Earlier this year I wrote a post about candle heaters HERE
Now I’m going one better. Disclaimer: this is not a recommendation, just information.
There’s many peeps who can’t afford heating or don’t like using much gas/electric anyway. Then there’s all of those travellers and with the wild weather in the UK for instance where lot’s of people are experiencing the wind, flooding and power issues maybe this can help. Plus you know energy prices rise in the Winter and regardless of the type of property you live in the weather allowance or whatever they call it these days only kicks in for eligible people when the temperature hits some arbitrary number like zero and stays there for a certain amount of time. Meaning you could live in a caravan which is the equivalent of a motor vehicle in terms of temperature but more space to attempt to heat up and keep dry at the cost of a small fortune given with the amount of vents and gaps in seals/doors/windows, that gets cold from Aug-Sept and freezes shortly thereafter and you still won’t be eligible for assistance because technically to millionaires in govt and people with insulation, access to central heating and the like have decided if they can manage with a few extra layers (if necessary) then you can’t possibly be worse off than that. Nevermind your aching joints, chilblains, black nails and whatnot. Doesn’t matter if steam rises from your body and bodily fluids when cold water touches it, when the dog woofs/cat meows/bird squawks etc and you can see their breath whilst they look at you with big eyes accusingly or the little darlin'(s) that go ‘mummy/daddy I’m cold and can’t fit anymore clothes on [insert Tiny Tim’s weak, coughing voice]’ etc – if strong civil servants and public minded representatives can soldier on, so can you. They understand how hard it is but we’re all in it together.
Citrus skins work well, they’re thick/strong and have oil in their skin (as do many other fruit/veg) but many dried scraps work (garlic skins coated in wax make excellent alternative wicks, so part in the wax, part out/standing up – but be careful they flare up quickly!) As with any method it involves trial and error.
1. A base that is suitable for holding/carrying a flame is essential. Ceramic base underneath metal containers used here.
2. Food scraps must be partially or fully dried (fully dried is better as partially dried means more effort to burn/dry the skin first before it takes to the flame).
Anyone who knows anything about making a fire knows it takes a bit of skill but once you get the hang of it you get a feel for what you’re doing and patience.
3. It’s easy to use leftover wax from candles or unused candles.
a) For dried skins/scraps heat a little wax and drop some of the oil onto one side, carefully light that side and then add more wax/oil as it needs.
b) For partially dried pieces, it takes longer, even if they are coated in wax – it’s usually easier to put them near/partially on a dry piece that is burning so that the flame spreads when it and the piece is ready.
c) If there are no dried pieces, only partially dried ones – carefully hold it to the flame until the flame sticks to it, it might take a few tries. Or if you have enough wax, put some in the container, heat some more and coat one side of the piece and light that until the flame sticks, then put the lighted piece onto the wax layer (so the piece is between two layers of wax).
All methods will need topping up/adding wax to.
The following flames were from slices of 1/8 of lemon peel (lemon cut into 8 pieces).
Ashes are easily washed off ceramic and wax removed with a bit of prodding with a blunt metal object e.g table knife.
This flame was from a single slice and too much wax.
The bigger the flame the hungrier it is but a little wax goes a long way. A generous amount will boil, too much will spit, sometimes tiny sparks that burn out in the air. Don’t go there, it’s pretty but don’t, and especially don’t go further because you don’t want sparks that don’t go out before they land.
DON’T DO THIS IF:
1. You’re not responsible. If you’re not willing/able to keep an eye on it. Even if you’ve got a small flame it’ll need tending and feeding, and it’s still best to be nearby either way. Don’t fall asleep with it on.
2. If you’ve got children/animals that don’t know what’s good for them and have to touch everything.
3. It takes trial and error to learn how to make a flame. But whether you’ve done it once or a hundred times be careful of your appendiges and clothing.
4. This is an indoor flame, whilst this is not a wood/coal fire and doesn’t cause black smoke, it does cause a natural incense/light smoke. Don’t put it near the fire alarm.
5. Don’t use too many next to each other, the base/containers get hot, 1 or 2 on this plate is enough – for the sake of the photos regular tealight candles were used for comparison only.
1. Free light and heat. Brighter/warmer than regular candles.
2. Clears the air in damp, misty/foggy/steamy rooms. Especially when it’s too cold to open windows of if opening windows means letting more fog in.
3. Can help to prevent/reduce waste especially if one doesn’t/can’t compost or have a food recycling scheme/system.
4. Pure incense uncombined with the numerous colours and toxins many incense sticks come with and less likely to cause irritation. (Unscented wax is better too imo but that’s personal pref.) If you have a solid flame there doesn’t tend to be much incense, only puffs now and then if it sits in one place, carrying the container&base around where the incense is desired is more consistent. If you have an unsure flame that doesn’t take to the whole peel or keeps going out there’ll be more.
5. Looks lovely.
I do have a method for a bigger, blue, cleansing flame that can be sized and contained in cooking pots (tried upto 7lt) that lasts without having to tend to/feed it but I think that’s best left to non-beginners and age appropriate. Anyway, stay warm, use care and consideration. And be good 😉