Call them items of jugaad or do-it-yourself crafts, there's a unique charm to objects that are born out of our brilliant ideas or playful hands. I believe adding a hint of my own creativity to a festival brings new meaning and a sense of faith to it.
A couple of years ago, when I lived in a remote island in the Andamans, I tried my hand at making beautiful, easy, economical and environment-friendly (and organic) candles. The best thing is that anyone can create the following five types of candles in a matter of minutes.
1. Seashell candle
In Andamans, there was no dearth of beautiful, shiny sea shells around me. I made these candles two years ago and I still have a pair of them. These look absolutely adorable when kept on the centre table.
How to make: Making these candles is very easy. Just melt some wax from used candles and pour it into a couple of seashells. Make sure the shells are kept straight. They tend to oscillate due to a pointed bottom. You can place them straight next to a wall or other hard surface. As the poured wax begins to solidify, place a small wick in the middle. Ready!
2. Coconut shell candle
I had couple of coconut trees in my home, which is why I decided to do something fun with empty coconut shells. So, I scraped one and made a sturdy candle from it.
How to make: Just pour melted wax along with the wick. You may place a small twig or something similar on the coconut and hang the wick from the twig into the wax. As the wax solidifies, the wick becomes firm and the candle is done!
Tip: You can also simply fill a coconut shell with oil and light it like a lamp.
3. Flower candle
This one is my favourite as it is in the shape of a lotus flower. I made it on the morning of Diwali. Motivated after making a white one, I created one in a pretty rose colour too.
How to make: Take a metal lid (plastic might melt due to the hot wax), line it with aluminium foil. Pour melted wax on it. Add the wick. When the candle is ready on the lid, remove the foil along with the wax on it. With a knife gently cut the wax in the shape of any flower you wish -- lotus, rose or a simple daisy. Finally, cut the base of the wax off the foil. Your candle is now ready to illuminate your home! Simple, isn't it?
Tip: If you want to make a coloured flower candle, you can do what I did and grate some crayons and add it in the wax.
4. Orange candle
This super-easy craft not only looks amazing, it also smells wonderful.
How to make: Cut an orange in two halves, separate the orange from the rind. Pour melted wax in the orange rind and place a wick at the bottom. You can also use oil instead of wax.
5. Home-made clay or flour diyas
I put together these home-made diyas every year. I have made some this year as well, but haven't painted them yet.
How to make: You can make them with clay and later bake them in high flame or you can make them with flour. I have made both kinds of diyas. The clay ones are simpler -- you just need to shape the dough, dry the diyas in the sun for a day or two and then bake them. The flour diyas are also made this way -- make a dough (like you make for chapattis) and knead it the shape of diyas. Dry in the sun or microwave. I did both! However, the flour ones crackle up on the surface sometimes. Later, you can paint them in any colour you want.
I hope you liked the ideas and are ready to try them out. Please let me know how these turn out for you. Also, if you have another idea for making a home-made candle, don't forget to share it here.
Happy Diwali all of you!
PS: For some inspiration on rangoli and henna ideas, check out this post.