Friday, November 30, 2012

Art Project: Decorate Christmas Candles with Beeswax



A great way to help children reflect on the Christmas story is to have them decorate their own candles with beeswax. Decorating candles is a beloved activity in Germany. I first became aware of it three years ago when a Godly Play colleague was making a candle for her godson's baptism. It is a pleasurable, tactile experience as well to mold and shape the beeswax between the fingers and smell its fragrance. 


You  will need a wide candle for this activity so that the "canvas" is big enough for small hands to work on. The height is not so important, but the wider, the better. 

In Germany, Stockmar sells what is called "Verzierwachs", which are thin sheets of beeswax for decorating candles. It is like modeling wax, but much thinner. If you can't find this, modeling wax like this here will work, but you may need to warm it a little at first so that small hands are not frustrated by the hardness of it.


It is important to tell the children to begin by kneading very small pieces of wax. The tendency of the children is to take a large piece, but larger pieces do not adhere to the candle as well. We actually cut the long strips of wax into smaller pieces before giving it to the children at Advent Club.


I made this simple candle to use as an example at Advent Club. I purposely made it very simplistic, because I find that when I do more elaborate things, the kids simply copy my work. If you are doing this with a group, it may help to ask them some "Wondering" questions, like "I wonder, what your favorite part of the Christmas story is?" or "I wonder, what part is the most important?" You are sure to be surprised by some of the answers you get to what the children put on their candles!

Here is some of the children's work from Advent Club:



Wishing you a joyous and meaningful First Advent on Sunday!


Linked to Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions

and Grünzeug at Naturkinder

and Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now


and Waldorf Wednesday at Seasons of Joy


and Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted's Art Blog

10 comments:

  1. This is a fun project! We do it as part of our First Communion retreat but I think the kids would also enjoy doing it for Advent. The hardest thing is trying to find the sheets of beeswax. Thank you for the link! MagicCabin.com and Hearthsong.com sells beeswax sheets that could also be used (although they have ridges on them, not smooth like the ones you linked). They also use to sell some pens that write on wax, but I didn't see them on their websites when I looked recently. Happy Advent to you and your family, Sheila!

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    1. Your kids must have loved doing this for First Communion! It would probably be a great activity for older children who are being baptized as well. And thanks for the tips on finding the beeswax sheets!

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  2. Beautiful photos! Thanks for the inspiration and advice.

    (I spotted a Finnish flag! And a skull-and-crossbones... I hope that person isn't planning on stealing all their siblings' presents, ha ha.)

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    1. Like I said, you'd be surprised at the things they put on the candles. The skull and crossbones was made by the sweetest little 9-year-old you'd ever meet.:) And one of the boys made the Finnish flag.

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  3. Beautiful! This looks like a gift project my kids would really enjoy making.

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  4. We're doing this! Being stuck in teh house, I pulled out our 3 white pillar candles which are our "lights go out" back up plan -- which were saved from one of our wedding table centerpieces away back when (; Who would have thought that night that two little homeschooled girls would be decorating them with little bits of colored wax. That was a long time ago in a life far far away. Looking forward to it (:

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    1. Now that's quite a way to "recycle". We use some old ribbon from our wedding for Christmas decorations each year.: )

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  5. So viele schöne Kerzen! Das Motiv mit der Krippe und dem Stern ist bezaubernd!

    Ich hoffe, Du erlebst einen schönen Advent und ich wünsche Dir weiterhin einen entspannten solchen. Herzlichst, Caro

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  6. Ooh this brings back memories from my 1st Communion!!!

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy

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  7. We usually do this project for Candlemas, but I really enjoyed your Advent/Christmas candles!

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