, I wanted a way to remove the labels, mark the type of wax, but still be able to use the wax while it’s marked, without it coming off or discoloring my board.
I went to the office supply store and picked up a colored rubber band ball on clearance for a buck. It had 4 colors on it, perfect for my wax types. If you already have rubber bands, you can do this with those wide rubber bands and a sharpie.

Lots of rubber bands in a nice neat ball premade!

Next, since I had four colors, I laid them out, green, blue, red, purple. This would be my coding for basecoat, cool, warm, and tropical in that order. I didn’t include cold, because, at that point, it’s time for the Total Gym to get some use.

Basecoat, Cool, Warm, Tropical

So now, instead of all those silly wrappers to take around (DON’T throw them away- they can be used for other projects!!!) I’ve got a nice system that doesn’t get in the way of using my wax, doesn’t damage the board, and is cheap:

The rubber bands will even wrap around a little nugget of wax, check this nubbin out:

It’s a good way of using up your wax without having to ditch it because you can’t remember what it is. But if you need to ditch it, consider doing this project.
The best thing is, when a buddy asks to borrow some wax- AGAIN- you have a rubber band weapon at your disposal to unleash on the freakin’ moocher anytime.