Culture, Religion

Fun with yahrzeit candles

Yahrzeit candleIt’s the time of year again when we use a LOT of yahrzeit candles. What to do with the pots afterwards?
This is a post about how to jazz up yahrzeit candle jars using glass paints, wrapping paper, and ingenuity.
Save up your yahrzeit candles. After yom tov, boil a kettle of water, and pour the boiling water into the pots. This makes the wax melt and float to the top; as the water cools, the wax will harden, and you can take it all out in a nice neat lump instead of scrubbing at it for hours or getting wax caked under your fingernails.
Then wash the pots inside and out with soapy water just like for dishes. Nice clean surfaces are better for working on.
Yahrzeit candle jars reusedWrapping paper jars are the easiest ever. You take out those scraps of wrapping paper that you saved because they were too pretty to throw away, you cut a strip the width of the jar, and you glue it on.
If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can glue on a strip of contrasting paper by way of trim, or some lace, or some such.
When the glue is dry, varnish the paper with a couple coats of acrylic varnish. This makes all the difference. Makes it even shinier and happier, and stops it getting scuffy.

Yahrzeit candle jars reusedGlass-painting pots are scrumptious too. More about that after the cut.
For glass painting, you need a tube of fake lead for glass-painting, and some colours (unless you’re inspired to use drippy designs, then you don’t need the fake lead). You’re going to have a lot of yahrzeit jars if you have one for each day of yom tov, so it’s fun either to use a variety of colours in the same design, or a variety of designs in the same colour. Makes them look like a set.
What design? Basically anything you can draw with a Sharpie and colour in, a total beginner can do on glass. Flowers, stripes, dots, bubbly letters, stars…
You might choose to sketch your design first on paper. Then put the paper inside the glass and trace over it with the fake lead. Helps keep things straight in your mind.
Following the instructions on the tube, now you let it dry. This is why it’s cool to do a lot of jars all at once; the first ones dry while you’re doing the others.
When the lead is dry, you get out the paints and colour in the design. This makes a mess, so use lots of newspaper, and use Q-tips instead of paintbrushes, because this stuff ruins paintbrushes. The paint has a tendency to run, so lie your first glass on its side and paint the side thus rendered horizontal; then go on to the others, then give the first glass a quarter-turn and paint the next side.
After you’re done, follow the instructions on the paint pot – you generally bake them in the oven for a period of time, which hardens the paint and renders the jars washable. The wrapping-paper ones you can’t really wash out, but glass-painted ones you can, so you can use them for flowers or salad dressing or kiddush or — novelty — candles! or whatever.
My new idea this year is using wire and lumps of glass like Rav Elie’s kiddush glasses, all coils and squiggles of wire, and pretty chunks of coloured glass, all glued on – mmm!

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