Mystic Seaport Candle Making


Mystic Seaport is a living museum located in Mystic, Connecticut. It was founded in 1929 and seeks to preserve the history of the area, specifically involving maritime and sea-faring culture. One of the many time-honored traditions that Mystic Seaport has sought to revive is candle making. This craft was first practiced by whalers as far back as the 18th century who used melted whale fat to make candles for their ships.

Today, Mystic Seaport continues this tradition through its candlemaking workshops open to visitors from all over the world. The classes are designed to give people insight into the craftsmanship used in past generations which have since been lost. Making a basic tallow candle involves boiling down large amounts of fat in order to achieve pure rendering, which takes shape when cold and ready for wicking placement in wax molds. Participants also learn about various wick types, fuels, molds, tinting and scenting as they hand-craft their own candles during the two to three hour class. By carrying out such traditional crafts along with stories of folks who dedicated themselves to it, Mystic Seaport continues preserving our cultural heritage while providing meaningful experiences that inspire and educate those interested in learning more about our nation’s seafaring history.

Candle-Making Techniques

Mystic Seaport is home to some of the most creative and historical candle-making techniques in the world. When it comes to making candles, craftspeople at Mystic Seaport utilize several different methods such as beeswax sheets, dipping, molding methods, traditional hand layering, and rolled core wicking.

The process for creating handmade beeswax candles begins with cutting sheets of beeswax into shapes that can be layered (or sandwiched) together. The most common type of these candlesticks is their unity style which has a flat base at one end and tapers up to its tip on the other. After layering the sheets together they are shaped by adding a second coat of thinner wax. By pressing in an intricate design or details you create an even more beautiful piece of art that when lit gives a wonderful ambiance to any room.

Another popular way of crafting candles is by dipping them into vats of hot liquid wax repeatedly until they reach the desired height. This technique requires patience as each layer must cool before another can be added but creates beautiful results nonetheless!

Molding techniques or “pouring” involves either pouring melted wax into metal molds or using pre-existing existing molds to pour in the warm liquid. This method provides many options for customizing the shape, size and design of your candle.

Finally roll core wicking is a unique twist on traditional hand-layered candles where twisted paper cores are dipped in soft wax like string cheese around a stick before being rolled and layered upon itself until it reaches its desired width and length. Once solidified this technique give an almost abstract look to each individual candle while still providing ambient lighting effects when lit!

Crafting Resources

Mystic Seaport Candle Making is an enjoyable and educational activity full of creativity and process. To get started, you will need to determine what materials are needed for candle-making. Generally speaking, the most important candle supplies include wax (such as soy wax flakes), wicks (made of cotton or paper-wrapped wire), dyes, fragrance oils, containers for melting the wax and for holding the finished product (candle tins are popular). In addition, tools to melt the wax, measure exact amounts of ingredients, pour accurately and shape the candles into interesting forms also must be gathered.

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Fortunately, several resources exist to assist in finding all the necessary items to make amazing homemade candles. One can easily find materials such as wicks and wax online or at purchasing centers like Michaels or Hobby Lobby that offer a variety of craft supplies. Dyes can be found at specialty stores dedicated to candle-making or from online shops. These same sources provide pre-made fragrances specifically created for crafting use that allow makers to create various scents for their masterpieces. And a wide array of candle-making accessories from fancy molds to heat guns are also readily available online.

Mystic Seaport Candle Making is easier than ever before thanks to these many sources that make it easy for anyone interested in making quality candles on their own. By searching around for the right ingredients needed to craft beautiful candles of varying shapes and sizes ” the only limit is one’s own imagination!

Candle-Making Benefits

Physical Benefits – Candle-making is a hands-on activity that requires lots of tactile play and movement. This can help to build finger strength, eye-hand coordination, and motor skills; all important components in developing fine motor skills. Additionally, the different gauges of wicks and shapes of candles require counting and sorting out the right materials for each type, giving a simple math exercise as part of the candle-making process.

Mental Benefits – Creating candles stimulates creative problem solving because it involves combining colors, understanding how certain elements work together, knowing which amounts to use for specific results, etc.”allowing the user to think critically on the job. Additionally, the candle making process encourages organization and attention in detail through measuring, placing individual elements where they need to go in order to be effective; this develops high levels orderliness and focus.

Emotional Benefits – Making candles is a very calming activity that can help reduce stress levels. Taking the time to craft something unique with one’s own two hands has an undeniably positive effect psychologically that can make people feel a sense of joy or personal satisfaction afterward. Furthermore, having access to supplies that are found at Mystic Seaport (high quality materials for DIY projects) also increases confidence as users progress in their pursuits with purpose.

Tips from the Pros

1. Always test burning a sample before committing to using wax and fragrance in large batches. This way you can control the temperature when creating the candles, ensuring they turn out exactly how you want them to.

2. When blending fragrances, start with just a drop or two in order to create scents that are not overpowering. Add more if needed until desired scent is achieved.

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3. To avoid air bubbles in your candles, use a low burn temperature and stir gently during the pouring process so that the hot wax mix does not create turbulence in the container.

4. Using a wick sizing chart will help you choose the proper size for the candle’s diameter and ensure reliable, even burning each time.

5. Trim wicks regularly while burning and after extinguishing to ensure good flame control and longer burn times.

6 Put candles in freezer or pour very cold water over them to help shrink away uneven tops instead of reheating old wax which can create new air bubbles or darkens color of candle wax

7 Allow new candles to cure by allowing them several days after their initial pour before lighting up for first use”this helps promote even, fuller burning over its life-time

Unique Candle Ideas

Mystic Seaport Candle Making is an exciting and fun way to create custom decorations for your home or special event. This form of candlecraft gives you the opportunity to combine different materials, techniques and designs to craft a personalized candle. It’s easy to get creative and customize each piece with unique materials like seashells, sand, driftwood, or any natural object that speaks to you. With an array of wicks, wick holders, waxes, oils and fragrances at your disposal it’s possible to make a selection of intriguing scented candles that will be sure to impress. Furthermore, if you don’t want any scent in the candles, adding color dye or shimmering mica powder makes them even more interesting. To finish off they can be presented in decorative containers such as jars or stenciled boxes adding even more personality. Finally, taking into account all the available options one can develop some truly extraordinary Mystic Seaport candle making creations that nobody else has!


Mystic Seaport Candle Making provided an insightful look at a time-honored art that dates back to the dawn of civilization. Throughout history, candles have been used for various purposes – from providing light and heat in homes, to being used as religious offerings and status symbols by royalty. Today, Mystic Seaport provides an amazing opportunity to observe the candle making process first-hand using traditional methods. It is a great way to appreciate the beauty, craftsmanship and skill that goes into making these works of art. By attending our candle making session, we were able to learn about different types of waxes, wicks and decoration techniques for making custom designed candles. We also discovered how different factors can impact the quality of a candle such as scent, color and pattern preferences. Our experience inspired us to keep exploring new ways to create unique masterpieces with candles while preserving age-old practices in this beautiful art form.

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