Here’s what you do:
- Grab an orange.
- Slice it in half across the middle.
- Hollow out the orange, leaving a stem-like core extending up through the middle. It looks like this:
- Eat the orange slices you cut out.
- Set the orange peel on a plate.
- Fill it with oil–something like olive oil, cooking oil, or whatever you have on hand. I used Canola oil. Leave some room for the “wick” at the top, so you can light it.
- Optional: add a few drops of essential oil. You don’t need to stir; the EO will disperse perfectly on its own.
- Let it sit for a half an hour after peeling.
- Light it.
- Put it where you can keep an eye on it, sit back and enjoy!
Here was my experience with making my own candle out of an orange.
It was FUN to do. It’s pretty and would make a great conversation piece. For example…
Your friend: Oh, that’s a cool candle. It looks just like an orange!
You: That’s because it IS an orange!
Lighting it was tricky at first. Once I left it alone for a bit, it was much easier to light. I think it just needed to dry a bit before I could easily get a flame going. Or, maybe it was my repeated lighting attempts that sped up the drying process.
It had a nice, light fragrance, especially after I added essential oils. I chose a few drops of orange and a couple of cedarwood, but I think clove EO would be amazing (I don’t have it). Whether you add your own essential oils or not, don’t expect this to smell anything like a candle made with perfume-grade fragrance oil would. It’s just not going to be that strong.
Basically if you like the idea of a DIY candle that’s simple, pretty, seasonal, and natural, GO FOR IT!
Burning an Orange Safely
Here’s something I didn’t think I’d be blogging about.
The whole experimental-candle situation did make me a touch nervous, so I made sure to put it where I could keep an eye on it and out of reach of the kids (as always). It turns out, the core of an orange makes a perfect wick. It doesn’t burn too quickly, slowly, or make any kind of weird smoke or scent. I was definitely thinking that both cooking oils and essential oils are flammable, especially at very high temperatures. Just be careful and make sure you don’t add any oil after lighting it so there is no direct contact with the flame.
I’ll let a scientific person explain this for us.
The orange stem acts as wick, drawing the oil up, and the heat of the flame vaporizes the oil, feeding the flame. Kind of a cool capillary action kind of effect.
The reason the rest of the oil does not catch fire is that oil is not hot enough to produce vapors to burn. If you were to heat oil on a stove to where the oil started vaporizing, you could get all the oil to catch fire. In my day, that was called a grease fire in the kitchen and happened when people were frying food.
-My dad-in-law, chemist
It would take a lot more heat than a single slow-burning flame to make the oil catch fire.
The orange candle lasted four hours for me. By that time, the inside of the orange was starting to brown, the edges of the orange were curling away, and it just didn’t smell as nice anymore.
You might want to plan on yours lasting no more than three hours.
Isn’t it pretty? If you try this, let me know. And if you show a friend and they respond like the lady in the above picture, well, I tried to warn you.
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